Photographing the Flying Scotsman Flying through Arlesey

Brief History of Flying Scotsman (skip to My Story heading to miss this bit out)


The Nation’s Favourite Locomotive. Flying Scotsman was originally built in Doncaster for the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER), emerging from the works on 24 February 1923 and initially numbered 1472. It was designed by Sir Nigel Gresley as part of the A1 class – the most powerful locomotives used by the railway.

When the Northumberland miners were on strike in 1926 , the union told the members to stop the wheels of industry.6 members got the wrong end of the stick , and removed a train rail track hoping to derail a coal train.They got the Flying Scotsman , and derailed it doing a lot of damage. They were caught and jailed for 7 years.The Union washed their hands of them and were then hated by the miners.Interesting little story.


I added this bit just to have a go at the TORIES lol The Tour of American 

When Flying Scotsman was due to be scrapped Pegler stepped in and bought it outright, with the political support of Prime Minister Harold Wilson. He spent large amounts of money over the next few years having the locomotive restored at Doncaster 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 in LNER livery. Pegler then persuaded the British Railways Board to let him run enthusiasts’ specials; it was at the time the only steam locomotive running on mainline British Railways. It worked a number of rail tours, including a non-stop London–Edinburgh run in 1968, the year steam traction officially ended on BR. In the meantime, watering facilities for steam locomotives were disappearing, so in September 1966 Pegler purchased a second corridor tender which was 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. Following overhaul in the winter of 1968–69 Harold Wilson’s government agreed to support Pegler running the locomotive in the United States and Canada to support British exports. To comply with local railway regulations it was fitted with: a cowcatcher, bell, buckeye couplings, American-style whistle, air brakes, and high-intensity headlamp. Starting in Boston, Massachusetts, the tour ran into immediate problems, with some states increasing costs by requiring diesel-headed-haulage through them, seeing the locomotive as a fire-hazard. However, the train ran from Boston to New York,Washington and Dallas in 1969; from Texas to Wisconsin and finishing in Montreal in 1970; and from Toronto to San Francisco in 1971 — a total of 15,400 miles (24,800 km).Government financial support for the tour was withdrawn by Prime Minister Edward Heath‘s Conservative government in 1970, but Pegler decided to return for the 1970 season. By the end of that season’s tour, the money had run out and Pegler was £132,000 in debt, with the locomotive in storage at the US Army Sharpe Depot to keep it away from unpaid creditors. Pegler worked his passage home from San Francisco to England on a P&O cruise ship in 1971, giving lectures about trains and travel; he was declared bankrupt in the High Court in 1972.

Original Spec

Traction 29,385  llbf    or    13,329 kgf   or     130.7kN       i believe now  42,000 llbf

4-6-2     config

97 Tons    weight

class      3

height    13 ft

length     70ft

The change in class designation to A3 reflected the fitting to the same chassis of a higher pressure boiler with a greater superheating surface and a small reduction in cylinder diameter, leading to an increase in locomotive weight. Eventually all of the A1 locomotives were rebuilt, most to A3 specifications, but no. 4470 was completely rebuilt as Class A1/1.. Flying Scotsman.       It is the sole survivor of the class. The train was retired in 1963 after covering 2.5 million miles.

Facing an uncertain future owing to the cost of restoration and refurbishment necessary to meet the stringent engineering standards required for main line operation, salvation came in 1996 when Dr Tony Marchington, already well known in the vintage movement, 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.

With Flying Scotsman’s regular use both on the VSOE Pullman and with other events on the main line, in 2002, Marchington proposed a business plan, which included the construction of a “Flying Scotsman Village” in Edinburgh, to create revenue from associated branding. After floating on OFEX as Flying Scotsman plc in the same year, in 2003 Edinburgh City Council turned down the village plans, and in September 2003 Marchington was declared bankrupt. At the company’s AGM in October 2003, CEO Peter Butler announced losses of £474,619, and with a £1.5 million overdraft at Barclays Bank and stated that the company only had enough cash to trade until April 2004. The company’s shares were suspended from OFEX on 3 November 2003 after it had failed to declare interim results.

