Bury secures the exclusive unveiling of The Flying Scotsman
- Credit: Archant
The world’s most famous steam locomotive is expected to attract up to 8,000 visitors when it is unveiled after a decade-long restoration project, which has just been completed in Lancashire.
Flying Scotsman, the first train to clock 100mph, will be seen thundering along the tracks for the first time in years during a four-day visit to the Bury-based East Lancashire Railway.
The 1920s locomotive will be running between Bury and Rawtenstall on the weekends of January 9-10 and January 16-17 in what is a major coup for the county.
When the news was first revealed, the scramble for tickets was so intense the railway’s booking system crashed. At the time of going to press, there were still a few unsold.
‘We were over the moon when we heard it was coming here,’ said Kate Walker, the railway’s marketing manager. ‘Mostof our staff are volunteers and they were inundated by people wanting to buy tickets. But everyone who wanted a ticket got one in the end.
‘This is a massive event, not just for the railway but the town, too. There was a poll carried out recently to decide on the world’s most famous engine and Flying Scotsman topped it. The level of interest has been amazing.’
The engine does have a big international following and once famously toured the USA. Visitors at Bury will see it in its wartime black livery but this will be changed to the more recognisable green for its launch in London later this year.
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The last two years of the £4.2 million restoration programme has been based at steam and diesel engineering specialists, Riley & Son (E) Ltd – another feather in Bury’s cap.
Fans have the chance to experience a range of trips from travelling the 12 mile line being hauled by the iconic engine to an evening of luxury on-board dining. There are also photographic courses being held with Flying Scotsman the star of the show.
Andy Morris, general manager at the East Lancashire Railway said: ‘Flying Scotsman resonates with many and it is hoped that its accolade as one of the greatest transport achievements of all time, combined with nostalgic appeal and celebrity, will encourage audiences from the north-west and beyond to sample this slice of history.’
The restoration means that this remarkable piece of transport history will be steaming into the 21st century taking enthusiasts on rail tours across the UK. w
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