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10 things you should know about the Flying Scotsman

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Flying Scotsman

To coincide with the legendary Flying Scotsman returning to the rails this February, following an extensive ten year overhaul, Haynes, in association with the National Railway Museum in York, has published a new manual to provide a unique perspective on maintaining, operating and restoring the class A1/A3 Pacific. 

To celebrate the launch of the manual, here are 10 fascinating facts about this iconic steam train…

  1. Flying Scotsman, often known by its pre-war locomotive number, 4472, was the world’s first steam locomotive officially credited with achieving 100mph, in 1934.
  2. It was built in Doncaster becoming the first locomotive of the newly formed London and North Eastern Railway (LNER). Flying Scotsman left the works on 24 February 1923, originally with number 1472.
  3. It was designed by Sir Nigel Gresley as part of the A1 class – the most powerful locomotives used by the LNER at that time.
  4. This record-breaking locomotive first came to the general public’s attention at the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley in 1924.
  5. It was given the name Flying Scotsman after the London to Edinburgh rail service, which started daily in 1862, departing at 10am.
  6. In 1928, Flying Scotsman was given a new type of tender with a corridor, which meant that a new crew could take over without stopping the train. This allowed it to haul the first ever non-stop London to Edinburgh service on 1 May, reducing the journey time to eight hours.
  7. LNER passenger locomotives had always been painted apple green. But during the Second World War, Flying Scotsman was repainted in wartime black, in common with all railway stock.
  8. In 1948, rail travel in Britain was nationalised with the formation of British Railways. Flying Scotsman now numbered 60103, was painted blue for a time, then British Rail Green. It remained this colour until 1963, when it was retired.
  9. After retirement, Flying Scotsman toured the USA and Australia, before returning to the UK.
  10. In 1993 it received an interim overhaul and pop impresario Pete Waterman bought a 50% stake in it. In February 1996, businessman Tony Marchington bought Scotsman outright for £1.25 million. It was eventually saved for the nation when it was purchased in April 2004 by the National Railway Museum.

For more compelling information about this iconic locomotive check out our new Flying Scotsman Manual, available to order now from Haynes. View the manual

Flying Scotsman Manual
Haynes Flying Scotsman Manual