Flying Scotsman Hits The Rails Once More

January 8, 2016

Britain’s most iconic steam engine roared back to life Friday, after more than a decade of renovation work.

The Flying Scotsman — the first train to reach 100 miles per hour, back in 1934 — was pulled out of service in 1963. Now it’s coming back, Reuters reports:

“The venerable engine, which has toured both the United States and Australia since it was retired from service, made a series of short test runs on Friday, ahead of a programme of heritage journeys this year on Britain’s main lines.

“It emerged dramatically from huge clouds of steam at Bury station in northern England to the delight of dozens of rail enthusiasts who had gathered to mark the occasion.

“Restoration work for the National Railway Museum that has cost some 4 million pounds [$6 million] has now almost finished, although the engine will not be repainted in its traditional green livery until next month.”

The train was built in 1923. In addition to setting the 100 mph record, the train completed the first nonstop service from London to Edinburgh in 1928. After it was retired from service, while on tour in Australia in the late ’80s, it recorded the longest nonstop run by a steam engine — 422 miles, Reuters says.

It was featured in the 1929 film The Flying Scotsman, the BBC notes, and made an appearance in The Railway Series — the line of children’s books featuring, most famously, Thomas the Tank Engine.

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