Norwich man relives memories of running the Flying Scotsman
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016
It was in 1968 that Raymond King was given a role that railway enthusiasts could only dream of.
Aged 40 at the time, he was selected to work as the Flying Scotsman's fireman during its Chesterfield Flyer tour.
The 88-year-old was responsible for keeping the world famous locomotive running during the Norwich to Peterborough leg of the journey. But despite the 4472 Flying Scotsman's huge popularity, for Mr King, from Eaton, it was just another steam engine.
Speaking ahead of its return to Norfolk later this year, Mr King said: 'It was a nice looking engine and it was a marvellous bit of machinery, but to be honest it was just like any other and we didn't get too excited about it at the time.
'Although I remember when we arrived back at Thorpe at 10 o'clock that night all the passengers came out and wanted our signatures. We felt like celebrities.'
Mr King was chosen to work as the fireman for the day due to his extensive experience working as a fireman on steam engines across the region and after being requested by his friend and driver, Tom Lee.
After handing over control of the train at Peterborough, Mr King and Mr Lee were able to enjoy the rest of the journey in its dining car.
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While the Flying Scotsman is regarded as Britain's most famous engine, Mr King did not believe it was the best. He said: 'In my personal opinion the Britannia Class was far superior.
'The Flying Scotsman had a three cylinder engine, whereas I think the Britannia had two, but the steam pressure was higher giving it better acceleration.'
Mr King started his career in the rail industry aged 15 during the Second World War and was responsible for cleaning out train fire boxes at Thorpe station. Over the years he progressed to become a fireman and eventually a driver, operating everything from steam, diesel and electric trains across East Anglia.
He added: 'Steam engines were much more interesting. It was a childhood fantasy to work on them and you would enjoy going into work. Diesel and electrical trains were more monotonous. You would just sit there and pull a couple of levers.'
The great grandfather, who retired after 50 years of service in 1993, said he had been on every rail line in the region.