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The 'Flying Scotsman' passing Chesterfield's 'crooked spire', on its return from America
Ian N Hill
Hill, Ian N
Main railway line
About this image
No.4472 'Flying Scotsman' is one the most famous steam locomotive in the world. It was built as a Class A1 4-6-2 'Pacific' by the then newly formed London & North Eastern Railway in 1923 to the design of Sir Nigel Gresley, the LNER's Chief Mechanical & Electrical Engineer. It was chosen by the LNER to represent the latest in steam locomotive design at the British Empire Exhibitions at Wembley in 1924 and again in 1925. In 1928, 4472 was fitted with a unique corridor tender to enable it to haul the first non-stop train from King's Cross to Edinburgh on 1st May. This was the longest non-stop run in the world. In 1934 'Flying Scotsman' was the first steam locomotive to achieve the authenticated speed of 100mph (although the GWR's 'City of Truro' locomotive is said to have reached this speed at an earlier date). It was rebuilt in 1947 as a Class A3 with a higher pressure boiler and in 1959 with a Kylchap double exhaust arrangement and chimney to improve the steaming capability of the boiler with inferior coal. Under the LNER's 1946 renumbering scheme it had become No.103 and then on Nationalization in 1948 British Railways 60103.It is now a national icon representing all that is best in British engineering. The 'Flying Scotsman' lasted in BR service until January 1963, at which point it was saved from the cutters torch by businessman Alan Pegler. Between 1969 and 1972 the Flying Scotsman toured the United States of America but after financial difficulties were encountered it was repatriated from San Fransisco by Sir William McAlpine in 1973. It then returned to main line operation and following a succession of different owners, in 2004 was acquired by the National Railway Museum.