LNER Class A3 4472 Flying Scotsman

LNER Class A3 4472 Flying Scotsman

Infobox Locomotive
name="Flying Scotsman"

caption="Flying Scotsman" in 2003.
Despite the LNER livery, the prominent German-style smoke deflectors and double chimney are BR-era features.
designer=Sir Nigel Gresley
weight=96.25 tons (97.54 tonnes)
length=70 feet (21.6 m)
height=13 feet (4.0 m)
driversize=80 inches (2.03 m) diameter
topspeed=100 mph (161 km/h)
tractiveeffort=29,385 lbf (13,329 kgf, 130.7 kN)
railroad=London and North Eastern Railway
roadnumber=1472, renumbered 4472, renumbered 103, renumbered 60103
officialname="Flying Scotsman"
builder=Doncaster railway works
currentowner=National Railway Museum

The LNER Class A3 Pacific locomotive no. 4472 "Flying Scotsman" (originally no. 1472) was built in 1923 for the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) at Doncaster Works to a design of H.N. Gresley. It was employed on long-distance express trains on the LNER and its successors, British Railways Eastern and North-Eastern Regions, notably the 10am London to Edinburgh Flying Scotsman service after which this locomotive was named. In its career 4472 "Flying Scotsman" has travelled convert|2000000|mi|km|lk=on.


The locomotive was completed in 1923, construction having been started under the auspices of the Great Northern Railway. It was built as an A1, initially carrying the number 1472.

Flying Scotsman was something of a flagship locomotive for the LNER. It represented the company at the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley in 1924 and 1925. At this time it acquired its name and the new number of 4472. From then on it was commonly used for promotional purposes.

With suitably modified valve gear, this locomotive was one of five Gresley Pacifics selected to haul the prestigious non-stop "Flying Scotsman" train service from London to Edinburgh, hauling the inaugural train on 1 May 1928. For this the locomotives ran with a new version of the large eight-wheel tender which held 9 tons of coal. This and the usual facility for water replenishment from the water trough system enabled them to travel the convert|392|mi|km from London to Edinburgh in eight hours non-stop. The tender included a corridor connection and tunnel through the water tank giving access to the locomotive cab from the train in order to allow replacement of the driver and fireman without stopping the train. The following year the locomotive appeared in the film "The Flying Scotsman".

On 30 November 1934, running a light test train, 4472 became the first steam locomotive to be officially recorded at convert|100|mi/h|km/h|abbr=on|lk=on|sigfig=4 and earned a place in the Land speed record for railed vehicles; the publicity-conscious LNER made much of the fact.On 22 August 1928, there appeared an improved version of this Pacific type classified A3; older A1 locomotives were later rebuilt to conform. On 25 April 1945, A1 class locomotives not yet rebuilt were reclassified A10 in order to make way for newer Thompson and Peppercorn Pacifics. This included "Flying Scotsman", which emerged from Doncaster works on 4 January 1947, as an A3 having received a boiler with a long "banjo" dome of the type it carries today. By this time it had become no. 103 in Edward Thompson's comprehensive renumbering scheme for the LNER, then 60103 from 1 January 1948, on the nationalisation of the railways when all the LNER locomotive numbers were prefixed with 60. Between 5 June 1950, and 4 July 1954, and between 26 December 1954, and 1 September 1957, under British Railways ownership, it was allocated to Leicester Central shed on the Great Central, running Nottingham Victoria to London Marylebone services via Leicester Central, and hauled one of the last services on that line before its closureFact|date=November 2007.

All A3 Pacifics were subsequently fitted with a double KYLCHAP chimney to improve performance and economy. This caused soft exhaust and smoke drift that tended to obscure the driver's forward vision; the remedy was found in the German-type smoke deflectors fitted from 1960, which somewhat changed the locomotives' appearance but successfully solved the problem. [Reed Brian "LNER non-streamlined Pacifics" Profile Publications, Windsor, UK. Undated - 1960s: p. 22]


60103 ended service with British Railways in 1963 and was sold for preservation to Alan Pegler who had it restored as closely as possible to its original LNER condition. It then worked a number of railtours, including a non-stop London–Edinburgh run in 1968 – the year steam traction officially ended on BR. As watering facilities for locomotives had by then disappeared a second 8-wheel tender was adapted as an auxiliary water tank.

In 1969 it went on a promotional tour to the USA, where it was fitted with cowcatcher, high-intensity headlamp, bell, air brakes and buckeye couplings. The trip was initially a success, but when Pegler's backers withdrew their support he began to lose money and was finally bankrupted in 1972. Fears then arose for the engine's future, the speculation being that it could take up permanent residence in America or even be cut up. Fortunately in January 1973 William McAlpine stepped in at the eleventh hour and had the locomotive repaired and repatriated.

