FLYING SCOTSMAN

FLYING
SCOTSMAN

Standing in a row
Outside Waverley Station,
Fingers pushed through the wire.
Duffel coats and gloves,
Socks round ankles.
Black,
Everything black.
Pot-bellied trains
Spitting steam
Pushing and pulling
Hissing,
Fighting?
Fighting against the tide.
All come to a standstill
As the Flying Scotsman
Flashes under the bridge
And disappears from view
But not from sight.

 

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Behind the Picture-Poem

The locomotive was built in Doncaster in 1923, becoming the first locomotive of the newly formed London and North Eastern Railway (LNER). It left the works on February 24, 1923, with the number 1472. It was designed by Sir Nigel Gresley as part of the A1 class – the most powerful locomotives used by LNER at that time.
 
By 1924, when it had been selected to appear at the British Empire Exhibition in London, the loco had been renumbered 4472, being given the name ‘Flying Scotsman’ after the London to Edinburgh rail service which started daily at 10am in 1862.
 
In 1934, the train was clocked at 100mph on a special test run – officially the first locomotive in the UK to have reached this speed.
 
Both Gordon and Don used to watch the Flying Scotsman pass through Portobello when they were five years old. The engine was retired from regular service in 1963 after covering 2.08 million miles. The memories live on.