Flying Scotsman returns to rails - but grinds to a halt thanks to trespassers

One of the world's most famous trains finally returned to the mainline today after a ten-year-long, £4.2million refurbishment.

Thursday, 25th February 2016, 12:06 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th February 2016, 12:10 pm

But the inaugural run from London to York has been ground to a halt by trespassers.

Network Rail said it has had to “stop all trains” on the East Coast Mainline - including the world famous steam locomotive- “because of a huge number of trespassers” keen to get a look at it.

The iconic Flying Scotsman set off from King’s Cross station in London to embark on a 200-mile journey north to York.

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Thousands of train fans lined tracks and bridges as the venerable steam locomotive made its way up a stretch of the East Coast Main Line.

But the line has now ground to a halt and the train is now running more than 20 minutes behind schedule.

Passengers said the famous locomotive came to a “shuddering stop” near St Neots, Cambridgeshire, and Virgin Train East Coast warned that services were being delayed due to photographers on the track.

A Network Rail spokesman updated: “We are all excited to see Flying Scotsman return to our rails and we know many people have waited many years for this.

“Please stay safe and keep away from the trackside. Normal services are still running.

“The number of people beside the track is already giving us safety concerns and means we are having to slow trains down.

“Trespassing on the railway is illegal and incredibly dangerous, please help us to make today a success and stay off the railway.”

The Flying Scotsman was built in Doncaster, South Yorks., in 1923, and it soon became the star locomotive of the British railway system, pulling the first train to break the 100mph barrier in 1934.

The National Railway Museum (NRM) in York bought the locomotive for £2.3 million in 2004 before work got under way on its restoration in 2006.

NRM’s head curator Andrew McLean said: “To finally get Flying Scotsman fully restored, looking exactly as she should, in steam and alive again will be a really special moment for many people.”

The Flying Scotsman will be kept at the NRM until March 6 before embarking on a tour around the country.

Jim Lowe, head of operations at the museum, said: “Along with all our generous supporters for this complex project to bring a 1920s-built cultural icon back to life, we have all been looking forward to this historic day when Flying Scotsman steams again.

“As well as seeing the icon out and about, the public can experience the essence of Flying Scotsman first-hand at our museum with our 2016 Scotsman Season sponsored by Virgin Trains on its East Coast route.”

10 things you need to know about The Flying Scotsman:

1. The Flying Scotsman, an A3 Pacific class locomotive, was originally built in 1923 for the London and North East Railway.

2. It was designed by Sir Nigel Gresley and has been in the public eye since it first went into service, having been on display at the British Empire Exhibition the following year.

3. The Flying Scotsman took eight hours to complete the trip between London and Edinburgh and in 1934 was officially credited with becoming the first steam locomotive to be clocked at 100 miles an hour.

4. It holds a second record for the longest non-stop run of 422 miles when it was in Australia.

5. The locomotive weighs about 100 tons.

6. Flying Scotsman has covered around 2,500,000 miles in its long career.

7. It had five numbers, 1472, 4472, 502, 103 and 60103.

8. Doncaster railway works is where the engine was built.

9. The Flying Scotsman took eight hours to cover the 392 miles between London and Edinburgh.

10. At one stage it had a tender with a corridor to enable crew changes during the Edinburgh trip.