In much the same way that Stirling Moss’s name remains synonymous with motor racing, The Flying Scotsman has a similarly strong affiliation with rail travel – even though it was built 96 years ago.
But now one of Britain’s most famous engineering feats, a past holder of the world rail speed record as the first locomotive officially to be recorded at 100mph, could be expelled from mainline railways… because of trouble caused by trespassing enthusiasts.
A Pacific steam locomotive built in Doncaster for the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER), The Flying Scotsman clocked up more than two million miles before it was retired from front-line service in 1963, since when it has remained in occasional use – particularly on nostalgia tours. It was during one of these, while it was travelling through the Midlands early in May, that almost 60 regular rail services were delayed for a total of about 17 hours due to fans of The Flying Scotsman breaching boundaries and standing too close to tracks.
Network Rail has said that continued disruptions of this kind could lead to The Flying Scotsman being sidelined from main routes, although it conceded that such a move would only be implemented “as a final resort”.
The Flying Scotsman set its world rail speed record in November 1934, while running on the East Coast line.
More than half a century later, during an Australian tour, it also set a record for the longest non-stop run by a steam locomotive, having completed 422 miles.
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