Facts about the Flying Scotsman – Some Interesting Facts

It’s perhaps one of the most famous and iconic steam engines of all time, but do you know the full backstory of the Flying Scotsman and how it gained its status? This year you can experience this outstanding locomotive for yourself by hopping on the Flying Scotsman UK tour – indulging in everything it has to offer.

But, before you set off on your adventure, make sure you’re clued up on just how incredible this historic train really is with these interesting facts.

Where was it built, and how did it gain its name?

Built-in Doncaster left the works on 24th February 1923 and was designed by Sir Nigel Gresley as part of the A1 class. It was given the name ‘Flying Scotsman’ after the daily 10 am London to Edinburgh rail service, which started in 1862.

How fast can it travel?

It may surprise you, but it was the world’s first steam locomotive to officially hit 100mph in service in 1934 – a truly incredible achievement for its time.

This particular run proved to the LNER’s directors that steam trains could travel at high speeds, putting the brakes on their plans to switch to diesel power on its high-speed services. Nowadays, trains travel at around 125mph.

It’s time for a redesign

In a twist, the Flying Scotsman was redesigned in 1928, in which a new type of corridor was installed. This meant that a new crew could take over the service without the train having to stop.

Helping to reduce the overall journey time from London to Edinburgh by a whopping eight hours allowed the locomotive to pull the first-ever non-stop service from one end of the UK to the other on 1st May 1928.

When did it retire?

Unfortunately, the engine took retirement in 1963 before breaking out and touring the USA, ferrying tourists between 1969 and 1973 before returning to the UK.

It was later bought and repaired to its former glory by the British businessman William McAlpine during the eighties. This meant it could set to work once again on various heritage routes, delighting passengers once again.

What was its longest journey?

After McAlpine refurbished it, the Flying Scotsman went on a tour of Australia. It ran for an impressive 422 miles, which is the longest ever non-stop run by a steam locomotive. Over its lifetime, it’s roughly traveled 2,500,000 miles.

Whether you’re going to stand and watch from the sidelines or hop on the UK tour, this impressive locomotive has a firm place in British history for everyone.  

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