After being out of traffic for just over ten years, the iconic Gresley Pacific Flying Scotsman returned to public trains on the East Lancashire Railway this weekend folllowing a massive overhaul by Riley and Son of Bury for the National Railway Museum.
After a press launch and VIP dining train on Friday, the punters got their chance with on Saturday. Prebooking was essential, and the four eight-coach trains Scotsman was pulling on both Saturday and Sunday were quickly sold out. As consolation for those of us who missed them, two other stars made the day something like a mini-gala.
The rain poured down and the gloom was complete when it was announced that, due to the failure of 45407, a diesel would have to be found to support Scotsman's air brake. Waiting for over an hour actually meant the rain had stopped before the star of the show reached the huge crowds waiting at Ramsbottom.
She looked massive and magnificent in what I would describe as matte black, which looked either deep black or battleship grey, depending on the light. She sounded strong, sure and sweet as she set off up the hill. I followed her with the Crab for a few more pictures, feeling elated that this pinnacle of British steam fame and excellence is back with us, living, breathing and raring to go.
Roll on the next two weeks, when she is booked to do Manchester - Carlisle over the S&C and back over Shap. I'm not missing that one!
© Peter Hewitt's Transport Pictures