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  • Andrew P.M. Wright

Daughter of man who saved ‘Flying Scotsman’ asks public to support £360,000 Coronavirus appeal

The daughter of the man who saved the world’s most famous locomotive – ‘Flying Scotsman’ – from the scrapyard in the 1960s is asking the public to support a £360,000 ‘Save Our Service’ appeal to help the award-winning Swanage Railway survive in the wake of the economic effects of Coronavirus.

Rebuilt since 1976, the popular five and a half mile heritage line between Norden, Corfe Castle, Harman’s Cross and Swanage – in Dorset’s Isle of Purbeck – carries more than 200,000 passengers a year and contributes more than £15 million to the local economy every year.

The ‘Save Our Service’ appeal – at or via the Swanage Railway’s Facebook page – aims to plug the financial hole of the popular steam railway not running trains until further notice after the Swanage Railway ceased running trains in mid-March, 2020.

Penny Pegler – the daughter of the man who saved ‘Flying Scotsman’ from being cut up for scrap in 1963 – is lending her support to the Swanage Railway’s appeal.

It was in March, 2019, that Penny Pegler was the star guest at the Swanage Railway during the popular three-week visit of ‘Flying Scotsman’, flying in from her home in Portugal to wave off the first train from Swanage to be hauled by the world’s most famous steam locomotive.

Penny’s enterprising and charismatic father, the late Alan Pegler, purchased the 97-tonne ‘Flying Scotsman’ from British Railways for £3,000 in 1963 – thereby saving the iconic 1920s A3 class express engine, built for the London and North Eastern Railway, from being cut up for scap.

During a test run in 1934, the Nigel Gresley-designed ‘Flying Scotsman’ was the first steam locomotive in the United Kingdom to haul a train at 100 miles an hour.

Penny said: “The Swanage Railway has been brought back to life over the years and exists today thanks to the enthusiasm, determination, financial support and hard work of those people who believed in the project and made it become a reality.

“For this great adventure to continue in these challenging times, the Swanage Railway needs our financial help. There is nothing quite like the sound and smell of a

locomotive in steam hauling a train through Dorset’s lovely Isle of Purbeck,” she added.

After being launched on Wednesday, 25 March, 2020, the ‘Save Our Service’ appeal stood at £159,135 by Friday, 22 May, 2020 – towards the target of £360,000.

Recalling the visit to see her beloved ‘Flying Scotsman’ on the Swanage Railway last year during its “historic” visit to the Isle of Purbeck – which prompted “many wonderful memories” – Penny said: “My eldest son accompanied me and what a memorable time we had.

“Apart from the beauty of the countryside, we were overwhelmed by the sight of thousands of happy enthusiastic people of all ages who turned out to see this elegant locomotive and her lucky passengers steaming gently down the track, or standing in the station alongside the Swanage Railway’s beautiful steam engines,” she added.

Swanage Railway Trust chairman Gavin Johns said: “I am delighted that Penny Pegler is very graciously supporting the Swanage Railway’s ‘Save Our Service’ appeal to help the line survive in the wake of the economic effects of Coronavirus.

“I would like to thank Penny for her support as well as everyone who has made – and will make – a donation to the appeal during these extraordinary and challenging times.

“Several generations of remarkable people have rebuilt the Swanage Railway from nothing since 1976 and there is still so much more to achieve,” explained Mr Johns.

Ways to Donate

Clearly marked ‘Save Our Service’ appeal, cheques can be sent to the Swanage Railway Trust at Station House, Station Approach, Swanage, Dorset, BH19 1HB.

To donate by phone, text 'SOS' to 70470 to donate £10. This costs £10 plus a standard rate message.

Alternatively, you can choose to give any whole amount between £1 and £20. For example, texting 'SOS 4' equals a £4 donation plus a standard rate message.

To make a ‘Save Our Service’ donation by PayPal, a Fast Payment through Internet banking or by a cheque in the post, visit or the Giving page on this web site. Donations can also be made via the Swanage Railway’s Facebook page.

Story by Andrew P.M. Wright,

Swanage Railway official photographer and press officer.


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