On 30 November 1934, 4472 Flying Scotsman became the first steam locomotive to be officially recorded at 100 mph (160.9 km/h) and earned a place in the land speed record for railed vehicles. The LNER Class A3 Pacific steam locomotive No. 4472 Flying Scotsman (originally No. 1472) was built in 1923 for the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) at Doncaster Works to a design of H.N. Gresley. It was employed on long-distance express trains on the LNER and its successors, British Railways Eastern and North-Eastern Regions, notably on the 10am London to Edinburgh Flying Scotsman service after which it was named. In its career 4472 Flying Scotsman has covered more than 2,000,000 miles (3,200,000 km).The locomotive was completed in 1923, construction having been started under the auspices of the Great Northern Railway (GNR). It was built as an A1, initially carrying the GNR number 1472, because the LNER had not yet decided on a system-wide numbering scheme.
Flying Scotsman was something of a flagship locomotive for the LNER. It represented the company at the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley in 1924 and 1925. Before this event, in February 1924 it acquired its name and the new number of 4472. This locomotive was one of five Gresley Pacifics selected to haul the prestigious non-stop Flying Scotsman train service from London to Edinburgh, hauling the inaugural train on 1 May 1928. For this the locomotives ran with a new version of the large eight-wheel tender which held 9 tons of coal. This and the usual facility for water replenishment from the water trough system enabled them to travel the 392 miles (631 km) from London to Edinburgh in eight hours non-stop. The tender included a corridor connection and tunnel through the water tank giving access to the locomotive cab from the train to permit replacement of the driver and fireman without stopping the train. The following year the locomotive appeared in the film The Flying Scotsman.
Flying Scotsman emerged from Doncaster works on 4 January 1947 as an A3, having received a boiler with the long “banjo” dome of the type it carries today. By this time it had been renumbered twice: under Edward Thompson’s comprehensive renumbering scheme for the LNER, it became no. 502 in January 1946; but in May the same year, under an amendment to that plan, it become no. 103. Following nationalisation of the railways on 1 January 1948, almost all of the LNER locomotive numbers were increased by 60000, and no. 103 duly became 60103. under BR ownership, it was allocated to Leicester Central shed on the Great Central, running Nottingham Victoria to London Marylebone services via Leicester Central.
All A3 Pacifics were subsequently fitted with a double Kylchap chimney to improve performance and economy. German-type smoke deflectors were also fitted from 1960, which somewhat changed the locomotives’ appearance.Number 60103 ended service with British Railways in January 1963 and was sold for preservation to Alan Pegler, who had it restored at Darlington Works as closely as possible to its LNER condition: the smoke deflectors were removed, the double chimney was replaced by a single chimney, and the tender was replaced by one of the corridor type with which the locomotive had run between 1928 and 1936. It was also repainted into LNER livery, although the cylinder sides were painted green, whereas in LNER days they were always black. It then worked a number of rail tours, including a non-stop London–Edinburgh run in 1968 – the year steam traction officially ended on BR. In 1966 Pegler purchased a second corridor tender, and adapted as an auxiliary water tank; retaining its through gangway, this was coupled behind the normal tender.
Pegler had a contract permitting him to run his locomotive on BR until 1972, but following overhaul in the winter of 1968–69 it went on a promotional tour to the USA, for which it was fitted with cowcatcher, bell, buckeye couplings, American-style whistle, air brakes and high-intensity headlamp. The trip was initially a success, but when Pegler’s backers withdrew their support he began to lose money and was finally bankrupted in 1972. Fears then arose for the engine’s future, the speculation being that it could take up permanent residence in America or even be cut up. William McAlpine stepped in and bought the locomotive for £25,000 direct from the finance company in San Francisco docks. After its return to the UK via the Panama Canal in February 1973, McAlpine paid for the locomotive’s restoration at Derby Works. Trial runs took place on the Paignton and Dartmouth Steam Railway in summer 1973, after which it was transferred to Steamtown (Carnforth), from where it steamed on various tours. In October 1988 the locomotive arrived in Australia to take part in that country’s bicentenary celebrations and during the course of the next year it travelled more than 45,000 kilometres (28,000 mi) over Australian rails, including a transcontinental run from Sydney to Perth. It was a central attraction in the Aus Steam ’88 festival, double-heading with NSWGR locomotive 3801, and running alongside Victorian Railways R class locomotives along the 300 km (190 m)-long parallel Victorian broad gauge|broad and standard gauge tracks of the North East railway line, Victoria. The Flying Scotsman stayed in Victoria for two months before heading back to New South Wales. On 8 August 1989 Flying Scotsman set another record, travelling 442 miles (711 km) from Parkes to Broken Hill non-stop, the longest such run by a steam locomotive ever recorded. A plaque on the engine records the event.
Returned to the UK, to Southall Railway Centre in West London, owned by a consortium that included McAlpine as well as Pete Waterman. in 1996 Dr Tony Marchington, bought the locomotive, and had it restored over three years to running condition at a cost of £1 million, a restoration which is still recognised as the most extensive in the locomotive’s history. Marchington’s time with the Flying Scotsman was documented in on documentary, the Channel 4 programme A Steamy Affair: The Story of Flying Scotsman. It ran for a while on the mainline to raise funds for its forthcoming 10-year major boiler recertification. Then In April 2004 The Flying Scotsman was purchased by the National Railway Museum in York, and it is now part of the National Collection. After 12 months of interim running repairs, and In January 2006, Flying Scotsman entered the Museum’s workshops for a major overhaul to return it to Gresley’s original specification and in order to renew its boiler certificate; originally planned to be completed by mid 2010 , but late discovery of additional problems meant it would not be completed on time. Completion of the restoration was expected in late 2013.