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Northern Steam Operations Limited announced as new Flying Scotsman custodian

  • New custodian will manage and maintain steam locomotive Flying Scotsman
  • Ensures Flying Scotsman can continue steam tours on the main line and at heritage railways
  • New contract to begin in June 2024 and end January 2032

After a nationwide search involving a showcase of UK engineering expertise, the new custodian to maintain and operate world famous locomotive Flying Scotsman has been appointed. 

Northern Steam Operations Limited, run by Northern Steam Engineering Limited based in Stockton-on-Tees, has been selected as the new custodian of steam locomotive Flying Scotsman. 

The contract will run until January 2032 and includes responsibility for maintenance and day to day operations, as well as provision for a future mechanical overhaul to enable the locomotive to continue operating on the main line rail network. 

The successful bid from Northern Steam committed to frequent, shorter trips to enable more people to access Flying Scotsman without increasing the number of running days. 

Northern Steam has a dedicated engineering team in Stockton-on-Tees with experience of maintaining and overhauling steam locomotives and an established engineering base. 

The locomotive is owned by the National Railway Museum, part of the Science Museum Group. Judith McNicol, Director of the National Railway Museum, said: 

“After a comprehensive procurement process, I am pleased to announce that we have selected Northern Steam as preferred supplier to take over the day-to-day maintenance and operation of Flying Scotsman. This will ensure a positive and sustainable future for the locomotive and enable us to reach a wide audience of Flying Scotsman fans across the country and to work with a wide range of partners.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the previous custodians, Riley & Son (E) Ltd for their efforts over the past decade. Without their tireless hard work and commitment, last year’s centenary programme would not have been possible and the locomotive would not be in the condition it is today. 

“I look forward to working with Northern Steam and the new team as we plan a calendar of activity for 2024 and beyond.”  

Representatives from Northern Steam and the National Railway Museum will spend the next few months developing a calendar of activity for the locomotive with a mix of static display and operational trips at heritage lines and on the main line. The contract will see up to 30 days of static display, 15 heritage railway operating days and 20 main line excursion days each year. 

The competitive tender was administered online via the Science Museum Group’s procurement team and received three completed bids, running from 23 March to 18 April, with the award made on 30 May 2024. 

The tender involved written responses followed by interviews and assessed factors such as prior experience, costs, the scope and nature of operational plans and proposed rail tours, as well as technical and conservation considerations. 

Flying Scotsman’s next confirmed appearance in 2024 is scheduled to be at Locomotion in Shildon over the summer with dates expected to be confirmed soon. 

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For more information please contact: James Rose, Press and PR Manager,, 01904 929517

  • The National Railway Museum in York has the largest collection of railway objects in the world and is the most visited free attraction in the region, receiving more than 630,306 visitors in 2023.  
  • The collection includes including more than 260 locomotives and rolling stock, thousands of railway objects, and over 1.75 million documents, photograps and artwork in its archives.  
  • The National Railway Museum forms part of the Science Museum Group, along with the Science Museum in London, the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester, the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford, Locomotion in Shildon, and the National Collections Centre in Wiltshire.   
  • Admission to the National Railway Museum is free, although visitors are encouraged to book in advance, visit: