The fruition of years of hard work was shown off when the world’s most famous locomotive Flying Scotsman steamed down the East Lancashire Railway tracks.
And once Flying Scotsman has built up its mileage on heritage and main lines with this month’s Lancashire test runs, it will be painted in its BR Green livery ready for its welcome home event in late February.
Before that, Scotsman fans are able to ride or dine behind the loco as it does its test runs as part of the commissioning process post-restoration.
The flagship Flying Scotsman service is known for on-board innovations like the cinema car, cocktail bar and hairdressing salons.
Mike Kelly, chairman of the East Lancashire Railway, said he was “honoured” to be the first to host the steam locomotive in its return year.
Duty station master Keith Howarth at Bolton Street in Bury, speaking after Flying Scotsman rolled in, said: “It is unbelievable, they have been working on it for so long and all of a sudden the magic day has arrived. It feels tremendous, I’m bursting. Now it’s out in steam, on the rails, carriages behind it, marvellous. It has been unexplainable, overwhelming. This is a moment in history again, history repeats itself.”
Co-director Colin Green said: “These are the first stages of bringing it back to the mainline and despite being self-confessed men of iron we’re really quite emotional to see it move under its own steam at last after years of hard work.”
National Railway Museum director Paul Kirkman added: “We have all been looking forward to the day when Flying Scotsman is once again running on Britain’s tracks. We hope the public will join us to welcome Flying Scotsman home in late February.”