'Flying Scotsman' steam engine roars down rails once more
Josh Dehaas, CTV News
Published Friday, January 8, 2016 10:00PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, January 9, 2016 12:17AM EST
The Flying Scotsman is back on the rails in the U.K., more than a decade after the famous 1923-built locomotive was saved from the scrap heap.
The Scotsman wowed the world when it was unveiled at the British Empire Exhibition in 1924, and again a decade later in 1934, when it hit a record speed of 100 miles per hour (160 km/h).
Now, the National Railway Museum is hoping to impress a new generation with a series of tours in February. Friday marked a test run.
After the 1924 national exhibition ended, the Scotsman served to the busy London to Edinburgh route, which it could cover in just eight hours.
It was initially a glamourous trip, with a hair salon, restaurants and cocktail bar onboard.
But by 1963, the steam era was ending. British Railways sold the engine to a businessman, who restored it and shipped it to North America for a money-losing tour of the U.S. and Canada.
After another failed venture in Australia in the 1980s, the Flying Scotsman was shipped back to England and nearly scrapped.
However, the National Heritage Memorial Fund and donors, including Sir Richard Branson, purchased it in 2004 and donated it to the museum.
Train enthusiasts on hand Friday were thrilled to see it back in action.
“The smell of coal, oil and steam,” remarked one woman as it rolled past. “If you could bottle that in a perfume, I’d wear it.”
With a report from CTV’s Paul Workman in London