THE National Railway Museum has reiterated its commitment to restoring Flying Scotsman following claims et another major flaw has been discovered in the iconic loco.

A rail magazine, Steam Railway, has reported the loco’s middle cylinder is misaligned by up to half an inch, and the York-based museum will have to pay a six figure sum – possibly as much as half a million pounds – to carry out repairs.

The magazine said the latest hitch was disclosed in a report submitted to the museum just before Christmas by the railway engineering consultancy firm, First Class Partnerships.

It said the problem meant any return to steam this year was now unlikely and also suggested museum trustees might now decide “enough is enough” and bring the restoration to a halt.

But this was strongly denied by a museum spokeswoman, who said: “The National Railway Museum remains absolutely committed to the restoration of this iconic locomotive and to seeing it running once again on the British mainline.”

She said First Class Partnerships had been appointed by the museum to provide independent advice on the most effective approach to completing the final stage of the restoration project, and its report was currently undergoing drafting.

She said First Class was focusing on a number of areas including an assessment of work undertaken to date and how the identified programme of works could best be delivered.

It was also assessing the draft programme and cost estimates for the remaining work, she said.

“We plan to publish the report after it is completed and we will update all media simultaneously at that point.

“This update will include information about any decisions that are made in relation to how and where any further work is undertaken, how any work will be funded and about any other actions that we will be undertaking in response to the final report.”

Flying Scotsman was bought by the museum in 2004.

A major overhaul began in January 2006 and was scheduled to last one year and cost about £750,000, but the cost of the work rose to about £2.7 million and it has still not been completed.

A report last year by industry expert Bob Meanley concluded the repair scheme had had an unrealistic budget and timescale from the outset.