FLYING SCOTSMAN rewrites the rule book at keighley
Unprecedented event meant regulations had to be altered so WD 2-8-0 could bank celebrity ‘A3’.
It entailed rewriting part of the rule book ‑ but Flying Scotsman’s visit to the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway was worth the effort. For the seven April operating days of its nine‑day visit, the National Collection ‘A3’ was assisted at the rear of its train by WD 2‑8‑0 No. 90733 ‑ something not previously permitted in the Yorkshire line’s regulations. Provision had only previously been made for diesels to bank trains ‑ itself a relatively recent change, in response to heavy snow during ‘Santa Special’ operations ‑ or for steam locomotives to be ‘dragged’ at the rear. “As one of the earliest preserved railways, we had to do everything as simply as possible,” commented KWVR Chairman Matt Stroh. “Our founding fathers would never have dreamed that we’d need to assist a ‘Pacific’ on eight coaches!” It was the first time that No. 60103 had hauled passengers over the Oxenhope branch. Its only previous visit ‑ on February 20 1980 ‑ was for a filming assignment at Keighley, during which it also travelled up the branch to Haworth for coaling. This time, it was displayed at Ingrow West for April 1/2, before working trains between April 3‑9 ‑ with other services hauled by ‘4F’ 0‑6‑0 No. 43924 and ‘4MT’ 4‑6‑0 No. 75078. Total visitor numbers were over 17,000, of whom 12,500 travelled on Flying Scotsman’s sell‑out trains and a further 2,200 on the other services. On the weekend of the Ingrow display, 1,080 bought tickets for the ‘Scotsman footplate tour’ and there were a further 2,200 paying visitors to the railway. A KWVR‑promoted railtour from Oxenhope to Carlisle behind the ‘A3’ on March 31 (see story below) was also fully booked, with all 540 seats sold. This is a record for the line “in terms of consecutive days,” confirmed Mr Stroh ‑ ‘Santa Special’ numbers are within 10‑20% of such figures, but are spread across four weekends. “To put it into context, the previous two weekends had around 1,000 passengers each.” He summed up: “The atmosphere on the railway was great, with local people coming to see ‘Scotsman’ in their valley,” and paid tribute to the “incredible” efforts of 75‑100 volunteers who turned out each day to help.
an unusual early morning view from above Mytholmes tunnel on april 3, as Flying Scotsman approaches with the first train of the day from keighley. appropriately marshalled behind the ‘a3’ are the railway’s two ex-lNer ‘k’ class Pullmans.