The owners of the Doncaster-built Flying Scotsman say they hope their plans for the locomotive’s triumphant return to the London to York line will not be affected by a “minor issue” which has led to the cancellation of an appearance this weekend.
The famous engine returned to steam earlier this month after a £4.2 million, decade-long refit and the next big milestone on this journey will be its inaugural run from London King’s Cross station to Yorkshire, planned for the end of February.
Flying Scotsman had been due to make its first appearance on the UK main rail network on Saturday when it was to have pulled the Winter Cumbrian Mountain Express, for The Railway Touring Company.
This train is a round trip from Manchester to Carlisle and back, taking in the hills of east Cumbria and the Yorkshire Dales.
But “fining tuning work on the brakes” has meant Flying Scotsman pulling out of the run.
In a statement, the engine’s owner, the National Railway Museum (NRM), said: “We can confirm that Flying Scotsman will not be hauling the Winter Cumbrian Mountain Express this Saturday, 23 January, due to some fine tuning work needed on the brakes which has recently been identified as a result of the test runs on the East Lancashire Railway..
“Mainline test runs for Flying Scotsman won’t be this week, however we expect them to be soon. We understand and share the public’s disappointment; however this is the nature of the testing and commissioning process. We will keep you updated.”
Asked if this will affect plans for the inaugural run from London next month, a spokeswoman said: “We hope that our plans for a late February inaugural run will be unaffected as the mainline test runs will take place once this minor issue in resolved.”
The Railway Touring Company confirmed the change in a statement on its website.
It said: “This is due to additional work being required on the brakes. This was identified during test runs on the East Lancashire Railway. This has resulted in insufficient time to complete the necessary paperwork required for the engine to return to the main line.
“As originally advertised and due to the unavailability of The Flying Scotsman we will now be double headed throughout by two Black 5’s 44871 and 45407.
“Please accept our apologies for any disappointment the change of locomotive may cause you and be assured that the whole team at The Railway Touring Company share your disappointment.”
Two weeks ago, some railway enthusiasts were in tears when Flying Scotsman emerged into the East Lancashire Railway’s Bolton Street station after the final stages of its refit at a nearby yard.
Hundreds of people of all ages lined the Lancashire tracks and bridges to catch a glimpse of the locomotive as other trains were suspended for the day.
The Flying Scotsman was built in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, in 1923 and soon became the star locomotive of the British railway system, pulling the first train to break the 100mph barrier in 1934.
The locomotive has been refurbished after the NRM, in York, bought it for £2.3 million in 2004 before work got under way in 2006.