Restored ‘Flying Scotsman’ Runs the Rails
The famous locomotive completes its first journey since 1963. Some 300 passengers were privileged to be part of this trip.
Some old-timers just never fail to pull through. The Flying Scotsman steam locomotive took off in London February 25 for its first journey after significant restoration by the National Railway Museum. Considered the jewel of Britain’s industrial heritage, this 1923-built train has garnered numerous fans over the years and is widely tipped to be the most famous train in the world. The fans came out in such full force for the famous revival that the train came to a standstill several times on its journey when eager viewers made their way onto the tracks.
The history of the train itself is quite tumultuous. It was retired in 1963 and almost scraped before it changed hands through multiple owners, including British billionaire William McAlpine. On hearing that the Flying Scotsman was set for sale in 2004, the National Railway Museum bought it over, partially thanks to public funds. It was the beginning of a 10-year restoration project that would bring the train back to the public in full capacity again.
“It’s a historic day”, said Paul Kirkman, director of the National Railway Museum. Indeed it was. As the white plume pulled away from King’s Cross Station at 0740 GMT with 300 passengers onboard, there was resounding applause from the crowd of enthusiasts who came to witness its majestic rebirth. And all this for the hefty labor of around 4.2 million Euros worth of restoration work. The BBC reports that some of those 300 passengers paid up to GBP450 for the privilege of making this historic trip.
“This celebratory journey marks a new stage in this steam icon’s long and colorful history, and is a tribute to all the people who have worked so hard to make this happen”.
The Flying Scotsman arrived at 1320 GMT in York, a historic city some 280 kilometres (175 miles) north of London, before heading to the city’s National Railway Museum where it will stay until the beginning of March. It will then spend months on tourist trips and featuring in exhibitions. For railroad enthusiasts who have followed the train’s close-to-a-century’s long journey in history all the way, this is a blessing after a long effort.
This story was written in-house, with an image supplied by the AFP.