THE National Railway Museum says it’s now full steam ahead to complete the restoration of Flying Scotsman after tests showed it can be repaired.
The York museum was concerned last spring that, having already spent £2.89 million on much delayed repairs to the iconic loco, the viability of the whole restoration project might be in doubt.
It said an independent engineering report had identified that further repairs were needed at a substantial cost, and a small section of the main side frames could not be examined until the steam cylinders were removed.
It said a final assessment of the restoration’s viability would be made once the condition of this final piece was known.
Now the museum has revealed that a detailed examination by specialist engineers, involving extensive non-destructive testing, has confirmed there are no significant problems with the frames, while revealing some “limited issues” with the condition of the cylinders.
“The final assessment of the viability of the restoration has now been made by the museum and its trustees and a resounding go-ahead given,” said a spokeswoman.
“It is hoped that the 1920s locomotive, the sole survivor of the A3 class, will be fit to operate within the stringent requirements of today’s modern railway network by summer 2015.”
NRM director Paul Kirkman said: “We are now progressing full steam ahead towards completing the restoration.”
The spokeswoman said Riley & Son (E) Ltd, Bury, were appointed to complete the work last autumn.
“Once the return to mainline operation is complete, a commercial partnership agreement has been reached, under which Riley & Son (E) Ltd will manage the operation of the locomotive for a period of two years,” she said.
“This will include a programme of ongoing maintenance and helping to resolve any issues that may arise.”
Ian Riley, director of Riley & Son (E) Ltd, Bury, said the frame condition had been found to be acceptable and while the cylinders still needed a lot of attention, these were relatively straightforward problems which could be readily fixed by specialist engineers.
“We are delighted that the restoration is going to plan and we will continue to work together with the museum to see the restoration through to completion and its first two years of operation,” he added.