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Museum announces final cost of steam legend's return

The National Railway Museum today announces the full and final cost of saving 'Flying Scotsman' for the nation and returning this iconic steam legend to the tracks.

The National Railway Museum (NRM) today announces the full and final cost of saving 'Flying Scotsman' for the nation and returning this iconic steam legend to the tracks.

As the celebrity locomotive today wows the crowds at the Severn Valley Railway's popular 'Pacific Power' event; the York-based Museum, NRM - who made the complex decade-long restoration project possible - have announced the total cost of bringing a legend back to life as £4.5m.

Since its high profile return earlier this year, over 200k people will have seen Flying Scotsman at the National Railway Museum's York and Shildon sites and at heritage railway events with many tens of thousands seeing it during February's triumphant inaugural run between London Kings Cross and York, and millions more worldwide watching it on their television screens.

Saving the Scotsman for the nation, the projected total cost was estimated in the region of £4.2m in Summer 2015. With the final stages of the restoration revealing that more remedial work than anticipated was needed to some parts of the locomotive that had been thought fit for purpose, coupled with a tight deadline to meet the inaugural run date in February, this brought the final cost to £4.5m.

Museum Director Paul Kirkman said: 'Saving Scotsman for the nation has been a complex project but eminently worthwhile. Since its return this year, the spectacular sight of this most famous of steam locomotives has captured the imagination and been a life-enhancing experience for thousands, possibly millions of people.

As well as those who have seen it in action on the tracks on rail tours and appearing at heritage railway events across the UK, visitors to our museums have been able to get up close and experience the most famous locomotive and express train service in the world first–hand, through our free innovative exhibitions and displays. This globetrotting screen star and multiple record-breaker will continue be seen around the UK, demonstrating the engineering science behind steam traction to new generations of fans.'

Michael Portillo, travelling on the train as part of filming for BBC documentary series 'Great British Railway Journeys', described Flying Scotsman as an 'engineering triumph' and said: 'This is certainly the most famous journey and most famous locomotive in Britain.'

The restoration has 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 and ambassador for the work of the National Railway Museum to preserve Britain's rich railway heritage for the nation, showcasing their impact, past, present and future.

During 2016, the museum's well-received 'Scotsman Season' at NRM explored the locomotive's importance, with a free Starring Scotsman exhibition examining the ups and downs of the locomotive's rollercoaster celebrity career and a six week display in the Great Hall told the story of the luxury service between London and Edinburgh from the 1890s through to the swinging sixties. Throughout the season, there were family-friendly Scotsman science shows on the theme of speed. The swansong for the season was the 'Shildon Shed Bash' which achieved 44k visitors - a big boost to the local economy.

Its return to Scotland in February for the first time in 16 years was also particularly high profile with many community events held to mark its return. The return of Flying Scotsman to Yorkshire with highly successful events at the Museum and the North Yorkshire Moors Railway is in the frame for the 'Yorkshire Event' category at the White Rose Awards 2016 and the locomotive was the first ever non-human to be awarded 'Ambassador of the Year' at April's Visit York Awards.

The current showcase for the steam icon is Kidderminster's Severn Valley Railway's long-awaited 'Pacific Power' showcase with new kid on the block - Tornado the latest steam loco to be built in Britain as the result of a £3m project which was finally completed in 2008 after 18 years.

Flying Scotsman will next return home to the National Railway Museum for its Winter Maintenance which all working steam locomotives have each year to keep them in top running order. Visitors over the Christmas holidays will be able to see the star locomotive on its home turf.

Visit the Flying Scotsman website for more information about Flying Scotsman including display dates. For latest conversations about the return of Flying Scotsman, use or track #FlyingScotsman.


For more information, please contact:

Rebecca Fuller, Senior Press Executive, National Railway Museum 01904 686281

Images of the Shildon Shed Bash and Inaugural run available on request.

Notes to Editors

  • Flying Scotsman was 'outshopped' from Doncaster Works as number 1472 on 27 February 1923
  • The final total cost for the restoration is £4,537,892
  • 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.
  • Now Scotsman's return to mainline operation is complete, under a commercial partnership agreement Riley & Son (E) Ltd are managing the operation of the locomotive for a period of two years. This 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.
  • 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 about the National Railway Museum and Flying Scotsman please visit our website. Follow the National Railway Museum on Twitter or find us on Facebook.