THE director of the National Railway Museum in York has confirmed he will stay in his job despite previously saying he would “fall on his sword” if the troubled restoration of the Flying Scotsman was not completed in time for a high-profile event next month.
Mr Davies announced this week that the Flying Scotsman would not be available for a major event at Barrow Hill in North Derbyshire, which would have seen the locomotive on show alongside the Mallard, Blue Peter, and the recently-constructed Tornado, even though tickets have already been sold.
Months ago Mr Davies told Steam Railway magazine that “I’ll fall on my sword if it doesn’t happen” and the magazine has repeated his comments in the current issue, stating “These brief words from NRM director Steve Davies have been the talk of the preservation movement since they were first published”.
However, Mr Davies has now clarified his position and told the Yorkshire Post his comments were made: “Immediately following the discovery of additional problems with the locomotive. He said: “I referred to ‘falling on my sword’ and these comments were intended as light-hearted and were, I believe, taken in that spirit.
“The project continues to require firm leadership given its complexity and I believe my role is to deliver both this and the many other exciting projects the National Railway Museum has ongoing to a successful conclusion. I do not therefore intend to resign over this matter, especially as we are so tantalisingly close to seeing this iconic locomotive operating again.”
The Flying Scotsman’s restoration has been dogged with problems. The restored locomotive had been unveiled before other serious faults were discovered. Repairs required removing both boiler and cab.
Flying Scotsman is booked to carry the Olympic torch this summer and appear at a Railfest event. Mr Davies said the decision to withdraw from Barrow Hill was taken because “bringing the locomotive to working order in time for our deadline of Railfest and the Olympic torch is my highest priority.”