The Flying Scotsman is celebrating its 100th Anniversary this year and, fresh from her mechanical overhaul, it’ll be a packed programme of events.
The Railway Touring Company (RTC) are running the lion’s share of day excursions in the early part of the summer, radiating out from London’s mainline stations. Then, later in the summer they switch to operating from York, Leeds and the Aire Valley travelling over the famous Settle & Carlisle Railway. These trips offer full dining (English breakfast & 3-course dinner), OR morning & afternoon tea & refreshments OR just travel in a reserved seat.
UPDATE (02/02/2023): There are still a limited number of places on The Railway Touring Company’s Flying Scotsman Centenary Weekender tour on 30th June. However, the RTC’s ten mainline day tours with Flying Scotsman have sold out and waiting lists are now in operation. *
Flying Scotsman Programme for 2023
(Last Updated: 02/02/2023)
|1 – 25 Mar||ELR||Trips on the East Lancashire Railway||The Flying Scotsman will be based at the 12 mile East Lancashire Railway for most of March, offering trips on 11, 12, 17 – 19 March, dining trips on 11, 17 – 18 March, and a chance to see her on static display on other days.|
|1 – 16 Apr||NRM||Flying Scotsman at home||Flying Scotsman will be on display at the National Railway Museum in the newly updated Flying Scotsman Story exhibition, with the engine and tender separated to allow access onto the footplate.|
|30 Apr||RTC||The Royal Duchy – a day trip to Devon & Cornwall||Flying Scotsman will be pulling the Royal Duchy train from Bristol Temple Meads, to Yatton, Taunton, Exeter, Plymouth, Par and return. On route will be the stunning coastal route past Dawlish and Brunel’s Saltash Bridge over the River Tamar. Sold out. Waitlisted.|
|1 – 24 May||KWV||Trips on the ‘Railway Children Line’||The 4½-mile Keighley and Worth Valley Railway is well-known as the location for ‘The Railway Children’ movie. Flying Scotsman will be operating day trips, dining trips and static photo opportunities.|
|7 Jun||RTC||Cardiff Express from London||A day excursion from London Paddington through the Thames Valley and along the river Severn. Flying Scotsman will travel via Slough, Reading, Swindon, Bristol Parkway, Severn Tunnel, Maindee Junction where it will use the triangle track to turn the train. A diesel will then take the train through Newport to Cardiff and later return it to Maindee for the return journey with Flying Scotsman to Paddington. Sold out. Waitlisted.|
|10 Jun||RTC||Cheshireman from London Euston||Flying Scotsman will pull a special charter train, The Cheshireman from London Euston along the West Coast Main Line via Watford Jct, Milton Keynes, Northampton, Rugby, Nuneaton, Crewe, to Chester, and then return. Sold out. Waitlisted.|
|17 Jun||RTC||Portsmouth Flyer from London Victoria||Flying Scotsman will pull a special charter train, The Portsmouth Flyer from London Victoria to Portsmouth via Staines, Woking, Guildford, Haslemere Water, Fratton, Portsmouth and Southsea station, to Portsmouth Harbour. The return journey goes via Fareham, Southampton, Romsey, Laverstock, Andover, Basingstoke, and then retraces the outbound route through Woking & Staines to London Victoria. Sold out. Waitlisted.|
|21 Jun||RTC||Salisbury Express from London Paddington||A day excursion from London Paddington to Salisbury, travelling outbound via Slough, Reading, Newbury Racecourse & Westbury. Then returning from Salisbury via Romsey, Southampton, Basingstoke & Reading to Paddington. Sold out. Waitlisted.|
|24 Jun||RTC||Great Yarmouth Flyer from London King’s Cross||A day excursion behind Flying Scotsman along its former LNER route from King’s Cross towards the Fens and Norfolk. The route goes via Hertford North, Stevenage, Cambridge, & Norwich to Great Yarmouth. The return goes via Wensum Curve before re-joining the outbound route at Ely. Sold out. Waitlisted.|
|30 Jun – 4 Jul||RTC||Flying Scotsman Centenary Weekender||A weekend excursion on the Flying Scotsman’s old route from London Kings Cross to Edinburgh via York, and then on to Aberdeen before returning to York. Limited Spaces (02/02/2023)|
