To mark both the 170th anniversary of King’s Cross station and the coming 100th anniversary of the Flying Scotsman, the world-famous steam train* is at King’s Cross station all weekend.

The Flying Scotsman was built in 1923 as the first locomotive for the newly formed LNER (London and North Eastern Railway). Originally simply locomotive 1472, it gained its name in 1924 when it was selected to appear at the British Empire Exhibition in London and named after the daily 10am London to Edinburgh rail service.

The locomotive retired from regular service in 1963 after covering more than 2 million miles, and passed through a number of private owners until it was bought by the National Railway Museum in 2004 for £2.3 million after a major fundraising campaign to save it for the nation.

The locomotive returned to the mainline railway in 2016 following a decade-long restoration project and is now a regular provider of heritage train trips for passengers, and delight for people who watch it race past on the railway.

Next year marks the steam engine’s centenary, and a number of events are being planned across the country.

The first, this weekend, is for the locomotive to be at King’s Cross station.

The Flying Scotsman will sit in light steam on Platform 8 on Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th October to allow members of the public the opportunity to admire the locomotive. Platform tickets to get up close to the locomotive have all sold out, but you can see the steam engine from the end of the platform, or from the neighbouring platforms if you happen to be catching a train while platform 9 is empty.

As usual with railway photography – no flash or tripods, and be mindful that other people also want a photo, so take yours and be nice by moving swiftly to one side.

On the main station concourse, and open to everyone, there’s a train driving simulator from Dovetail Games, where people could experience driving Flying Scotsman out of the station, and screens to watch live footage of Flying Scotsman from the concourse. There’s also a souvenir stall selling Flying Scotsman goodies from steam whistles to scale models.

As part of the centenary celebrations, the author Michael Morpurgo has written a book, Flying Scotsman and the Best Birthday Ever, that tells the story of a little girl called Iris who dreams of being a train driver when she grows up. The book has been illustrated by illustrator and author Michael Foreman.

Michael Morpurgo reading to a couple of pupils from Argyle Primary School who were invited to see the steam loco.

This weekend’s event coincides with the 170th anniversary of London’s King’s Cross Station, which first opened its doors to rail passengers on 14th October 1852.

Sir Peter Hendy, Chair of Network Rail, Trustee of the Science Museum Group and Chair of the National Railway Museum Advisory Board said that “King’s Cross and Flying Scotsman have a glorious history, and it’s important we look back and celebrate that, but we’re also reaching out to the next generation, both to travel by train and to get inspired by engineering and technology.”

This weekend, travellers catching trains at King’s Cross will be delighted by the sight of a way of travelling from a century ago, and the occasional blasts from the engine letting off steam.

*yes, I know it’s a locomotive, but most people call it a steam train, and railway terminology can be offputting to the general public who might spot this article and then they might not pop along to take a look. Which would be a shame.

This article was published on ianVisits


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The post The Flying Scotsman steam train is at King’s Cross station this weekend appeared first on ianVisits.