Steam makes way for diesel as Flying Scotsman service into Norwich is instead pulled by diesel locomotive
PUBLISHED: 22:43 18 October 2017 | UPDATED: 11:51 19 October 2017
Archant © 2017
Steam ended up giving way to diesel when the world famous Flying Scotsman had to bow out of a planned trip to Norwich after breaking down on an earlier journey.
The world famous locomotive had been due to arrive in Norwich at 7pm on Wednesday, but the Cathedrals Express service from Ely was instead pulled into Norwich Railway Station by British Rail Class 47 vintage diesel locomotive number 47760.
Crowds had been expected to flock to Norwich Railway Station for the Flying Scotsman’s arrival, and despite its last minute replacement dozens of people still gathered at the station.
Among the spectators who stayed to watch was Matthew Philpot, 37, from Thorpe St Andrew, who had brought his sons Jack, six, and Daniel, three.
“We came to see the Flying Scotsman because it’s such an iconic train and the boys both like steam trains in particular,” he said.
“It’s one of those things [the Flying Scotsman not being there], Jack’s sad about it, but we hope to see it on Saturday, we believe it might be coming to Norwich then.”
Also on the concourse was Charles Greaves, 64, from Norwich.
Mr Greaves said: “We came to see the Flying Scotsman come into the station because we’re very keen on steam trains.
“We were disappointed [to hear it wasn’t coming] but the staff said the carriages were still coming and so we decided to hang on and see the carriages.”
He added: “Hopefully we will see it one day even if we have to go to York museum to see it.”
Among the passengers on the train were 36-year-old Paul Hamilton, from Stowmarket, who had dressed in a kilt for the occasion, and who was with his wife Beth, 36, and their friends Lucy Cheeseman, 24, and Tom Petley, 25, from Cambridge.
“It’s not that often you get a chance to go on the Flying Scotsman and for my whole life I always heard things about it,” Mr Hamilton said.
“It’s a shame it didn’t turn up but we made the most of it...the food and drink were really good. We were in the Pullman carriage and it was all really, really nice.”
The last minute change to the Flying Scotman’s schedule happened after earlier in the day at Peterbrough the locomotive developed a fault with its hot axel box on the right hand driving wheel, meaning it could no longer continue its journey.
A statement from The Steam Dreams Rail Co., which runs the service, said: “Steam locomotives need 24 hours preparation so a failure like this during the day leaves us no choice but to run with diesel as the extent of the hotbox cannot be assessed until the locomotive has returned to a depot.”
The company apologised for the disappointment caused to both passengers and onlookers.
It is still to be confirmed if the locomotive will be fixed in time for Saturday, when it is scheduled to travel between Norwich and Ipswich and then Norwich and London, but organisers have said an alternative steam locomotive is being organised in case it is needed.
In May last year the Flying Scotsman was also due to run a special excursion train between Ely and Norwich. However, the trip was called off amid fears of a repeat of scenes from February last year, when about 60 people endangered their lives by getting close to the tracks as the engine steamed through St Neots, in Cambridgeshire.
The Flying Scotsman was built in 1923 for the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) at Doncaster Works.
It set two world records for steam traction, becoming the first steam locomotive to be officially authenticated at reaching 100 miles per hour (160.9 km/h) on November 30, 1934.
If the the Flying Scotsman runs on Saturday, it is expected to Norwich Railway Station at approximately 8am and steam down the Great Eastern Main Line to the new Bacon Factory curve where the train takes passengers through Westerfield, before completing a return trip.
In the afternoon, The Flying Scotsman would then depart Norwich at 2pm and travel to London.
For more details about the Cathedrals Express services, call 01483 209888 or visit www.steamdreams.co.uk