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FlyingScotsmanRailwaySeries
Flying Scotsman
  • Number: 4472, originally 1472, 103 and 60103
  • Designer: Sir Nigel Gresley
  • Builder: Doncaster Works
  • Configuration: 4-6-2
  • Built: 1923

Flying Scotsman, a LNER Class A3 4-6-2, is the last of Gordon's brothers. He holds the records for being the first engine to officially run at 100 mp/h and the longest non-stop run for a steam engine - 631 kilometres non-stop, between London and Edinburgh, in eight hours.

Bio

Flying Scotsman was completed in 1923, construction having been started under the auspices of the Great Northern Railway. He was built as an A1, initially carrying the number 1472.

Flying Scotsman was something of a flagship locomotive for the LNER. He represented the company at the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley in 1924 and 1925. At this time he acquired his name and the new number of 4472. From then on he was commonly used for promotional purposes.

With suitably modified valve gear, he was one of five Gresley Pacifics selected to haul the prestigious non-stop Flying Scotsman train service from London to Edinburgh, hauling the inaugural train on May 1, 1928. For this, the locomotives ran with a new version of the large eight-wheel tender which held nine tons of coal. This and the usual facility for water replenishment from the water trough system enabled them to travel the 631 kilometres from London to Edinburgh in eight hours non-stop. The tender included a corridor connection and tunnel through the water tank giving access to the locomotive cab from the train in order to allow replacement of the driver and fireman without stopping the train. The following year he appeared in the film "The Flying Scotsman".

On November 30, 1934, running a light test train, he became the first steam locomotive to be officially recorded at 100 mp/h and earned a place in the land speed record for railed vehicles; the publicity-conscious LNER made much of the fact.

On August 22, 1928 there appeared an improved version of this Pacific type classified A3; older A1 locomotives were later rebuilt to conform. On April 25th, 1945, A1 class locomotives not yet rebuilt were reclassified A10 in order to make way for newer Thompson and Peppercorn Pacifics. This included Flying Scotsman, which emerged from Doncaster works on January 4, 1947 as an A3 having received a boiler with a long "banjo" dome of the type it carries today. By this time he had become no. 103 in Edward Thompson's comprehensive renumbering scheme for the LNER, then 60103 from January 1, 1948 on the nationalisation of the railways when all the LNER locomotive numbers were prefixed with 60000. Between June 5, 1950 and July 4, 1954, and December 26, 1954 and September 1, 1957, under British Railways ownership, he was allocated to Leicester Central Shed on the Great Central, running Nottingham Victoria to London Marylebone services via Leicester Central, and hauled one of the last services on that line before its closure. All A3 Pacifics were subsequently fitted with a double KYLCHAP chimney to improve performance and economy. This caused soft exhaust and smoke drift that tended to obscure the driver's forward vision; the remedy was found in the German-type smoke deflectors fitted from 1960, which somewhat changed his appearance but successfully solved the problem.

Sodor

Flying Scotsman came to Sodor in 1967-8 to cheer his only surviving brother, Gordon, up. He had two tenders at the time he arrived, causing Henry to feel jealous. During his visit, he got on well with most of the Fat Controller's Engines and took charge of "the Limited" in place of 7101 when Henry rescued both him and 199 as both Diesels failed. After his visit, Flying Scotsman left with his enthusiasts when the Fat Controller announced that steam engines will still be at work on his railway.

Preservation

60103 ended service with British Railways in 1963 and was sold for preservation to Alan Pegler, who had him restored as closely as possible to his original LNER condition. He then worked a number of railtours, including a non-stop London–Edinburgh run in 1968 – the year steam traction officially ended on BR. As watering facilities for locomotives had by then disappeared, a second eight-wheel tender was adapted as an auxiliary water tank.

In 1969 he went on a promotional tour to the USA, where he was fitted with cowcatcher, a high-intensity headlamp, a bell, air brakes and buckeye couplings. The trip was initially a success, but when Pegler's backers withdrew their support he began to lose money and was finally bankrupted in 1972. Fears then arose for his future, the speculation being that he could take up permanent residence in America or even be cut up. Fortunately, in January 1973 William McAlpine stepped in at the eleventh hour and had him repaired and repatriated.

In 1988 the locomotive travelled to Australia to take part in the country's bicentenary celebrations. There he set another record, travelling 442 miles from Parkes to Broken Hill non-stop, the longest such run by a steam locomotive ever recorded.

In recent years Flying Scotsman has continued to have an eventful existence. In 1995 it was in pieces at Southall depot in West London and facing an uncertain future owing to the cost of restoration and refurbishment necessary to meet the stringent engineering standards required for main line operation. Salvation came in 1996 when Dr. Tony Marchington bought him and had him restored to running condition at a cost of some £750,000. During its overhaul between 1996 and 1999, Flying Scotsman's vacuum brakes were removed and replaced with air brakes.

