Millions to welcome Flying Scotsman back to rails

The Flying Scotsman locomotive
The Flying Scotsman locomotive
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For steam enthusiasts, 2016 promises to be the most exciting year for a decade as the most famous locomotive in the world returns to the railway.

Ian MacCabe thinks millions of fans will line the tracks to welcome Flying Scotsman back to the rail network following its £4.2 million, 10-year long refit.

Mr MacCabe has been a devotee of the famous green-and-black engine for almost as long as he can remember and is one of the founders and trustees of the Gresley Society - named after Sir Nigel Gresley, Flying Scotsman’s designer.

“There’ll be millions there trackside to watch it,” he said.

“When it was restored last time there were crowds of people at every single station and I think there’ll be twice as many this time. There’ll be absolutely millions of people out there. It’s just loved that much.”

Mr MacCabe said he first remembers seeing Flying Scotsman when he was about four years old.

Then, in 1962, when he was only 12 years old, he was so horrified that the British Railways Board had missed Flying Scotsman off its list of steam locomotives for preservation he joined the Gresley A3 Preservation Society, selling postcards at sixpence a time to school friends and putting up SOS (Save Our Scotsman) posters all over his town. Now he thinks the enduring popularity of Flying Scotsman is down to Sir Nigel.

“I think he got the design so right first time,” he said.

“It’s just such a beautiful, well-balanced machine.”

“It’s the best-looking locomotive there’s ever been. It’s no coincidence many of its class are named after racehorses.”

Flying Scotsman was built in Doncaster in 1923 and soon became the star locomotive of the British railway system, pulling the first train to break the 100mph barrier in 1934 and ending up synonymous with the cocktail bar image of the service it was named after.