Keighley and Worth Valley Railway, Bluebell Railway and West Somerset Railway announced to host the world’s most famous steam locomotive, Flying Scotsman in 2017.
Three heritage railway companies; The Bluebell Railway; Keighley and Worth Valley; and West Somerset Railway are today announced as hosting 60103 Flying Scotsman in 2017.
After weeks of negotiations, the heritage railways selected were informed on Friday 18th November after a selection process undertaken by the National Railway Museum in partnership with Riley & Son (E) Ltd.
Paul Kirkman, National Railway Museum Director, said: “It was a tough decision with a consistently high quality of bids submitted from a wide range of Heritage Railway companies. After a successful tour in 2016, we weren’t surprised with how many bids we received to host Scotsman. We hope the public who will journey to view or travel behind the locomotive will join us in welcoming Flying Scotsman to these historic railways.”
Colin Green, Director at Riley & Son (E) Ltd, added: “The selection panel were inundated with bids to host Flying Scotsman but the chosen three impressed us in the bidding process. After working with the locomotive for the last year, we understand the popularity and attention that Scotsman brings to the rails, something that we saw earlier this year and hope to continue to see in 2017.”
Matthew Stroh, Chairman of Keighley and Worth Valley Railway said; “We are incredibly excited about Flying Scotsman visiting the Worth Valley, especially before our 150th celebrations of our branch line.”
Paul Conibeare, General Manager at West Somerset Railway, added: “We’re proud to have been selected as one of only three heritage railways to host Flying Scotsman in 2017 and are looking forward to promoting a successful and safe event.”
Finally, The Bluebell Railway’s Chairman, Dick Fearn, said: “The Bluebell Railway is delighted to have secured the services of Flying Scotsman for a special week of operations. Since opening the line to East Grinstead in 2013, the appearance of Scotsman will give thousands of people from London and the south east a chance to enjoy this renowned locomotive in the delightful surroundings of the Sussex countryside.”
Further information on dates and times will be announced by the heritage railway companies and details on how to purchase tickets will be provided on their websites at a later date.
Flying Scotsman is currently at the National Railway Museum in York undergoing its winter maintenance. Further announcements on its return to the rails in 2017 will be made in the near future.
Please note that tickets for Flying Scotsman are available from each heritage railway website, not the National Railway Museum website.
For media information please contact
Rebecca Fuller, National Railway Museum
Notes to editors
About Flying Scotsman
Flying Scotsman was built in Doncaster becoming the first locomotive of the newly formed London and North Eastern Railway (LNER). It left the works on 24 February 1923. It was designed by Sir Nigel Gresley as part of the A1 class – the most powerful locomotives used by the LNER at that time.
By 1924, when it was selected to appear at the British Empire Exhibition in London, the loco had been renumbered 4472 – and had been given the name ‘Flying Scotsman’ after the London to Edinburgh rail service which started daily at 10am in 1862.
In 1934, Scotsman was clocked at 100mph on a special test run – officially the first locomotive in the UK to have reached that speed, to this day making Flying Scotsman the fastest steam locomotive in the world. Flying Scotsman was ‘outshopped’ from Doncaster Works as number 1472 on 27 February 1923
The Bluebell Railway
Less than an hour from Central London, the Bluebell Railway is the most accessible major heritage railway from the capital. The Bluebell Railway was the first preserved standard gauge steam operated passenger railway in the world, running its first passenger service in August 1960. Operating over part of the line originally built by the London Brighton and South Coast Railway in 1882, the line was closed by British Railways in 1958. The line today is operated by the Bluebell Railway and runs north from its headquarters at Sheffield Park through 11 miles of beautiful Sussex Countryside terminating at East Grinstead, where a link with the National Rail Network was established in March 2013. The route includes Horsted Keynes station which with 5 platforms is one of the largest on a UK Heritage Railway and the Sharpthorne Tunnel which at 731 yards is the longest on a UK Heritage Railway.
Keighley and Worth Valley
Flying Scotsman will be static and on display at Ingrow West station on the weekends of 1st and 2nd April and the 8th and 9th April. Throughout the week the locomotive will be running on the Worth Valley line between Oxenhope and Keighley. The visit coincides with the 150th anniversary celebrations of the opening of the Keighley and Worth Valley branch line. It was the first complete standard gauge branch line to be re-opened by enthusiasts in the UK and has been the location for The Railway Children and many more films and television series. There will be a special train from Oxenhope to Carlisle as part of the celebrations of the reopening of the Settle to Carlisle railway following a year of closure due to storm damage.
West Somerset Railway
Originally opening in 1862 between Taunton and Watchet, the track was extended in1874 it was extended from Watchet to Minehead by the Minehead Railway. Although just a single track, improvements were needed in the first half of the twentieth century to accommodate the significant number of tourists that wished to travel to the Somerset coast. The line was closed By British Rail in 1971 and reopened in 1976 as a heritage line. The West Somerset Railway is the longest standard gauge independent heritage railway in the United Kingdom. Spread over 20.5 miles the line boast picturesque views of the Somerset countryside.
National Railway Museum
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.