Flying Scotsman will help make history on the East Coast Main Line next month, with four trains spanning four generations of ECML motive power running side-by-side, in the same direction, for the first time ever.
Taking place on April 23, the line-up will also consist of a Virgin Trains Class 43 HST, a Class 91, and the train operating company’s newest train: an Hitachi Class 800, which is due to enter service next year.
The historic trains, organised by Virgin Trains, Welcome to Yorkshire, Network Rail and the National Railway Museum, will begin their journey at Tollerton Junction, six miles north of York, before heading towards the city in a staggered formation at 20-25mph.
Rob McIntosh, Managing Director for Network Rail on the London North Eastern and East Midlands routes, said: “I am delighted that we have been able to create such a prestigious and unique event for the people of Yorkshire. The area has a very proud rail heritage and by working closely with our industry partners we’ve been able to turn what has been a logistically challenging vision – to create an iconic railway moment on the East Coast Main Line without impacting on regular passengers - into what will be a truly special occasion.”
NRM Director, Paul Kirkman, said: “The East Coast Main Line has long been famed for speed and style. In the 19th century, elegant locomotives were designed to haul trains on this route cementing its reputation as a railway racing stretch operated by thoroughbred engines. The four-train line up epitomises the evolution of the later generation of fast, elegant and stylish trains - all with a shared bloodline - that epitomise the history of the route from the 1850s to today.”
The diesel locomotive-era of ECML express passenger services will also be remembered at the event, as Flying Scotsman will be hauled into its place in the line-up by a Class 55 ‘Deltic’.
Neither passengers nor media will be permitted on the trains; specific designated viewing locations will be made available, although details are yet to be confirmed.
Network Rail is urging people hoping to witness this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to stay safe behind boundary fences and keep off the tracks and private land - trespassers will cause the trains to stop and put at risk the completion of both this event and any future plans to showcase the route and its iconic locos.