Scotsman Somerset visit a soaraway success

By Cedric Johns and Robin Jones

FLYING Scotsman’s eagerly-anticipated visit to the West Somerset Railway has been described as one of the most successful events in the heritage line’s history.

No less than 10,700 tickets were sold for the Bishops Lydeard-Minehead-Bishops Lydeard trains running twice each day from Tuesday through to the following Tuesday, September 5-12, Friday excepted.

LNER A3 Pacific No. 60103 Flying Scotsman passes Kentsford Farm Crossing near Watchet on September 6. LEE ROBBINS

The 4-6-2 was even rostered to work ‘Fish & Chip Specials’. Booked to head three ‘salt and vinegar trains’ from Bishops Lydeard to Blue Anchor on the evenings of Friday, Saturday and Sunday, September 8, 9 and 10, Scotsman’s magnetic appeal resulted in a complete sell-out.

Departing York on Thursday, August 24, Scotsman reached Didcot Railway Centre via Southall having travelled along the East Coast Main Line to Camden Central Road Junction, Gospel Oak and Acton Main for Southall.

No. 60103 then appeared at the Great Western Society’s August Bank Holiday event (see pages 76-77) along with A4 No. 60009 Union of South Africa, before setting off for Bishops Lydeard on the Wednesday.

Routed via Swindon, Bristol and Taunton, the engine arrived at Bishops Lydeard three minutes early.

Scotsman arrived on Wednesday, August 30 and, having been declared ‘gauged’, was given a test run over West Somerset metals to satisfy the civil engineer’s loading criteria.

A private firm of security was booked for crowd control at each station.

Read more in Issue 233 of HR – on sale now!

Enjoy more Heritage Railway reading in the four-weekly magazine. Click here to subscribe.