|9 Jul & 6 Aug||RTC||The Waverley on the Settle & Carlisle Railway||These are day excursions from York on the spectacular Settle & Carlisle Railway. The trips runs via Leeds, Keighley & Skipton to Carlisle and then return to York. Both sold out. Waitlisted.|
|14 – 31 Aug||BBL||Trips on the Bluebell Railway||Flying Scotsman will be on static display and offering trips along the 11 mile railway through Sussex during most of August.|
|10 Sep||RTC||The Waverley on the Settle & Carlisle Railway||Another day excursion from York on the spectacular Settle & Carlisle Railway, running via Leeds, Keighley & Skipton to Carlisle and then returning to York. Sold out. Waitlisted.|
|14 Oct||RTC||The Hadrian on the Settle & Carlisle Railway||A day trip from Derby, starting with a diesel to York (stopping also at Long Eaton, Beeston, Ilkeston, Alfreton, and Chesterfield to pick up more passengers). The Flying Scotsman joins at York to haul The Hadrian train, via Leeds, over the Settle to Carlisle Railway to Carlisle, and then down to Darlington, where she leaves the train. A diesel takes the train back via York to Derby. Sold out. Waitlisted.|
|Dec||LOC||On static display||Flying Scotsman is scheduled to be on display at the Locomotion museum in Shildon during December.|
NRM = National Railway Museum
ELR = East Lancashire Railway
RTC = The Railway Touring Company
SDR = The Steam Dreams Rail Company
KWV = Keighley and Worth Valley Railway
LOC = Locomotion Museum
A1 = A1 Steam Locomotive Trust
MNR = Mid-Norfolk Railway
BBL = Bluebell Railway Trust
SRT = Swanage Railway Trust
Also, coach tour operator, Just Go!, has created some 2/3-day breaks combining travel on the Flying Scotsman with visits to railway heritage sites. They have 2-day breaks on March 12 and 18, 2023, priced from £149. They include a steam-hauled round-trip journey on the East Lancashire Railway as the train travels to the town of Rawtenstall before arriving back in Bury. Visits to Liverpool and the Bury Transport Museum are also included. A three-day break is available on March 10, 2023, priced from £229.
Flying Scotsman – the historic locomotive
Built in 1923 for the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) at Doncaster Works, Flying Scotsman was designed by Sir Nigel Gresley as part of the A1 class – the most powerful locomotives used by the railway. She was quickly used by LNER for their long-distance express services, notably on the long-running (62 yrs) daily 10.00am London to Edinburgh ‘Flying Scotsman’ train service after which she was named.
She still holds two world records: the longest non-stop run at 441 miles (8 Aug 1989 in Australia), and the first steam locomotive officially authenticated at reaching 100 miles per hour (30 Nov 1934 in the UK).
The Flying Scotsman numbers game…
It’s easy to get confused over the identity of the ‘Flying Scotsman’, not least because she is often referred to by different engine numbers.
When she came out of the Doncaster Works on 24th Feb (my birthday too! But I’m not yet 100!) 1923, she was Engine No. 1472.
Within a year she was re-numbered No. 4472, given the name ‘Flying Scotsman’, and introduced to the public at the 1924 British Empire Exhibition.
Then, in 1948, when the independent rail companies were nationalised and merged into British Railways, ‘Flying Scotsman’ became No. 60103.
* If you have missed out on travelling with the Flying Scotsman this year, RTC are operating over 50 mainline steam journeys this year using other historic steam locomotives. Eg. The 1927-built 46115 Scots Guardsmen is due to haul trains across the Settle & Carlisle Line. At 96 years old, Scots Guardsman is only a few years behind Flying Scotsman and has its own unique history as the star of the 1936 GPO film ‘Night Mail’. The 1938-built locomotive Princess Coronation Class Pacific 46233 Duchess of Sutherland will also be put through her paces working a number of RTC’s trains, as will 34067 Tangmere, 35028 Clan Line, 35018 British India Line and Black 5 No. 44932.