With the locomotive effectively placed up for sale, after a national campaign it was bought in April 2004 by the National Railway Museum inYork, and it is now part of the museum’s National Collection. After 12 months of interim running repairs, it ran for a while to raise funds for its 10-year restoration.


My Story

Pete Waterman once had a 50% share of it in 1995 when William McAlpine owned it

The smoke deflectors were fitted because when the double chimney was fitted the steam was blocking the drivers view.

The trip from Kings Cross to York was either made with a V.I.P. ticket or a £440 outlay.Michael Portillo got his V.I.P. ticket he has a Great Train Journeys series on T.V. now.

It was a beautiful sunny day so I was really up for seeing the flying Scotsman come through .It should have been Tuesday but apparently the engine needed fixing . I walked down to the station with the wife on Wednesday afternoon 14.45.Arrived about 15.00 and there were already a lot of people there.I wanted to go right to the front of Platform 1 , but the wife didn’t so you know who won. We stood about 10 yards in front of the foot bridge.This was just a train movement run. The train was on time but was travelling so fast I only got one shot off.Even this wasn’t easy because there were so many people there and they all stood right forward as it approached.It was first train to hit 100 mph on this line in 1934.

It has done tours of duty in USA but the company went bankrupt ,William McAlpine rescued it from the US. It then went to Australia and this time it did ok.(Lots of steam loving Brits out there).It was then brought back.York Steam Museum bought it in 2004 and its going to be a working exhibit, after it very long restoration (12 years).I believe yesterdays inaugural run was the most successful ever for a steam train ,there were crowds all along its line from Kings Cross to York.Videos were all over the television and 3 helicopters were following it overhead. Marvelous making you proud to be British.At one time we were World leaders in Trains.

DSCN0501 (2)

The proper train trip was coming tomorrow at 08.30 so I had a chance to redeem myself. I have also have been given a bit of advice , set the camera to video and stand on the opposite platform the train is passing , right at the back.This obviously gives you more time and distance to see it as it comes along.

There was a very sharp frost and I got there 08.15. Both sides of Arlesey station were packed like it was Kings Cross.I changed the batteries in my camera and when i switched it on it said batteries exhausted. NOT TO GOOD AT THIS MILARKY EH?

I quickly put the half empty batteries back in and now knew i had to switch camera on at the last moment.Fortunately with freezing hands I managed to get the video.I thought i could then take snapshots off the video. But of course the train was doing 75 mph and video is 30 frames a second so the shutter speed is  1/30 sec far too slow. As the train gets closer to me this becomes more apparent.Here we are anyway.


I notice John Saunders (County Councilor) my old Etonbury School juniors team mate was standing near me.

flying a1

flying a2

Flying a3

flying a4

flying a5

Flying F

A better shot taken by Eileen Chapman down the Rally. Next time I will set my Nikon to rapid fire , and see if that is any more successful.Any advice would be most welcome.

Contrived Act in my opinion

DOZENS of steam train anoraks have disrupted the inaugural run of Flying Scotsman after its decade-long, £4.2m refit by standing on the track to take photographs.I want call them steam enthusiasts because they wouldn’t have done this

Passengers said the famous locomotive came to a “shuddering stop” near St Neots, Cambridgeshire, and Virgin Trains East Coast warned that other services were being delayed by up to 15 minutes due to photographers on the track.

Videoing a steam training starting and stopping is a thousand times better sound and vision  than just taking brief shots as it flashes by at 75 mph.



this is just to show how big the double chimney is.I guy bought it off British rail for £7.00 and it was in his garden for 28 years before The Flying Scotsman restorers asked to borrow it.The Doctor owner of the train really wanted a top of the range steam train , the the 7 streamlined ones like the Mallard weren’t for sale.So when it was rebuilt it had the cylinders etc made bigger so it was much more powerful than when it was first built and more powerful than the streamlined trains.Hence why it is so damn FAST! LOL




