Flying Scotsman’s East Anglian visit steams on despite overnight fears
- Credit: Archant
The most famous steam engine in the world delighted thousands of fans when it visited East Anglia on Saturday – but the Flying Scotsman almost didn’t make the trip again!
A team of engineers worked until midnight on Friday night to repair a damaged injector on the engine to ensure the trips from Norwich to Ipswich and then from Norwich to London via Ely and Cambridge could go ahead.
Marcus Robertson, chairman of Steam Dreams which organised the tour, said: “People didn’t know just how close we were to having to fail the engine again. It was a failure on Friday night, but the team from Ian Riley engineering (who care for Flying Scotsman on behalf of the National Railway Museum) did a heroic job and tracked down someone with the right equipment to do the repairs in Norfolk.”
Last month’s visit was postponed after a fault on an axle which was repaired by Riley engineers at the Nene Valley Railway in Peterborough.
The trip to Ipswich went off faultlessly. A total of 459 passengers made the breakfast-time trip from Norwich which travelled to Westerfield after reversing just outside Ipswich station – and then returned to Norwich using the new “Bacon cord” which is rarely used by passenger trains.
Thousands of people watched the train’s progress through Norfolk and Suffolk – but Mr Robertson said the organisers were very pleased to see almost everyone remained safe and there was no disruption from trespassers.
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British Transport Police were at most level crossings but steam fans looking for a photograph stayed safe in public parks or fields.
Mr Robertson said the Flying Scotsman’s trips were aimed at people who were not necessarily die-hard steam fans.
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He said: “Most of the people on these trips, and we are carrying about 1,000 people today, are not the kind who want to spend all day on the train. They want a really good experience for three or four hours and that is what we are giving them.
“I’m sure most of those here today will never have been on a main line steam excursion before, but they will have heard of Flying Scotsman and want to take the opportunity of riding behind it.”
The locomotive was built in 1923 for the London and North Eastern Railway. It was retired by BR in 1963 but bought privately. It went through a number of owners before being bought by the National Railway Museum in 2004.