IT HAS taken almost a decade but the restoration of the world’s most famous steam engine is nearing its end and next year it is set to return to the tracks.
The record-breaking Flying Scotsman’s return, has been hit by a series of delays, but fresh from a £4.2m restoration currently underway in Bury, the iconic steam legend is set to make its return next year and yesterday York’s National Railway Museum revealed more details of events to mark the milestone.
The long-awaited season is set to get underway with an inaugural run of the iconic steam star between London Kings Cross and York next February.
Kate Hunter, public events manager at the National Railway Museum said: “Although we think it is likely to be late February we have a number of logistical details to work out before we can announce a date for the inaugural run, the first chance for the public to see and ride behind Flying Scotsman in its latest guise as BR Green 60103.
“This historic occasion is a chance to thank many of our generous supporters for their patience during this challenging decade-long project to bring a 1920s-built cultural icon back to life and we anticipate there will be around 100 tickets available to the public.”
A welcome home party will be held at the museum, where it will be displayed for a number of days afer its triumphant arrival.
In 2004 the National Railway Museum bought Flying Scotsman for £2.3m, with the appeal to keep the steam icon in Britain supported by a £1.8m grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the generosity of the public. It is now in the final phases of a £4.2m project to bring a steam legend back to life in the workshop of Riley & Son Ltd.
Once the work has been completed it will tour around the country.
Tracey Crouch, Heritage Minster said: “After a decade of regeneration, the anticipated return of the world famous and much loved Flying Scotsman is almost upon us.
“From early 2016 the Scotsman will tour the UK as a working museum exhibit, educating fans of all ages about the wonders of the engineering behind its steam traction. This is a wonderful way to tell the story of this iconic and well-travelled locomotive and will ensure that people now and in the future understand why it is such an important part of Great Britain’s heritage.”
Flying Scotsman can be seen in its black undercoat during January test runs at the East Lancashire Railway and on the Railway Touring Company’s Manchester-Carlisle route and then resplendent in its BR green livery at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway in Pickering, in March, on the mainline to Scotland in May and the Severn Valley Railway in Kidderminster in September.
In addition 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 locomotives rollercoaster celebrity career while visitors will be able to get on board the cabs of four locomotives that hauled the iconic train.
For more information about the Flying Scotsman Season, including arrival dates, once they become available, please visit www.nrm.org.uk/flyingscotsman