The Flying Scotsman
Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day
Today's Musings, History & Folklore
"The World's Most Famous Train!"
Begun in 1862; the Flying Scotsman became the designated name for the express passenger train service between Edinburgh and London and became officially adopted in 1924. With simultaneous departures at 10:00 from London King's Cross and Edinburgh at Waverley, the original journey took 10 1⁄2 hours, including a half-hour stop at York for lunch. However, increasing competition and improvements in railway technology saw this time reduced to 8 1⁄2 hours during the Race to the North in 1888, two summers of railway competitions for the shortest route. Recently, to celebrate International Women’s in 2020, the service was rebranded the 'Flying Scotswoman' for a month, with all female staff hosting a variety of women in the railway industry! Choo Choo! 🚂
The Flying Scotsman
Train Day, held the Saturday closest to May 10, celebrates rail travel all over the world near the anniversary of the pounding of the Golden spike in Promontory, Utah, which marked the completion of the first transcontinental railroad in the U.S.
A recent poll of the world's most recognized trains, which included famous and historical (and even fictional) trains and locomotives, put the Flying Scotsman and the top of the list.
Often known by its pre-war locomotive number, 4472, the Flying Scotsman was the world’s first steam locomotive officially credited with achieving 100 mph, in 1934.
It was given the name Flying Scotsman after the London to Edinburgh rail service, which started daily in 1862, departing at 10am.
In 1928, Flying Scotsman was given a new type of tender with a corridor, which meant that a new crew could take over without stopping the train. This allowed it to haul the first ever non-stop London to Edinburgh service, reducing the journey time to eight hours.
London and North Easter Railway passenger locomotives had always been painted apple green. But during the Second World War, Flying Scotsman was repainted in wartime black, in common with all railway stock.
In 1948, rail travel in Britain was nationalised with the formation of British Railways. Flying Scotsman was painted blue for a time, then British Rail Green. It remained this colour until 1963, when it was retired.
After retirement, Flying Scotsman toured the USA and Australia, before returning to the UK.
This dance has several variations. The original shown below is noted as "suitable only for agile, experienced dancers."
For more on this favorite train, click the vintage photograph from 1933.
See below for a video of the dance performed by the RSCDS Glasgow branch in 2016.