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Flying Scotsman’s trip from Ely to Norwich cancelled because of fears spectators will get too close to tracks

PUBLISHED: 07:46 11 April 2016 | UPDATED: 09:59 11 April 2016

The Flying Scotsman steams through Goathland Station made famous in the Heartbeat TV series on its first day on the North Yorks Moors Railway. Photo: John Giles/PA Wire

The Flying Scotsman steams through Goathland Station made famous in the Heartbeat TV series on its first day on the North Yorks Moors Railway. Photo: John Giles/PA Wire

A visit to the region by the Flying Scotsman has been cancelled, following safety concerns that spectators might try to get too close to the railway tracks.

An aerial view of the Flying Scotsman near Hatfield on its inaugural run from London to York after a decade long, £4.2 million refit. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA WireAn aerial view of the Flying Scotsman near Hatfield on its inaugural run from London to York after a decade long, £4.2 million refit. Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

The legendary locomotive was due to run a special excursion train – which was already sold out – from Ely to Norwich and back next month.

However, the trip has been called off, amid fears of a repeat of the scenes from February this year, when about 60 people endangered their lives by getting close to the tracks as the engine steamed through St Neots, in Cambridgeshire.

Its journey was halted for about 15 minutes, costing hundreds of thousands of pounds due to knock-on delays for other trains.

Although the Flying Scotsman will continue to run on other routes, organisers say there are too many stretches of the track between Ely and Norwich which could allow spectators to get too close.

Marcus Robertson, chairman of event organisers Steam Dream, said he was devastated for enthusiasts but was adamant it was the right thing to do.

“Everyone involved with this does it because it’s fun and for the love of it,” he said. “But we’ve also got to preserve our British heritage, and we do that by making sure we protect the good reputation of our steam engines.

“Although Network Rail have not said we can’t do the journey between Norwich and Ely, we have decided to do the sensible thing. At the moment the threat to life and limb is too much.”

Mr Robertson hoped that after 
the initial excitement of the 
locomotive’s return calmed down, then they could put plans in place to bring it back to Norfolk next year instead. It was due to make its 
journey from Ely to Norwich 
and back on May 25. Passengers 
have paid almost £180 for a ticket 
but have now been offered refund 
and first refusal on other available trips.

Do you have a story about our steam heritage? Contact a reporter at newsdesk@archant.co.uk or ring 01603 772568

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