Milestone passed in Flying Scotsman restoration

20 Jan 2014

The National Railway Museum has today announced that restoration work to return iconic locomotive Flying Scotsman to steam will continue, after a milestone moment in the project has been safely passed.

In October last year the York-based museum announced that the remaining works on the Gresley–designed steam giant, including the alignment of the middle steam cylinder, would take place at Riley & Son (E) Ltd, Bury. However a note of caution was that there was still an unknown element that could make this complex project hit the buffers – a small section of the main side frames that could not be examined until the steam cylinders were removed.

The condition of this final piece of the iconic locomotive is now known after the cylinders were removed from the frames of the steam legend and all areas received a detailed examination by specialist engineers. Extensive non-destructive testing confirmed that there were no significant problems with the frames, but revealed some limited issues with the condition of the cylinders.

Full steam ahead

The final assessment of the viability of the restoration has now been made by the Museum and its Trustees and a resounding go-ahead given. It is hoped that the 1920s locomotive, the sole survivor of the A3 class, will be fit to operate within the stringent requirements of today’s modern railway network by Summer 2015.

Ian Riley, Director of Riley & Son (E) Ltd, explained:

"The frame condition has been found to be acceptable, and while the cylinders still need a lot of attention these are relatively straightforward problems which can be readily fixed by our specialist engineers. We are delighted that the restoration is going to plan and we will continue to work together with the museum to see the restoration through to completion and its first two years of operation."

Riley & Son (E) Ltd, Bury were appointed to complete the work in Autumn 2013 as an outcome of their successful tender bid to take on the high-profile work to bring a national steam icon back to the mainline.

Engineering specialists First Class Partnerships are continuing to provide specialist engineering and project management advice to the museum with regards to this complex project.

Paul Kirkman, Director of the National Railway Museum, commented:

"We are now progressing full steam ahead towards completing the restoration. We are showcasing British engineering genius, with our Mallard 75 Great Goodbye celebration at Locomotion; the National Railway Museum at Shildon next month so it's great that we can announce good news regarding another Gresley-designed icon."

The remaining works that will be undertaken at Bury include the alignment of the middle steam cylinder. All three steam cylinders are also currently oversize and need to be fitted with new liners and rebored to an appropriate diameter.

Once the return to mainline operation is complete, a commercial partnership agreement has been reached, under which Riley & Son (E) Ltd will manage the operation of the locomotive for a period of two years. This will include a programme of ongoing maintenance and helping to resolve any issues that may arise.

For more information about Flying Scotsman please visit

Background: L&SWR Adams 563