The Flying Scotsman is one of the world’s most famous locomotives. The green Victorian steam train has many achievements under its belt, and is still loved by many fans to this day.
Before the famous train came to life, the name Flying Scotsman was actually the name of the first ever line between London (Kings Cross) and Edinburgh (Waverley). After it opened in 1862, the line brought a massive revolution in train travel, cutting the mammoth cross country journey time down to just 10½ hours.
In 1924, Sir Nigel Gresley designed the steam train that was to become the Flying Scotsman as we know it today. Built by the London North East Railway in Doncaster, it traveled the London – Edinburgh route. With a distinctive rich, bottle green colour, it is recognized not only for its looks but also for the scores of records it managed to achieve.
The vehicle was designed to incorporate a corridor leading from the cab to the train. This allowed the drivers and firemen to swap mid-journey, meaning that the train did not have to stop for long periods of time whilst the workers swapped over. This innovation shaved considerable time off the journey, bringing the total journey time down to just 8 hours for its 392 miles.
Not long after this breakthrough, the Flying Scotsman managed to become the first train to travel at speeds of over 100 mph. This was achieved on a light test run, when no passengers were aboard, and was completed in 1934. But the Flying Scotsman didn’t stop there. It soon lit up the screens as the first ever full length British feature film with sound, and the film (perhaps unsurprisingly!) was called ‘Flying Scotsman’.
In 1989, the persistent train traveled 442 miles without stopping from Parkes to Broken Hill, Australia. This was the furthest a steam locomotive had ever been recorded to travel in one non-stop journey, and over the course of its working life the Flying Scotsman traveled an astonishing 2,000,000 miles.
Today, the popular train’s journey continues on. She is currently being lovingly restored to her former glory by experts, and is due to resume her work on Britain’s rail lines in 2011.