In October 1988 the locomotive arrived in Australia ["Flying Scotsman's Australian Visit: 20 Years on" O'Neil, Shane Australian Railway History, August, 2008 pp265-272] , to take part in that country's bicentenary celebrations, and during the course of the next year it travelled over convert|45000|km|mi over Australian rails, including a transcontinental run from Sydney to Perth. It was a central attraction in the "AusSteam '88" festival, double heading with NSWGR locomotive 3801, and running alongside Victorian Railways R class locomotives along the convert|300|km|mi|abbr=on-long parallel broad and standard gauge tracks of the North East railway line, Victoria. On 8 August 1989 "Flying Scotsman" set another record, travelling convert|442|mi|km from Parkes to Broken Hill non-stop, the longest such run by a steam locomotive ever recorded. [cite book|author=Malpass, Dare & Jenkins| title=A Vintage Year for Steam | publisher=Australian Railway Historical Society | location=Melbourne |date=1992 |page = p.112, p.121]

In recent years "Flying Scotsman" has continued to have an eventful existence. In 1995 it was in pieces at Southall depot in West London and facing an uncertain future owing to the cost of restoration and refurbishment necessary to meet the stringent engineering standards required for main line operation. Salvation came in 1996 when Dr Tony Marchington bought the locomotive and had it restored to running condition at a cost of some £750,000.

In 2004 "Flying Scotsman" was put up for sale because of the mounting debts of its owning company. After a high-profile campaign it was bought in April by the National Railway Museum in York and it is now part of the national collection. As of 2006 "Flying Scotsman" is undergoing a major 18-month overhaul at the NRM and is not due to resume running until late 2008. The bay in which the locomotive is being refurbished is on view to visitors to the NRM but currently the engine has been dismantled to such an extent that the running plate is the only component recognisable to the casual observer.

Recent Debate

Choice of livery is an eternal subject of controversy amongst those involved in the preservation of historic rolling stock, and Flying Scotsman has attracted more than its fair share, the result of forty years' continuous service during which the locomotive has undergone several changes to its livery. Alan Pegler's option was evidently to return the locomotive as far as possible to the general appearance and distinctive colour it carried at the height of its fame. A later option was to re-install the double Kylchap chimney and German smoke deflectors that it carried at the end of its career in the 1960s; this encouraged more complete combustion, a factor in dealing with smoke pollution and fires caused by spark throwing. More recently, until its current overhaul, it was running in an anachronistic hybrid form retaining the modernised exhaust arrangements while carrying the LNER 'Apple Green' livery of the 1930s. Some believe that the more famous LNER colour scheme should remain; others take the view that, to be authentic, only BR livery should be used when the loco is carrying these later additions – the subject is further complicated by the fact that while in BR Livery it never ran with the corridor tender!

The NRM's possession of the locomotive has attracted some controversy in British railway preservation circles Fact|date=May 2008 due to perceived heavy emphasis which the NRM is placing upon it, at a cost to the museum of £2,200,000. The investment involved is also seen weasel-inline as denying many other historically important exhibits the opportunity to be properly overhauled and presented.

In popular culture

Because of the LNER's emphasis on using the locomotive for publicity purposes, and then its eventful preservation history, including two international forays, it is arguably one of the most famous locomotives in the world today, and no doubt the most famous in the UK.

Flying Scotsman has been featured in The Railway Series of children's books by the Rev. W. Awdry. The locomotive visited the fictional Island of Sodor in the book "Enterprising Engines". At this time Flying Scotsman had two tenders, and this was a key feature of the plot of one of the stories.

Flying Scotsman is featured in the PC game Microsoft Train Simulator. The locomotive is also included in the 2004 edition of Trainz Railroad Simulator.

External links

* [http://www.nrm.org.uk/flyingscotsman/index.asp National Railway Museum's section] about Flying Scotsman train and locomotive
* [http://www.ssplprints.com/search.php?keywords=flying+scotsman&page=1&numperpage=8&idx=4&ref=wiki&ad=sspl02 The official National Railway Museum print website] containing many Flying Scotsman prints and posters
* [http://www.hornbyrailways.com/prodimg/lrg6148.jpgPhoto: from Gresley Society]
* [http://www.bbc.co.uk/nationonfilm/topics/railways/background_rise.shtml BBC "Nation on Film"] article with historic films of Flying Scotsman in steam.
* [http://www.lner.info/locos/A/a1a3a10.shtml The LNER Encyclopedia page for the Gresley A1/A3s including Flying Scotsman]
* [http://www.southernsteamtrains.com/flyingscotsman.htm History of the Flying Scotsman by Southern Steam Trains]


*cite book|author=Roden, Andrew|title=Flying Scotsman|location=London|publisher=Aurum|date=2007|isbn=978-1-84513-241-5

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