After more than 10 years away from the mainline, the world’s most famous locomotive, Flying Scotsman, which returned to action earlier this year, visited Hampshire twice this summer, hauling The Cathedrals Express. On Saturday 21 and Saturday 28 May, locals lucky enough to have tickets for these sold out trips joined the train at Salisbury and enjoyed a wonderful ‘Cream Tea’ tour of the Hampshire countryside and coast, behind this famous locomotive.
Departing from Salisbury after lunchtime for both trips, passengers stepped aboard The Cathedrals Express, sat back and relaxed in its elegantly restored 1950’s and 60’s carriages and taking in the beautiful rolling countryside as Flying Scotsman whisked them towards the South Coast. Here they were treated to a glimpse of Southampton Docks and The Solent, before the train turned inland. Flying Scotsman then headed north, following the picturesque River Itchen to Eastleigh and homeward bound, arriving back in Salisbury early evening.
It passed through Redbridge, Milbrook, Southampton Central, Swaythling, Eastleigh, Chandlers Ford and Romsey stations.
Marcus Robertson, Chairman of Steam Dreams said: “We are absolutely thrilled to be bringing Flying Scotsman to Hampshire and giving locals the chance to be a part of this historic occasion for mainline steam as it welcomes back its greatest celebrity.”
60103 Flying Scotsman has been described as the most famous steam locomotive in the world.
Built in 1923 for the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) at Doncaster Works to a design of H.N. Gresley, it was employed on long-distance express trains on the LNER and its successors, British Railways Eastern and North-Eastern Regions, notably on the London to Edinburgh Flying Scotsman train service after which it was named.
The locomotive set two world records for steam traction, becoming the first steam locomotive to be officially authenticated at reaching 100 miles per hour (160.9 km/h) on 30 November 1934, and then setting a record for the longest non-stop run by a steam locomotive when it ran 422 miles (679 km) on 8 August 1989 while in Australia.
Retired from regular service in 1963 after covering 2,076,000 miles (3,341,000 km), Flying Scotsman gained considerable fame in preservation under the ownership of Alan Pegler, William McAlpine, Tony Marchington and finally the National Railway Museum (NRM). As well as hauling enthusiast specials in the United Kingdom, the locomotive toured extensively in the United States and Canada (from 1969 to 1973) and Australia (from 1988 to 1989).
The train headed back to London in the early evening via Andover, Whitchurch, Overton and Basingstoke.