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Home Projects Flying Scotsman Back in Action in 2022 before Centenary Overhaul

Flying Scotsman Back in Action in 2022 before Centenary Overhaul

The world’s most famous steam locomotive No. 60103 Flying Scotsman is back on the tracks in 2022, hauling a limited number of redated steam excursions before undergoing a boiler overhaul.

Scheduled for April and lasting between three and four months, the overhaul and recertification will ensure Flying Scotsman is able to take part in national celebrations to mark the engine’s centenary in 2023.

The National Railway Museum which owns Flying Scotsman on behalf of the nation, is preparing a series of activities and events in 2023 to mark the centenary.


The first centenary project to be announced will be ‘Flying Scotsman: 100 Years, 100 Voices’ – a new exhibition and film that will capture the human stories behind the Flying Scotsman legend. The museum is asking members of the public to get in touch to help shape the exhibition and film and to share their memories of Flying Scotsman – whether through personal records, letters, photographs, or film clips.

Scheduled to launch at the museum and online during the centenary, the exhibition and film will feature 100 distinct ‘voices’ of people connected to the Flying Scotsman story, from former drivers, railway workers and members of the public.   

Further details of the centenary plans will be announced later in the year once confirmed, but they will involve a chance to see the locomotive at several locations across the country, including at the National Railway Museum in York and Locomotion in Shildon.

Charlotte Kingston, Head of Interpretation and Design at the National Railway Museum, said:  “After COVID affected the touring schedule in 2020 and 2021, I am pleased to confirm that Flying Scotsman will be back in 2022 to haul a series of four rearranged trips. The engine will then undergo a boiler overhaul, ahead of the centenary in 2023, which will involve an exciting, yearlong programme of events, exhibitions and activities where we will be celebrating this very special birthday with the public.

“Often described as ‘the people’s engine’, we want to hear what Flying Scotsman means to you, whether it’s through working on the railways, seeing Scotsman as a child or another cherished memory. We hope that Flying Scotsman: 100 Years, 100 Voices will help create a lasting and important chapter in the Flying Scotsman story.” 

The overhaul will be carried out by Riley & Son (E) Ltd, the engineering firm that operates and maintains Flying Scotsman. The locomotive will be restored to the same standard as the last overhaul, which was completed in 2016. With much of the mechanical work already completed during the enforced down-time caused by the pandemic, work will centre on the boiler and the required retube and recertification. It will not involve any changes to the locomotive’s livery, numbering or chimney configuration.

Once the overhaul is complete, Flying Scotsman will require ‘running in’ time before the locomotive attends a small number of heritage railway visits, also redated due to the knock-on effects of the pandemic.  

Stuart Gray, Operations Manager for Riley & Son (E) Ltd said: “Riley & Son (E) Ltd are pleased to be able to support our customers by re-scheduling the upcoming trips previously cancelled by the pandemic. On completion of these tours, the remaining mechanical work and boiler retube will be completed, enabling us to also fulfil postponed Heritage Railway visits later in 2022.

“Rileys look forward to working with the National Railway Museum to put together an exciting and ambitious program of events to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the most famous locomotive in the world.”

Flying Scotsman will haul four trips in 2022 – the first is due to take place on Saturday 5 March and will see Flying Scotsman travel from London Paddington to Worcester and is organised by the Railway Touring Company. This was due to take place on 19 February but was postponed because of stormy weather conditions.

The following weekend, (13 March) Flying Scotsman will travel from London Paddington to Oxford, with a circular tour through the city’s suburbs towards Warwickshire organised by The Steam Dreams Rail Co. The remaining two tours are also promoted by Steam Dreams and will see Flying Scotsman travel from London Victoria to Canterbury on 17 March and from London Victoria to Salisbury on 24 March.

Flying Scotsman left Doncaster works in February 1923 and was the first locomotive of the newly formed LNER (London and North Eastern Railway). Designed by Sir Nigel Gresley and numbered 1472, the locomotive was not named ‘Flying Scotsman’ until the following year when it was picked to attend the British Empire Exhibition in London and renumbered 4472. The locomotive went on to operate in service until 1963 and later in preservation, which included tours of the USA, Canada and Australia, where it captured the hearts of millions.

Today the locomotive is owned by the National Railway Museum in York and is operated and maintained by Riley & Son (E) Ltd, based in Heywood Greater Manchester.

To find out more about Flying Scotsman’s itinerary in 2022 and the centenary plans, visit www.railwaymuseum.org.uk/flying-scotsman.

To submit your memories of Flying Scotsman for consideration in the Flying Scotsman: 100 Years, 100 Voices, exhibition and film, visit: www.railwaymuseum.org.uk/flying-scotsman/your-moments-and-memories

Photo credit: The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum, National Railway Museum

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