The Flying Scotsman

The world's most famous steam locomotive was built in 1923 at Doncaster, for the LNER. It gave 40 years' service on the London to Edinburgh service after which it was named, and in 1934 it became the first steam locomotive to achieve a speed of over 100 mph.

It was retired from regular service in 1963, after covering just over 2 million miles. British Rail intended to scrap it, but it was saved by businessman Alan Pegler. Since then it has been used to run enthusiasts' specials, still bearing its British Railways number: 60103.

Alan Pegler was declared bankrupt in 1972, and this left the Flying Scotsman stranded in the United States of America. This time it was bought by Sir William McAlpine, a director of the famous civil engineering company Sir Robert McAlpine. He paid to bring it back to the UK and for a restoration at Derby, after which the locomotive resumed its special trips. In 1989, on a tour of Australia, it set a record for the longest non–stop run by a steam locomotive: 422 miles (679 km).

In 1996 the Flying Scotsman was bought by a third businessman: biotechnology entrepreneur Dr. Tony Marchington. He paid for another restoration, and had ambitious plans to establish a tourist attraction in Edinburgh based around the locomotive, but in 2003 he was declared bankrupt. For a while it looked as though the Flying Scotsman would pass into foreign hands; but it was rescued by the National Rail Museum, with the help of a donation from Sir Richard Branson. The museum bowed to pressure from donors to keep the locomotive running, rather than it becoming a static museum piece; but before long it became apparent that further restoration was necessary.

The Flying Scotsman eventually returned to service (running special tours) in 2016, after a 10–year restoration costing £4.5 million.

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