Welcome to Locoyard’s Model of the Week Blog Post! This week’s model is of a very famous locomotive!
Sir Nigel Gresley’s 4472 Flying Scotsman has quite an incredible history and to this day (though not always for the right reasons) it still hits the headlines. Construction began under the former Great Northern Railway as number 1472. The Flying Scotsman was completed at Doncaster in 1923 as an A1 class. Due to the grouping of the “Big Four”, the locomotive became part of the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) and soon became the company’s flagship. In 1924 and 1925, renumbered as 4472; the Flying Scotsman was displayed at the British Empire Exhibition in Wembly. The publicity from this lead it to be selected (and slightly modified) to pull “The Flying Scotsman” express in 1928. This was a 392 mile non-stop run from London to Edinburgh, which took just eight hours. A specially modified tender was used that had a corridor connection to allow for crew to be swapped without stopping.
In November 1934, The Flying Scotsman became the first locomotive to officially to run at 100mph – 3440/3717 City of Truro’s previous record was not authenticated. Despite the A1 pacific’s impressive performance, an exchange with a GWR Castle revealed it to be relatively inefficient and very coal hungry. As a consequence, from 1928 the LNER modified the design and created a new class designated A3 – a notable visual difference being a banjo dome. Flying Scotsman was modified to this configuration in 1945. In the last days of the LNER; the Flying Scotsman was renumbered 502 and then 103 in 1946.
Upon the nationalisation of the railway network in 1948, the Flying Scotsman was renumbered 60103. To improve performance, a double Kylchap chimney was fitted, which lead to problems of drifting smoke that eventually was remedied by the fitting of distinctive german-style smoke deflectors. It’s last scheduled service with BR was hauled in 1963 and was purchased by Alan Peglar for preservation. Preservation for the Flying Scotsman has proved as eventful as it’s life in service!
Alan Peglar replaced the current tender with a corridor type and purchased a second to allow for greater range between water stops. When steam ended on British Railways, the Flying Scotsman was the exception to the no-steam rule, although a trip to the USA from 1968 did mean the ban was effective! The trip to the USA helped spread the locomotive’s international fame, but the cost contributed to Alan Peglar’s bankruptcy in 1972. William McAlpine purchased 4472 in 1973 and returned it to the UK and restored it back to working condition leading it to work many mainline tours. The USA wouldn’t prove to be the only international trip for 4472!
In 1988; Flying Scotsman traveled to Australia to help celebrate Aus Steam ’88 festival where it worked a number of specials, including working with 3801 (click here for more) and meeting Castle class Pendennis Castle in Perth. In 1989, 4472 set a new non-stop record for a steam locomotive at 422 miles. When back in the UK; 4472 was purchased by Dr Tony Marchington and returned to working condition for £1 million. After a failed proposal to set-up a Flying Scotsman village in Edinburgh, Marchington became another owner to be declared bankrupt in 2003. As a result, 4472 was purchased in 2004 by it’s current owner – the National Railway Museum.
Withdrawn from service in 2006; the Flying Scotsman has been undergoing one of the most controversial restorations of modern times. Numerous problems have been encountered and the predicted return to service pushed back as a result. Current estimates predict a return no earlier than 2015 with costs rising alarmingly. Whether you believe the money spent is worth it or not, I’m sure you can not deny that this is an incredibly famous steam locomotive. Note that a review of Hornby’s super-detail A3 model can be found here.