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Pic of the week: Glorious Scotsman back on track

Published 27/02/2016

Picture of the week
Picture of the week

Faster than fairies, faster than witches,

Bridges and houses, hedges and ditches,

And charging along like troops in a battle

All through the meadows, the horses and cattle.

From a Railway Carriage by Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)

One of the world's most iconic locomotives made its first journey this week after a decade-long, multi-million pound refit.

The Flying Scotsman - once again resplendent in its traditional green livery - was spotted making a final test run near Kirkham Abbey on the York-Scarborough line on Tuesday by Press Association photographer John Giles.

The legendary engine, designed by Sir Nigel Gresley, first emerged from Doncaster Railways Works on February 24, 1923.

It attained near-mythic status 10 years later, when it was clocked travelling at 100mph, becoming officially the first locomotive to reach that speed.

During the Second World War, the engine was repainted black to evade Luftwaffe bombers as it hauled vital wartime munitions across the rail network.

It was finally retired from service in 1963 after travelling 2.5 million miles.

By 1995, the golden days of steam were but a memory and the Flying Scotsman was part-owned by record producer Pete Waterman.

Then, in 2004, the National Railway Museum in York bought the engine for the nation using a £1.8m grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, £415,000 in public donations and a £365,000 gift from Sir Richard Branson.

Restoration work to return the locomotive to Gresley's original specification took from 2006 to 2016 and cost £4.2m.

Among the passengers on Thursday's inaugural public journey, from London's King's Cross to York, was Ron Kennedy (83), from Leigh-on-Sea in Essex, who drove the Flying Scotsman from 1956 until its retirement.

He said: "It's unbelievable - I never dreamt about being on it again.

"To be out with it is just fantastic."

Belfast Telegraph

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