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Topic section: The engine
TOPIC SECTION:
The engine: Why is Flying Scotsman famous?
Weekdays at 10.00 the Flying Scotsman leaves London’s King’s Cross station for Edinburgh, as it has done almost without a bre ak since 1
Image: The arrival of Flying Scotsman at King’s Cross Station following its 100 mph (161 km/h) run in 1934
The arrival of Flying Scotsman at King’s Cross Station following its 100 mph (161 km/h) run in 1934.
Credit: National Railway Museum
862. But what has this got to do with the large green steam locomotive, also called Flying Scotsman?

Back in 1924 a new railway company, the London & North Eastern, sought to revitalise interest in its flagship service at the biggest show of the decade, the British Empire Exhibition. This huge promotion for the glo ries of British-c
In 1929 it starred in The Flying Scotsman, Britain’s first cinema release with sound
ontrolled lands, and the power of its industry, was expected to attract millions of visitors. Number 4472 (then in the works awaiting parts) had already been in service for a year (as No. 1472). It was given a special ‘exhibition’ finish and specially named Flying Scotsman to help promote the train and sent to the show.

In 1928 No. 4472 Flying Scotsman was the natural choice to haul the headline-gra
Flying Scotsman’s at King’s Cross Station 1963
Flying Scotsman’s first visit to King’s Cross Station as a privately owned engine in 1963.
Credit: NMPFT/Science & Society Picture Library
bbing first non-stop Flying Scotsman service from London to Edinburgh. In 1929 it starred in The Flying Scotsman, Britain’s first cinema release with sound. By this stage 4472 had become a symbol of express travel and featured on ‘Just Arrived At’ postcards sold in bustling resorts and holiday towns the length and breadth of Britain (often far beyond its normal operations). When it hauled Britain’s first recorded 100 mph (161 km/h) train in 1934, the distinction between the engine and train blurred further.

From 1935 onwards the LNER’s streamlined (and profitable) trains took the shine off the Flying Scotsman service, and attention away from 4472. The war years saw the train soldiering on, overcrowded and slower than before, and the engine painted wartime black, running mostly on the route to Manchester.

After the war a modernising British Railways wanted to promote its new, clean, diesel-hauled express trains and planned to send 4472 to the scrapyard. Bought by businessman Alan Pegler in 1963 and promoted as ‘the World’s most famous locomotive’, the engine regained its star status by hauling trips for enthusiasts all over Britain. Subsequent owners have made sure it remained in the public eye, with journeys to America and Australia only adding to its mystique.

Meanwhile, every weekday at 10.00 a train branded as the Flying Scotsman leaves King’s Cross Station for Edinburgh, as it has done almost without a break since 1862.

 
 
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Topic section: The train
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Beginning service in 1862, by the 1930’s the name Flying Scotsman was synonymous with luxury express travel. In the last fifty years an emphasis on reducing journey times has helped the train maintain its position as a premier service on the east coast route.  > more

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Topic section: The route
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Three railway companies built the original route of the Flying Scotsman. Progressively modernised ever since, electrification in the 1980’s secured Flying Scotsman’s future and pointed to its potential for Britain’s first truly high-speed route.  > more
 
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