60103 Flying Scotsman (GNER 1472, LNER 1472, LNER 4472, LNER 503, LNER 103, BR E103 & BR 60103)

60103 Flying Scotsman at Kings Cross - September 1967.jpg

The Flying Scotsman was completed at Doncaster, at a cost of £7,944, in February 1923 as 1472, an A1 pacific-class locomotive. Under ownership of the London and North Eastern Railway Company (LNER) it was renumbered the 4472 and christened the Flying Scotsman.

In 1924, number 4472 Flying Scotsman, renumbered and named for the occasion, was displayed at the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley along with the first member of the Great Western Railway (GWR) Castle Class, number 4073 Caerphilly Castle.

At the 1925 British Empire Exhibition, Flying Scotsman was again exhibited; but this time, the GWR sent Pendennis Castle.

It was an immediate hit with the public, and its fame was sealed when in 1928 it launched the regular 10am non-stop Flying Scotsman Express Service from King’s Cross, London, to Waverley, Edinburgh. It had been fitted with a corridor tender in April 1928 in readiness for this and transferred from the depot at Doncaster to Kings Cross in order to work the service to Edinburgh.. It retained a corridor tender until October 1936.

For this the locomotives ran with a new version of the large eight-wheel tender which held nine tons of coal. This and the usual facility for water replenishment from the water trough system enabled them to travel the 392 miles 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 to permit replacement of the driver and fireman without stopping the train.

The Flying Scotsman became even more famous on 30 November 1934, when it travelled at 100mph breaking the world speed record.

In January 1947, the Flying Scotsman was converted to the A3 class that incorporated a larger boiler with a higher boiler pressure and, a year later, it was re-designated as the 60103 under the ownership of BR.

German type smoke deflectors were fitted in December 1961 but have not been carried throughout its service since it was preserved. The double chimney was fitted in January 1959.

Motive power depot allocations.

Date ArrivedDepot
February 1923Doncaster
April 1928Kings Cross
March 1939Doncaster
November 1944New England (Peterborough)
December 1944Doncaster
June 1950Leicester Central
November 1953Grantham
July 1954Kings Cross
September 1954Grantham
April 1957Kings Cross

Retired from regular service in January1963 after covering 2,076,000 miles

When it was withdrawn in January 1963 it had covered 2,076,000 miles in service. It was purchased by Alan Pegler for a scrap value of £3,000. Peglar removed the German-style smoke deflectors and fitted a corridor tender an applied a lined LNER Doncaster green livery. After 20 months of charter trains, it entered Doncaster for a change of boiler and overhaul. This time it was repainted in a traditional Darlington Green livery with black and white lining. With the demise of BR steam, water supplies were hard to get, and so in 1966 Alan Pegler added the Flying Scotsman’s famous second tender. This tender was a corridor type, which was adapted to store 6000 gallons of water. By the time of the next overhaul in 1968, it had to be overhauled by Hunslet (Leeds), because Doncaster was no longer able to overhaul steam locomotives.

From 1968 British railways imposed a ban on any steam locomotives operating on the national network. Flying Scotsman was the only exception as it was contractually covered to operate until 1970 as a result of an agreement between Peglar and the British Railways Board. The ban on steam trains operations was lifted in 1972.

The Flying Scotsma clocked up 119,000 miles in the UK whilst owned by Alan Pegler.

In 1969, then Prime Minister Wilson agreed to support Pegler via the Trade Departme

In 1969, then Prime Minister Wilson agreed to support Pegler via the Trade Department running the locomotive in the United States and Canada to support British exports. To comply with local railway regulations, it was fitted with a cowcatcher, bell, buckeye couplings and an American-style whistle. Starting in Boston, Massachusetts, the tour ran into immediate problems, with some states seeing the locomotive as a fire-hazard, and there-by raising costs through the need for diesel-headed-haulage through them. However, the train ran from Boston to New York, Washington and Dallas in the first year; from Texas to Wisconsin and finishing in Montreal in 1970; and from Toronto to San Francisco in 1971 — a total of 15,400 miles.

However, in 1970 Ted Heath’s Conservatives ousted Wilson’s Labour Party, and withdrew financial support from the tour. Pegler still decided to return for the 1970 season. By the end of that season’s tour, the money had run out and Pegler was £132,000 in debt, with the locomotive in storage in U.S. Army Sharpe Depot just outside of San Francisco to keep it away from unpaid creditors.