In 2004 Flying Scotsman was put up for sale because of the mounting debts of its owning company. After a high-profile campaign, he was bought in April by the National Railway Museum in York and is now part of the national collection. Since 2006, Flying Scotsman has been undergoing a major overhaul at the NRM and was originally due to resume running in summer 2011. The overhaul took much longer than excepted due to the National Railway Museum's decision to rebuild Flying Scotsman's "spare" A3-type boiler rather than rebuilding his A4-type boiler, which he had fitted in his last overhaul between 1996 and 1999. The copper inner firebox from Flying Scotsman's "spare" boiler was rebuilt - only for the engineers to discover some faulty welds, which meant that it was sent back to the boiler works in Devon to be mended again. Also, a decision had being made to replace the air brakes with more effective vacuum brakes.

The producers of BBC's motoring television programme "Top Gear" originally wanted to use Flying Scotsman for a secret race from London to Edinburgh; but due to the delay to his overhaul, they decided to use the brand-new mainline tender engine Tornado instead.

In February 2011, Flying Scotsman was nearing the end of his extensive and expensive overhaul when his boiler passed its steam test. Nearing completion of reassembly at the East Lancashire Railway's workshops in Bury, he was repainted in wartime black carrying two numbers "103" and "502" and sent to the National Railway Museum for a public launch on May 27th, 2011 on the Great Hall's turntable.

However, Flying Scotsman returned to Bury, Lancashire for his reassembly to be completed - only for the engineers to discover that, when they were carrying the fitting of the air brake system, there were five cracks in the hornblocks (metal inserts in the frames to guide the axleboxes). As a result, Flying Scotsman was again dismantled with his frames lifted from his wheels so that an ultrasonic test on the frames could be carried out. Unfortunately, more cracks had been discovered in the main frame stretcher, which requires the boiler to be lifted out of the frames. This latest setback meant that Flying Scotsman would not be back in steam until April 2012 as originaly planned. In July/August 2011, the National Railway Museum banned photography of Flying Scotsman as a result of these setbacks. However, the ban was lifted on September 30th, 2011 when the National Railway Museum held a press conference at Bury where it was announced that an investigation was launched to find out why the cracks in the frames were not discovered before.

In the midst of Flying Scotsman's setback, Dr. Tony Marchington, Flying Scotsman's third owner (1996-2004) sadly passed away aged 55 on October 16th, 2011. This was closely followed by the passing of Alan Pegler, Flying Scotsman's first owner (1963-1969), on March 18th, 2012.

Whilst Flying Scotsman's hornblock repairs are being carried out, another debate had ignited: Should Flying Scotsman return in single-chimney or double-chimney form? This new debate is an attempt to settle the livery debate, however it remains to be seen as getting Flying Scotsman back up and running is the main priority.

Flying Scotsman is one of the engines who will be at Railfest in the first week of June 2012. However, he will miss out on the Barrow Hill Eastern Region-themed gala in April as well as the Olympic Torch relay in the third week of June 2012 as further work has mounted up on his over-running and highly expensive overhaul.

Livery

The Flying Scotsman is painted LNER green with black and yellow lining and LNER painted in yellow on his tender side.

Choice of livery is a subject of controversy amongst those involved in the preservation of historic rolling stock, and Flying Scotsman has attracted more than its fair share, the result of forty years' continuous service during which the locomotive has undergone several changes to its livery. Alan Pegler's option was evidently to return the locomotive as far as possible to the general appearance and distinctive colour it carried at the height of its fame. A later option was to reinstall the double Kylchap chimney and German smoke deflectors that it carried at the end of its career in the 1960s; this encouraged more complete combustion, a factor in dealing with smoke pollution and fires caused by spark throwing. More recently, until its current overhaul, it was running in an anachronistic hybrid form retaining the modernised exhaust arrangements while carrying the LNER "Apple Green" livery of the 1930s. Some believe that the more famous LNER colour scheme should remain; others take the view that, to be authentic, only BR "Brunswick Green" livery should be used when the loco is carrying these later additions – the issue is further complicated by the fact that while in BR "Brunswick Green" Livery it never ran with the corridor tender. Other liveries that Flying Scotsman has had are the "Wartime Black" livery and the British Railways "Express Passenger Lined Blue" livery.

For a public relaunch in May 2011, the National Railway Museum repainted him in unlined "Wartime Black", posing as sister-engine No.502 "Plain Jane". At present, Flying Scotsman is in "Wartime Black" whilst his overhaul is suffering the recent setbacks since his relaunch at the NRM.

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