Bury Meadow Arlesey Stripped Naked

Bury Meadow has been fenced off for development and every tree shrub or clump of  grass removed. Isn't January the wrong time of year to do this?
Some wildlife are hibernating .I understand a Flailing machine was used as well.
So the only things left living here are insects .All the wildlife  has been       EVICTED and anti-wildlife fencing put up to stop any coming back . I'm told the only protected species living there were lizards.So much  Arlesey History has       happened there.

bury Meadow11
Bury meadow1
Aerial Photos courtesy Steve Maddox the second one has the houses with the        underpinned foundations due to subsidence
Bury Meadow Fenced off

anti-animal fencing

The above photos with anti-animal fences courtesy Margaret Lambert


The clearing machine and Wheatley builders van is was all done in less than one week.


Thomson Ecological Contractors
So Bury Meadow was regularly used for Arlesey functions. The owner of The Bury    Mansion H.Goodwin allowed the Bury Common to be used for Arlesey Functions before London Brick Company bought it and they continued this tradition. Fairfield       Hospital were also former owners and used it for staff accomodation with resident stewards.
the bury1 Arlesey Football team  played there when the football team started drinking more pints in the True Briton , than in the Lamb Inn.The Lamb Inn who owned Lamb Meadow football , and cricket pitch.
bobby moore and pele
Arlesey Colts Bury Meadow

Bottom picture the owner of the Bury top left H Goodwin and his son sitting in    Arlesey strip front left also named H.Goodwin  1935

London Brick Bowling Club had an immaculate bowling green there.
LBC bowling club
London Brick Arlesey Works Bowling Club badge courtesy Richard Knight.
A recreational ground for children of the village was built next door to St Peters Hall on Bury Meadow.This probably staying in use until the new Village Hall and  playing field was built in 1972.I know this date as we were the first people to   hire the Hall for my sister Maria's wedding. The bury meadow recreational park got into a bad state of repair. I guess because there was a new one the and the      council didn't want to maintain both of them.
 A lovely thatched house for the maintenance foreman of London Brick Company was  built in 1909 on Bury Meadow.
Bedford House chase hillJean Pillar lived there.They moved to Arlesey from Surrey in 1956 when he dad was promoted to Maintenance foreman.Jean and her older sister Wendy and younger       brother Peter lived happily in it until 1968 when they had to move out due to     subsidence.Her mum and dad and siblings loved that house.Jean her mum Vera and    brother Peter only live a very short walk from the old Bedford House.Jean said    they were told Goodwins lived in the house before them.I know Goodwins lived in   Bury Mansion because I have put a photo of father and son on in the Corinthians   football photo.
London Brick did offer them Bedford House for £4000 but the price of the          under-pinning of the foundations pushed it out of their price range.Do you know   why this house fell down , CAUSE THE PILLARS MOVED OUT.

Seriously it was demolished.Imagine how much it would be worth now? Why didn't    London Brick have the foundations under-pinned then sell it.Loads of old Arlesey  house were demolished rather than be repaired CRAWLEY TERRACE for example near    NIGHTING gale terrace.I had Allen family ancestors living there.
They built those houses on the front of Bury Meadow, and guess what they subsided and the foundations had to be under-pinned. 
Bury Meadow was used for village fetes, and for a First World War March for Peace with a fete after (Band of Hope Parade), and a  church service.
church service Bedford House 1916 Service for Peace
1950 Arlesey Fete  above and below.

1950 Maypole dance
Headquarters for the Home Guard (Bury Lodge) I remember just fields being between Bury Lodge and St Peters Church until The Rally was built in the Late 1950's.I    remember because my Late uncle George Allen and family were allocated one of these concrete houses.
bury lodge
Allegedly there is a tunnel that runs underground to Arlesey Church .Is there     anywhere in Arlesey that has more history on it.Possibly a lot more that i don't  know about.The beauty contest needs to be confirmed cos it could have been at Dr Davis' fete at Chase House.
beauty contest
The Band of Hope parade 1915 marched to Bury Meadow before having a Fete.


Bedford House 1909.There was a dated plaque on it Jean Pillar told me.
Bedford house 3