Documentary tells how the Flying Scotsman roared back into action and through our region

The Flying Scotsman with Robson Green
The Flying Scotsman with Robson Green
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Back in February, the legendary locomotive 60103 Flying Scotsman, came back into service following a painstaking decade-long £4.2 million overhaul.

Crowds gathered at King’s Cross for its scheduled departure at 07:40 to York and thousands lined the route - including in Peterborough and Grantham - while some of the 297 passengers paid up to £450 for a ticket to travel on this great train.

The Flying Scotsman

The Flying Scotsman

Built in 1923 in Doncaster, this LNER Class A3 Pacific steam locomotive was the first UK locomotive to reach 100mph in 1934. Throughout its 40 year life on Britain’s railways, it clocked up over two million miles before being retired from mainline duties in 1963.

Then in 2004 the engine was bought for the nation by the National Railway Museum (NRM) in York with the aim of returning the icon back to it former glory.

In tonight’s special one off documentary, Flying Scotsman with Robson Green, ITV 9pm, the actor spends a year working with the team of engineers who were commissioned to rebuild the most famous steam engine in the world.

It is February 2015 and Robson meets the works director and team leader Colin Green who shows him the Flying Scotsman and gets him to do some welding.

Robson wants to discover why they believe it is so important to rebuild what some might regard as a ‘boiling kettle on wheels’.

In search for answers, Robson goes to the Durham Coalfield near his home and discovers how steam changed the world.

Travelling to Doncaster, he meets sprightly 93 year old Peter Townend who worked in the plant where the Scotsman was built and shares his memories of conditions for workers in it.

Into May and the team are re-wheeling the Flying Scotsman with Robson helping wheel expert David Smith to put a tyre on a wheel.

Then he’s off to the North York Moors where he tells the remarkable and emotional, story of how the Flying Scotsman came into his family.

During the 1926 General Strike in Britain men from his great grandfather’s trade union, The Northumberland Miner’s Federation, derailed the train. Seven men went to jail and the Flying Scotsman’s reputation was soured.

At the North Yorkshire Moors Railway Robson meets historian Robert Gwynne who shows him a brilliant invention by the Scotsman’s original designer, Nigel Gresley, which allowed the train to drive from London to Edinburgh without stopping, a world first, and helped turn the Flying Scotsman into a global brand.

After the end of the Second World War, steam engines became scrap as Britain modernised, and so The Flying Scotsman was bound for the furnace, until, that is it was saved at the 11th hour. Green meets the woman whose father saved this fine steam engine paying £3,000 for the privilege.