• Andrew P.M. Wright

World’s most famous steam locomotive ‘Flying Scotsman’ arrives for three-week visit


Photograph: Andrew P.M. Wright

The world’s most famous steam locomotive ‘Flying Scotsman’ has arrived on the Swanage Railway for an historic visit with the record-breaking icon hauling trains for five days and being on public display for the public to visit its footplate for almost two weeks.


Close to celebrating its centenary, the 97-tonne A3 class locomotive – completed in 1923 by the London and North Eastern Railway (L.N.E.R.) – arrived at Swanage station on the morning of Tuesday, 18 October, 2022 after a six-hour rail journey from London.


Owned by the National Railway Museum in York, No. 60103 ‘Flying Scotsman’ will be on the Swanage Railway until Monday, 7 November, 2022.


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


‘Flying Scotsman’ will be hauling passenger trains between Swanage, Corfe Castle and Norden from Saturday, 22 October, 2022, to Wednesday, 26 October, 2022, inclusive.


Coupled behind No. 60103 will be an historic late 1940s Devon Belle Pullman observation carriage – known as Car 14 – that dedicated Swanage Railway volunteers rescued from San Francisco in the U.S.A. during 2007 where it was a static bar.


It was between 1969 and 1972 that ‘Flying Scotsman’ ran with the Devon Belle Car 14 in the United States of America during a tour of the country aimed at promoting British exports. Sadly, the company running the tour went bankrupt with ‘Flying Scotsman’ being returned home but the Pullman observation carriage remained in the USA.


No. 60103 will be on display at Swanage station for pre-booked public visits to the footplate of ‘Flying Scotsman’ on Thursday and Friday, 20 and 21 October, 2022, as well as daily between Thursday, 27 October, and Sunday, 6 November, 2022, inclusive.


Swanage Railway Company chairman Bob Patterson said: “It’s wonderful to see ‘Flying Scotsman’ at Swanage because the iconic locomotive has a wonderful charisma – it’s a real icon, an impressive piece of 1920s railway engineering and the most famous steam locomotive in the world.


“We are very honoured to have ‘Flying Scotsman’ visiting the Swanage Railway and it will be great to see No. 60103 hauling the unique Car 14 Devon Belle Pullman observation carriage because they operated as a pair while on a tour of Canada and the United States to promote British exports between 1969 and 1972,” added Bob who is also a Swanage Railway Trust trustee and a volunteer station porter on the popular heritage line.


Standard class seats for a one-hour return trip trip behind ‘Flying Scotsman’ from Swanage to Norden and return are £39 per person while Premium class seats, in a 1930s Southern Railway Maunsell heritage coach, are £55 per person.


Tickets for riding in the luxurious Pullman-style ‘Devon Belle’ Car No. 14 behind ‘Flying Scotsman’ – for tasty breakfast pastries, indulgent champagne and canapés or a refreshing afternoon tea – are £99 per person.


Costing £7,944 to build, ‘Flying Scotsman’ was named after the prestigious London to Edinburgh express train service that the locomotive helped to operate – the journey time being eight hours.


In 1924, ‘Flying Scotsman’ appeared at the British Empire Exhibition in London and in 1963 British Railways withdrew the locomotive from service.


A patriotic entrepreneur, the late Alan Pegler, saved ‘Flying Scotsman’ from being cut up for scrap when he purchased No. 60103 from British Railways in 1963 for £3,000 with the political support of the then British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan.


Purchased by the National Railway Museum in 2004, ‘Flying Scotsman’ was restored thanks to a £4.2 million, ten-year project funded by the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Heritage Lottery Fund as well as from public donations.


To find out more about ‘Flying Scotsman’s visit go on-line to swanagerailway.co.uk. Information about the locomotive’s history and restoration is available thanks to the National Railway Museum at flyingscotsman.org.uk


The Swanage Railway welcomes new volunteers who should contact the Swanage Railway recruitment and retention office on 01929 408466 or email iwanttovolunteer@swanagerailway.co.uk.


Story and photograph by Andrew P.M. Wright, Swanage Railway official photographer and press officer.