New pictures show the world’s most famous steam locomotive Flying Scotsman being prepared for its upcoming centenary.
The legendary loco turns 100 on 24 February 2023. And its home – the National Railway Museum in York – has released first details of what’s planned for its birthday year.
These include live appearances and a new children’s book by Michael Morpurgo.
Flying Scotsman is now undergoing a mechanical overhaul by a team of specialist engineers from Riley & Son, based at Heywood in Greater Manchester.
Full details of the centenary plans will be revealed later in the year.
About Flying Scotsman
Flying Scotsman, which first left Doncaster Works in February 1923, is synonymous with the golden age of rail travel and is a national treasure renowned as a feat of design and engineering.
Designed by Sir Nigel Gresley, it was the first locomotive of the newly formed LNER (London and North Eastern Railway). It was given the name ‘Flying Scotsman’ in 1924, when it was selected to appear at the British Empire Exhibition in London, after the daily 10.00am London to Edinburgh rail service which started in 1862.
Flying Scotsman holds the world record for a non-stop run by a steam locomotive, set in 1989 with a 442-mile trip.
But they will involve the publication of Flying Scotsman and the Best Birthday Ever (Thames & Hudson) – a new book by much-loved writer Michael Morpurgo, and illustrated by Michael Foreman this October.
There will also be the chance to see Flying Scotsman at several locations across the country, beginning with Swanage Railway in Dorset next month (October 2022) and at the National Railway Museum in York in 2023.
Draws the crowds
Director of the National Railway Museum Judith McNicol said: “Flying Scotsman is one of the world’s most recognisable steam locomotives and still draws excited crowds wherever it goes.
“It is one of the jewels in the crown of our world-class collection, and we are delighted to share these iconic images from its recent overhaul as well as its first public event this autumn as we prepare for the engine’s centenary in 2023.”
Author Michael Morpurgo didn’t hesitate to get on board with the celebrations: “I grew up on steam trains, remember the sound of them, the smell of them, the rhythm of them. I went on holidays on them, went to school on them.
“So when Michael Foreman asked me to write a story about the greatest, most iconic steam locomotive of them all, Flying Scotsman, I sat down at once and just did it… All the memories came flooding back.”
Model railways manufacturer, Hornby, is also announced today as the lead sponsor for the year-long programme of centenary events and activities.
Hornby has had a relationship with Flying Scotsman since 1927, when it introduced the first ‘0’ gauge tinplate model carrying the name ‘Flying Scotsman’.
Since then the company has produced almost 50 model versions of the famous engine.