It took another businessman, Sir William McAlpine, to pay off creditors, buy the locomotive and bring her back to Britain in 1973. Whilst in the USA and Canada the locomotive covered 15,400 miles.

It was then based at Steamtown, at the old Carnforth motive power depot which is now the northern base of West Coast Railways. In 1974 McAlpine became a shareholder in Steamtown to allow Flying Scotsman to be based there which it was for fifteen years. He subsequently acquired a controlling interest in the company in order to fund the purchase of the complete site including the track from BR.

It was fitted with an A4 class boiler in 1977 when it was undergoing heavy repairs at Vickers at Barrow in Furness. Because of the slight difference in size from the original A3 class boiler the cladding had to be replaced.

In 1988 4472 Flying Scotsman ventured abroad a second time, this time to Australia for the Bicentenary celebrations. During this visit, it set a new record for the longest non-stop run for a steam locomotive by travelling 422 miles non-stop. The previous record was set in 1948 by a number of locomotives when flooding caused the non-stop services from London to Edinburgh to be diverted over the Waverley route.

By 1995, it was part-owned by Pete Waterman, and was once more being overhauled having completed 2,462,900 miles since entering service in February 1923 with nearly 400,000 of this having been done since it was withdrawn from service with BR in January 1963.

It was sold again to a company called Sovco, which was owned by businessman Tony Marchington, who in 1996 paid McAlpine and Waterman £1.5m for the locomotive.

It was given a major overhaul at a cost of £1m and returned to running condition in 1998. It was then operated commercially by Flying Scotsman Railways in an attempt to cover the costs of the rebuild and future maintenance work.

In 2002, Marchington proposed grand plans that included a Flying Scotsman Village linked to the main line in Edinburgh, creating revenue from associated branding for Flying Scotsman plc, floated that same year.

But the scheme failed to gain approval from Edinburgh City Council and the failure of these plans plus an overhaul that proved to be wildly over budget bankrupted Marchington. This led to Flyimg Scotsman being placed for sale in 2004. After a competitive bidding process ending in April 2004, it was announced that the National Railway Museum would be the new owner which removed the fear that the locomotive would be sold to an overseas buyer.

The National Railway Museum in York acquired the locomotive at a cost of £2.3m and when restoration began in 2005 it was estimated the work would cost about £750,000. This is roughly the same as the cost of building the new A1 pacific Tornado.

The money was raised to buy and restore the locomotive to mainline running-

  • £415,000 through public appeal matched by a donation from Sir Richard Branson on behalf of Virgin Group
  • The National Heritage Memorial Fund grant of £1.8m

When the restoration work started in 2005 it was anticipated that it would take twelve months to complete the task. In the event it has taken ten years and cost £4.2m to return Flying Scotsman to steam and be capable of mainline running again. As part of this work the A4 class boiler was replaced with the original A3 class boiler.

Much of the work on the locomotive has been completed by Riley & Son (E) Ltd at Bury after earlier attempts to undertake work at York had gone badly wrong.

Flying Scotsman finally returned to steam in December 2015 in readiness for its first public appearance in early January 2016 on the East Lancs Railway.

As part of the agreement between the National Railway Museum and Riley & Son (E) Ltd in 2013 to complete the restoration of the locomotive it was agreed that Riley & Son (E) Ltd at Bury would manage the operation of the locomotive for a period of two years after it returned to service.

In October 2016 the National Railway Museum issued a statement on the cost of acquiring the Flying Scotsman and returning it to service. This confirmed that the original purchase price for the locomotive was £2.31m which was funded by-

  • £1.8m from the National Heritage Memorial Fund
  • £441k from public donations
  • £365k match funding from the Virgin Group

The cost of restoring the locomotive was given as £4.5m (£4,537,892) which was funded by external funding, public donations and the sale of Flying Scotsman merchandise. Included was also a £275k grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Funds were also made available to the National Railway Museum from the Science Museum Group of which the National Railway Museum forms part. None of the money came from the normal annual budget of the National Railway Museum.

In October 2017 the locomotive suffered its first failure since returning to main line operations. The issue was that the middle driving axle ran hot. Flying Scotsman was lifted off the wheels at Wansford on the Nene Valley Railway and the axle boxes were re-metalled before the locomotive returned to running a few days later.

In early 2018 the National Railway Museum announced that Riley & Son (E) Ltd would continue the operating and maintaining of the locomotive until 2024. In addition to the day-to-day running and maintenance the contract includes a comprehensive overhaul of 60103 in 2022.

