Specialists called for Flying Scotsman

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THE owners of the Doncaster-built Flying Scotsman are set to call in specialists to restore the loco to its former glory after a report revealed ‘substantial further work’ was needed to complete the project.

The National Railway Museum, which has already spent £2.7m on the famous steam locomotive, has admitted its in-house team is not equipped to carry out the vital repairs.

An independent report by rail advisory firm First Class Partnerships said a ‘substantial level of work’ was needed to ensure the Flying Scotsman could perform reliably in future.

It made a number of recommendations for repairs and changes but said a ‘disciplined approach’ was needed if the improvements were to be carried out on the world’s most famous locomotive.

“All these issues need to be addressed over the coming months before the locomotive completes its commissioning,” the report said. “In our view, failure to do so will place considerable risk on the sustainable future service reliability of the locomotive and its reputation.”

Flying Scotsman was purchased for the nation in 2004 by the museum in York, but withdrawn in December 2005 to undergo a major overhaul. Officials revealed last year that the cost will exceed the £2.7m already spent.

The contract to carry out the specialist work needed on the project will now go out to tender, with the work funded by parent organisation the Science Museum Group. The museum said ‘significant additional budget’ would now be required.

Director Paul Kirkman said: “It was vital that we really got to the bottom of this complex project. We have now clarified that it is not sensible to complete the work in-house and are in a position to go out to tender for an external contractor. We will now progress cautiously.”