decrease font-size reset font-size increase font-size

News Release - Issued by National Railway Museum

Steam Legend Set To Be 2016 Steam Star

The National Railway Museum has today announced its outline programme for the long-awaited return of steam celebrity Flying Scotsman to the tracks in 2016.

With Flying Scotsman now taking shape in the workshop of Riley & Son (E) Ltd in the last phases of the painstaking £4.2m project to bring this steam legend back to life, the museum is now releasing the first information about the world’s most famous locomotive’s return to the spotlight.

From early 2016 the globetrotting screen star and multiple record-breaker will be able to be seen around the UK as a working museum exhibit, demonstrating the engineering science behind steam traction to new generations of Scotsman fans. For the past two years the dedicated team at Riley & Son (E) Ltd have been completing the work to make the 1920’s built locomotive fit to operate within the stringent requirements of today’s modern railway network.

A flagship for modernity for millions at the 1924 Wembley British Empire Exhibition, the locomotive has always been a media darling right from the moment it was named after the world’s oldest–established express train between London and Edinburgh. Supporting its time in steam are three Museum showcases where the public can get up close and personal with the nation’s favourite steam starlet, the sole survivor of Sir Nigel Gresley’s well-known A3 class of locomotives.

An inaugural run between London Kings Cross and York will mark Scotsman’s official completion and return to steam, and form the opening event for the National Railway Museum’s February Flying Scotsman Season, a celebration of the fame and celebrity of the locomotive legend, to mark its anticipated return to the tracks. Highlights will include an exhibition exploring the highs and lows of the steam icon’s rollercoaster career and a Flying Scotsman display in the museum’s Hall of railway greats that allows visitors to step on board the most famous train in the world. The season’s finishing flourish will be the chance to see Scotsman in light steam at a ‘Shed Bash’ at the National Railway Museum’s Shildon Co. Durham site.

Jim Lowe, Head of Operations at the National Railway Museum said:
“With its new BR Green No. 60103 guise, Flying Scotsman will be starting a new chapter in its long and fascinating history as the oldest mainline working locomotive on Britain’s tracks. Its first outing in its latest incarnation will be a triumphant return home with the inaugural run. The steam icon will be the same colour as when flamboyant business man Alan Pegler saved it from the scrapheap in 1963, and after a decade-long restoration where it has been literally taken down to the bare bones, the frames, it will probably be in the best condition it’s been in since the comprehensive overhaul it received at Doncaster Works that year.”

Fans can also see Flying Scotsman in its black undercoat during its test runs at the East Lancashire Railway, and then resplendent in its BR green livery at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway in Pickering, North Yorkshire, the Severn Valley Railway in Kidderminster, Worcestershire.

With the announcement of when and where fans can see Scotsman in steam, anticipation is building that the prodigal steam locomotive, the comeback kid of the steam loco preservation world’s return home can now be counted down in months and weeks.

Lowe continues:

“Along with all our generous supporters for this complex project, we have all been looking forward to the day when Flying Scotsman is once again running on Britain’s tracks and can be enjoyed by the thousands of people who will ride behind it and catch a glimpse as it travels past.

As a national museum, we are committed to ensuring that as many people as possible can enjoy our remarkable collections, including icons like Flying Scotsman, within the UK. Working closely with the team at Riley & Son (E) Ltd who are managing the operation of the locomotive for a period of two years we have chosen locations that cover a large proportion of the UK, the North, the South, the East and West, including Scotsman’s former stamping ground, the East Coast Mainline. Keep checking our website for new dates and locations yet to be announced!”

Each potential run was judged on its own merits and against the operating plan which considers a range of things including annual mileage, length of each trip, gradients, curves, load, speed and the difficulty of the track. When Flying Scotsman is not operating, it will return to its base at the National Railway Museum, where the public will be able to see it.

Once Scotsman’s return to mainline operation is complete, the commercial partnership agreement under which Riley & Son (E) Ltd will manage the operation of the locomotive for a period of two years also includes a programme of on-going maintenance using Riley’s vast experience of keeping steam locomotives on the track. The Bury-based firm of steam and diesel engineering specialists is experienced in running and maintaining its own small fleet of Network Rail-registered steam locomotives and was appointed in October 2013 to complete the high profile restoration project to bring the 1923-built locomotive, the sole survivor of its class, back to Britain’s tracks. Its in-depth knowledge of Flying Scotsman will also help to resolve any issues that may arise during its return to mainline steam.

For more information about Flying Scotsman Season please visit


For more information please contact
Catherine Farrell, Senior Press Officer, National Railway Museum
01904 686281

Notes to editors:

• The estimated projected total cost for the restoration is in the region of £4.2m

• In 2004, the National Railway Museum bought Flying Scotsman for £2.3 million. The appeal to keep the steam icon in Britain was supported by a £1.8 million grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the generosity of the public. The restoration has also been undertaken with the help of a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £275,000. The aim of the purchase has always been to operate Flying Scotsman as a working museum exhibit.

• The National Railway Museum in York attracts over 700,000 visitors per year.

• The National Railway Museum’s collection, the largest in the world, includes over 300 locomotives and rolling stock, 628 coins and medals, 4899 pieces of railway uniform and costume, railway equipment, documents, records, artwork and railway related photographs.

• Admission to the National Railway Museum is free.

• For more information visit

• Follow us at

• Join us at