Ashes to ashes on last jour­ney of the Fly­ing Scots­man’s saviour

Alan Pe­gler, the man who saved the lo­co­mo­tive, has last wish granted – to be put in the en­gine’s fire­box

The Sunday Telegraph - - News - By Steve Bird

SHORTLY af­ter 10.30am yes­ter­day a pro­longed and shrill whis­tle blasted from the Fly­ing Scots­man as it pow­ered through Lin­colnshire, mark­ing a poignant mo­ment in rail­way his­tory.

As the world fa­mous steam lo­co­mo­tive climbed to­wards Stoke Bank, the ashes of Alan Pe­gler were placed on a shovel and low­ered care­fully into the sear­ing glow of the en­gine’s fire­box.

A sec­ond whis­tle in­vited the 478 pas­sen­gers aboard this spe­cial Lon­don to York com­mem­o­ra­tive trip to toast with cham­pagne the life of the ec­cen­tric and flam­boy­ant busi­ness­man who saved the train from the scrap-heap.

Pe­gler’s ashes were com­mit­ted to the fire on the very stretch of rail­track where the Scots­man en­tered the record books by break­ing the 100mph speed bar­rier on Novem­ber 30, 1934.

He had re­quested his ashes be placed in the fire­box of the steam en­gine he called “old girl” be­fore his death at the age of 91 on March 18, 2012.

In the cab was Penny Vau­doyer, his daugh­ter. “Ful­fill­ing his wishes has been tremen­dously im­por­tant to me,” she told The Sun­day Tele­graph. “It’s been amaz­ing be­cause my fa­ther was some­body who dreamed of steam en­gines and was so pas­sion­ate about their preser­va­tion. It’s been very emo­tional.”

Alan Fran­cis Pe­gler was born into a fam­ily of man­u­fac­tur­ers from Ret­ford, Notts. Dur­ing his child­hood he played at be­ing a porter at his lo­cal rail­way sta­tion at Barnby Moor, watch­ing the trains on the Great North­ern main­line.

He first saw the Fly­ing Scots­man at the Bri­tish Em­pire Ex­hi­bi­tion at Wem­b­ley in 1924, when he was just four years old.

In 1946 he joined his fam­ily’s busi­ness, the North­ern Rub­ber Com­pany, af­ter serv­ing in the RAF. The Cam­bridge Univer­sity grad­u­ate went on to join the Bri­tish Rail­ways’ Re­gional board in a part time and non-ex­ec­u­tive role. In Jan­uary 1963, the Fly­ing Scots­man re­tired from ser­vice and was des­tined for the scrap-heap. Pe­gler bought the Scots­man for £3,000 and re­stored the lo­co­mo­tive to its for­mer glory and bro­kered deals with Bri­tish Rail to al­low it to ven­ture out on the net­work.

He was reg­u­larly in­ter­viewed and pho­tographed on the foot­plate pro­mot­ing the en­gine that had done so much for the age of steam. He also took it on tours to Amer­ica, Canada and Aus­tralia.

David Buck, chair­man of the Steam Dreams Rail Com­pany which or­gan­ised yes­ter­day’s trip, said: “I have been sim­ply amazed by the sheer well of af­fec­tion for Alan who is clearly the man the na­tion thinks of when talk­ing about the Fly­ing Scots­man and its post Bri­tish Rail ca­reer.

“From top to bot­tom through­out the in­dus­try ev­ery­body has come to­gether to make this pos­si­ble and it has been a truly won­der­ful and emo­tional trib­ute to a great man.”

‘My fa­ther was some­body who dreamed of steam en­gines and was so pas­sion­ate about their preser­va­tion’

Penny Vau­doyer, Alan Pe­gler’s daugh­ter, with the Fly­ing Scots­man at King’s Cross at the start of the spe­cial jour­ney to York

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