Day the Scotsman really was flying is recalled

Over 80 years ago a piece of railway history was made as the Flying Scotsman entered the record books and captured a place in the nation’s hearts.

Flying Scotsman. Picture: Toby Melville/PA Wire

The iconic locomotive achieved the world speed record when it reached 100mph during a run on November 30 1934 and today - the anniversary of the record-breaking feat - preparations are underway for its anticipated return to working steam towards the end of this year after a £4.2m restoration.

Reaching 100mph was one of a series of stunts during the interwar years that captured the public’s imagination and secured the locomotive a place in history, which will be marked at the National Railway Museum’s Flying Scotsman season in York next year.

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Paul Kirkman, Director of the National Railway Museum, said: “As a national museum, we are committed to ensuring that as many people as possible can enjoy our remarkable collections, including icons like Flying Scotsman, and when it is not on Britain’s tracks it will return home to the museum so people can get up close to it.”

Its £4.2m reincarnation is the latest in a career which has seen the loco feature in both the spotlight and the sidelines.

Designed by Sir Nigel Gresley and built at Doncaster Works in 1923, Flying Scotsman was the flagship locomotive of the new London & North Eastern Railway (LNER). With its eye-catching apple green livery, it was heralded as a symbol of modernity in the brave new world emerging from the shadow of the First World War.

The Flying Scotsman brand maintained its position at the forefront of the public consciousness thanks to a string of record-breaking feats, including hauling the first non-stop service between London and Edinburgh in 1928 and its 100mph run in 1934.

During the Second World War, the steam star was transformed into a wartime workhorse, hauling heavy loads and painted in Wartime Black to avoid being targeted by the enemy.

After the war, the fame and favour bestowed on the once-beloved locomotive declined. It was no longer an aspirational symbol of the modern age, but an outdated relic of a bygone era. However it was given a reprieve by British businessman and railway enthusiast Alan Pegler who bought it and with its subsequent restoration the steam legend once again inspired the public.

However the engine was back in the headlines again in 2004 when a campaign was launched, supported by thousands, to save the locomotive for the nation.

Now the museum in York is putting the final touches to its exhibitions ahead of the Scotsman’s return next year.

The long-awaited season is set to get underway with an inaugural run of the iconic steam star between London Kings Cross and York.

The NRM is hosting a series of events and exhibitions as part of its 2016 Flying Scotsman series. Its Starring Scotsman exhibition will examine the ups and downs of the locomotive’s celebrity career. For more information visit: www.nrm.org.uk/flyingscotsman/scotsman-season for information.

Jamie Taylor, interpretation developer at NRM said: “Flying Scotsman’s life so far has been an incredible rollercoaster ride, and we’ve had so much fun exploring its ups and downs to prepare our Starring Scotsman exhibition. I’m sure the public will be fascinated by the wonderful stories we’ve uncovered and our exhibition’s playful approach to the amazing story of the original steam star.”