Flying Scotsman Announcement

16 Mar 2012

The National Railway Museum has today announced that locomotive 46115 Scots Guardsman, will be replacing 4472 Flying Scotsman as the locomotive to pull the Olympic Flame from York to Thirsk on 20 June 2012. Scots Guardsman is one of only two remaining LMS Royal Scot Class locomotives and featured in the 1936 film, Night Mail.

Flying Scotsman's unavailability is due to further essential remedial work required that has been identified in the past week and which involves the manufacture of new parts. Whilst technically unchallenging, the work will be time consuming to undertake and means that the locomotive will unfortunately be unable to take part in the Olympic Torch Relay.

The task of repairing any historic vehicle as old as Flying Scotsman is always difficult, with many similar projects having been fraught with difficulties and the six year restoration of the iconic locomotive has been affected by problems that have resulted in increasing project timescales and costs.

During the restoration, the locomotive has been completely disassembled, every component inspected and the engine entirely rebuilt. Old parts have been repaired and new parts have been made – all of them individually because parts for old locomotives are not of a standard size. It’s this level of detail that makes the process so long winded, but this also ensures that Flying Scotsman will be fit to operate for many years to come. Delivering a restoration of this quality, rather than compromising by providing quick fix solutions, has led to the difficult decision to accept further delays.

Although many of these setbacks could not have been foreseen and are part of the nature of a project of this kind, the Director of the National Railway Museum has launched an internal investigation that is currently underway to examine all engineering aspects of the project and to identify any lessons that can be learnt for future projects.

Steve Davies, Director of the National Railway Museum, said:

"Whilst we share the public’s huge disappointment that Flying Scotsman is unable to carry the Olympic Flame, Scots Guardsman is a suitably prestigious locomotive and we are certain it will rise to the occasion of these Olympic duties.
"Flying Scotsman is almost 90 years old and is the sole survivor of its class. Its restoration is one of the most complex engineering projects of its kind ever undertaken in Britain and there have been a number of points like this where unforeseen issues have arisen that have caused delays and we share the public’s frustration that the locomotive is not yet in steam.
"A project of this complexity was always going to take many years to complete to ensure a high quality locomotive that is fit to run for many more years. We are absolutely committed to seeing Flying Scotsman back in steam and I look forward to being able to announce some good news about its return once the restoration is finally complete."

For more information, please contact:
Gemma Sneyd, Senior Press Officer, National Railway Museum
01904 686271 /

Emma Rodgers, Press Officer, National Railway Museum
01904 686281 /

Notes to editors:
• Scots Guardsman was built in 1927 and is owned by West Coast Railways. It is one of only two remaining of the original 70 LMS Royal Scot Class locomotives built, all of which were named after regiments in the British army. It is named after the Scots Guard. West Coast Railways purchased the locomotive in 2008 and restored it to mainline running standard.

• The National Railway Museum in York has the largest collection of railway objects in the world and attracts over 700,000 visitors per year.

• The National Railway Museum's collection includes over 300 locomotives and rolling stock, 628 coins and medals, 4899 pieces of railway uniform and costume, railway equipment, documents, records, artwork and railway related photographs.

• The National Railway Museum houses a world class collection of Royal trains, which includes a collection of Royal carriages, from those used by Queen Victoria to Queen Elizabeth II.

• The National Railway Museum's vast art collection comprises of 11,270 posters, 2,358 prints and drawings, 1052 paintings, and 1,750,000 photographs, many of which have never been on public display.

• The National Railway Museum forms part of the National Museum of Science and Industry (NMSI), along with the Science Museum in London, the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) in Manchester, the National Media Museum in Bradford and Locomotion – the National Railway Museum in Shildon.

• Admission to the National Railway Museum is free.

• For more information visit

• Follow us at

• Join us at

Background: L&SWR Adams 563