In 2023 the National Railway Museum are planning to hold events to mark the Flying Scotsman’s centenary.

In July 2019 the National Railway Museum revealed that the locomotive would be main line certified until 2029 after which it would spend a further three years on heritage railways.

The locomotive was taken out of service in April 2022 for an overhaul which is anticipated to take three to four months which will enable the locomotive to be back in steam for its 100th anniversary. The overhaul is being undertaken by Riley & Son (E) Ltd at Heywood.

The locomotive was operational again by October 2022.

Home BaseCurrent StatusOwner
OperationalNational Railway Museum

NRM Object Number{2004-7103}

60103 Flying Scotsman climbing away from Grantham with the up Flying Scotsman – circa 1931
60103 Flying Scotsman at Greenwood – Circa 1937
60103 Flying Scotsman at Kings Cross with a class V2 60875, class A4 60020 Guillemot and class A2 60508 Duke of Rothesay – Probably in 1959
60103 Flying Scotsman at Kings Cross - June 1961.jpg
60103 Flying Scotsman at Kings Cross – June 1961
60103 Flying Scotsman at Doncaster on a Kings Cross to Leeds train – May 1962
60103 Flying Scotsman at Kings Cross - January 1963.jpg
60103 Flying Scotsman at Kings Cross – January 1963
60103 Flying Scotsman on the Great Central near Wendover in Buckinghamshire – June 1963
60103 Flying Scotsman at Gloucester Central – March 1964
60103 Flying Scotsman near Reading West - September 1964.jpg
60103 Flying Scotsman near Reading West – September 1964
60103 Flying Scotsman passes through Oxford with Alan Peglar peering out of the cab - September 1964.jpg
60103 Flying Scotsman passes through Oxford with Alan Peglar peering out of the cab – September 1964
60103 Flying Scotsman at Carlisle – April 1966
60103 Flying Scotsman at Kings Cross heading the Altrincham Railway Excursion Society Elizabethan October 1966
60103 Flying Scotsman at Kings Cross - September 1967.jpg
60103 Flying Scotsman at Kings Cross – September 1967
60103 Flying Scotsman leaving Kings Cross - April 1967.jpg
60103 Flying Scotsman leaving Kings Cross – April 1967
60103 Flying Scotsman at Tyseley – May 1969
60103 Flying Scotsman at Doncaster Works – 1969
60103 Flying Scotsman at Newark, New Jersey – October 1969
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 60103-flying-scotsman-just-back-from-the-usa.jpg
60103 Flying Scotsman just back from the USA
60103 Flying Scotsman and 60800 Green Arrow on Carnforth shed – June 1975
60103 Flying Scotsman at Steamtown Carnforth – August 1978
60103 Flying Scotsman at Rainhill as part of the Rocket 150 cavalcade – May 1980
60103 Flying Scotsman at Carnforth – August 1983
60103 Flying Scotsman at Highley on the Severn Valley Railway – 1988
60103 Flying Scotsman heads south through Cadney Park with a special train from Alice Springs to Adelaide whilst it was in Australia – August 1989
60103 Flying Scotsman leaving Port Pirie in South Australia on the Port Augusta to Adelaide leg of its journey from Alice Springs to Adelaide – August 1989
60103 Flying Scotsman in front of streamlined 3801 at Steamfest at Hunter Valley in New South Wales, Australia – 1989
60103 Flying Scotsman being unloaded from a French container ship at Tilbury on its return from Australia – December 1989
60103 Flying Scotsman breasts Ais Gill summit – April 1991
60103 flying Scotsman at York – July 2005
60103 Flying Scotsman sits in the corner of the workshop at the National Railway Museum workshop at York – 2013
60103 Flying Scotsman at Heywood on the East Lancashire Railway – January 2016. It was being tested after the completion of its overhaul.
60103 Flying Scotsman at Bury on the East Lancashire Railway – October 2016. Now complete with new livery.
60103 Flying Scotsman at Bury on the East Lancashire Railway – October 2016.
60103 Flying Scotsman passes through Irwell Vale on the East Lancashire Railway – October 2016. Now complete with new livery.
60103 Flying Scotsman on the Bluebell Railway – April 2017
60103 Flying Scotsman at Nuneaton – June 2017
60103 Flying Scotsman on the Mid Hants Railway – March 2020
60103 Flying Scotsman at Rossendale on the East Lancs Railway – September 2021

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