Hornby to be main sponsor for 'Flying Scotsman' 2023 events

01 September 2022
Behind closed doors in a Lancashire workshop, the world’s most famous steam locomotive is being prepared for its centenary celebrations.

'Flying Scotsman' at Wembley Exhibition in 1924. NRM

Since May 2022, celebrity locomotive No. 4472 Flying Scotsman has been undergoing a thorough mechanical overhaul to ensure it is ready to lead a national programme of events in 2023. Today, the National Railway Museum (part of the Science Museum Group) in York – home to Flying Scotsman, where it is a working museum exhibit – has revealed behind-the-scenes images of the locomotive as it is worked on by a team of specialist engineers from Riley & Son (E) Ltd. It also announces, in collaboration with the Swanage Railway Trust, Flying Scotsman’s first centenary appearance this autumn, at the heritage railway at Swanage in Dorset.

Hornby, is also announced as the lead sponsor for the year-long programme of centenary events and activities. The model manufacturer has had a relationship with Flying Scotsman since 1927, when it introduced the first O gauge tinplate model carrying the name Flying Scotsman. In 1969, it introduced its Flying Scotsman model and since then there have been almost 50 versions of Flying Scotsman produced. It remains one of Hornby’s most popular model locomotives.

Amy Harbour from the National Railway Museum with Simon Kohler and Montana Hoeren from Hornby

Amy Harbour from the National Railway Museum with Simon Kohler and Montana Hoeren from Hornby.

Further details of the centenary plans will be revealed later in the year, but will involve the publication of Flying Scotsman and the Best Birthday Ever (Thames & Hudson) – a new book by one of the UK’s best-loved authors and storytellers, Michael Morpurgo, and illustrated by the internationally renowned children’s book illustrator and author Michael Foreman. 

The chance to see Flying Scotsman at several locations across the country, begins with Swanage Railway in Dorset this October and at the National Railway Museum in York and Locomotion in Shildon in 2023.

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Judith McNicol, Director of the National Railway Museum, said, “Flying Scotsman is one of the world’s most recognisable steam locomotives and still draws excited crowds wherever it goes. It is one of the jewels in the crown of our world-class collection, and we are delighted to share these iconic images from its recent overhaul as well as its first public event this autumn as we prepare for the engine’s centenary in 2023.

She continued, "Flying Scotsman and the Best Birthday Ever from Michael Morpurgo and Michael Foreman is a beautifully-written companion to the key moments of Flying Scotsman’s history and thanks to Hornby’s generous support, we will deliver an exciting programme of national events and activities throughout 2023.”

Flying Scotsman's overhaul, boiler tubes removed - Steve Morgan, Science Museum Group 4

Boiler tubes are removed during removed during 'Flying Scotsman's' overhaul. STEVE MORGAN

Simon Kohler, Marketing & Development Director at Hornby Hobbies Ltd, said, “I have been fascinated with this icon of steam since the late 1960s when, one evening, I stood on Wellingborough Station and saw the true magnificence of the locomotive. Resplendent in its LNER apple green livery, I was simply captivated by the amazing spectacle, and that memory has stayed with me ever since. Hornby’s association with Flying Scotsman goes back almost 100 years, so it seemed only fitting that we should provide our support in celebrating the centenary of such a national icon. I would like to thank the National Railway Museum for giving Hornby the opportunity to do so.”

To plan your trip to see Flying Scotsman in 2023, visit the National Railway Museum website.


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