PRESERVATION AND OWNERSHIP
In January 1963, Alan Pegler bought Flying Scotsman. As part of the deal, Pegler negotiated a complete overhaul of the locomotive. It was converted back to single chimney condition and repainted to London & North Eastern Railway livery. The tender was exchanged for a corridor type, and an agreement made that enabled it to run on the main line. In a blaze of publicity, Scotsman ran its last train for British Rail on 14 January 1963.
In May 1968, on the 40th anniversary of the first non-stop run, Flying Scotsman travelled non-stop from London Kings Cross to Edinburgh.
In 1969, Flying Scotsman headed for America. The first year tour broke even, but the second lost money. To try to balance the books, Pegler arranged for the train to travel to San Francisco. Trading was good but sponsorship didn’t materialise. Alan Pegler was forced into bankruptcy and for now, at least, Scotsman was stranded in the USA. However, in 1973 Flying Scotsman was brought back to the UK after William McAlpine heard about the situation in the USA and promptly put together a rescue plan.
Following a successful tour of Australia, Scotsman ran special trains around Britain. In 1993 it received an interim overhaul, and pop impresario Pete Waterman bought a 50% stake in it. In February 1996 businessman Tony Marchington bought Scotsman outright for £1.25 million.
SAVED FOR THE NATION
In 2004, Flying Scotsman hit the headlines again with yet another crisis over its ownership. A campaign spearheaded by the National Railway Museum to save the locomotive for the nation amassed the support of thousands, confirming its status as a national treasure. From 2006, Flying Scotsman underwent an extensive restoration in the workshop of Riley & Son (E) Ltd. In 2016 the painstaking £4.2m project to bring the legend back to life, resplendent in its British Rail green livery in its guise as 60103, was completed.
As the restoration process came to an end, all eyes were – once again – trained on the world’s most famous locomotive. The next chapter in the Flying Scotsman story was its triumphant return as a working museum exhibit, conquering yet another record as the oldest mainline working locomotive on Britain’s tracks. Undoubtedly one of the jewels in the crown of the museum’s world-class collection, it is now presented to a new generation of Scotsman fans captivating the public for generations to come.
The appeal to keep the steam icon in Britain was supported by a £1.8 million grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the generosity of the public. The restoration has also been undertaken with the help of a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £275,000.