For any boy who grew up with a train set, today is important since is marks the journey of the Flying Scotsman to its new home at the National Train Museum in York. And we all know that a boy’s education is not complete without a visit there to enjoy the delights of the replica of George Stevenson's Rocket and of course the Mallard – the fastest of all the steam trains ever built. But it was the Flying Scotsman that was the first in service steam train to record a speed of 100mph back in 1934 and giving her a place of honour amongst the British public.
Over the course of its working life the Scotsman underwent numerous modifications but none more important than when it was given a new type of tender with corridor which meant new crew could take over without stopping the train. This upgrade allowed the Scotsman to take the journey from Edinburgh to London non-stop and reduced the journey time to 8 hours.
After her retirement in 1963 the Scotsman went through several exchanges of ownership before finally being bought in 2004 by the National Railway Museum and has since 2006 undergone a 10-year restoration at a cost of £4.2 million pounds.
The Scotsman weighs just over 96 tons and at over 70ft needs a full head of steam to get her
moving. Don Vause, a volunteer with Riley & Son, the Bury-based steam and diesel engineering specialists tasked with restoring the locomotive said, “The first time it moved this week we all cried. I went to church and said a little prayer when it moved.”
One things for sure, when the Scotsman goes onto embark on a tour of Britain later this year there will be a lot of grown up men taking their little boys (and girls) to see her. And why not – beauty, power, precision and presence packaged into a refined block of glorious steel breathing softly in the station – this is the stuff of dreams.
Yet what a task. A 10-year commitment to bring the Scotsman back to life and into the public domain. And what of the power and pressure required to move her? This is not just steel and cylinders and gauges and steam – its sweat and engineering and passion that bring the old girl back to the national stage. And with it comes to momentum, that secret ingredient which is the key to all success, wherever success is to be found. When it comes to momentum the Scotsman has it in abundance. For momentum is the mystical quality that takes an idea to reality – a vision to substance; that turns faith into action. It has the power to draws thousands of people to the side of a track to see her.
Momentum is the added ingredient that comes when the synergy of all things unite and creates the sweet spot of breakthrough. You struggle for years without – keeping your head down, doing the right thing, making good decisions and praying sincere prayers. Yet without it you have a formed lump of shaped steel: a great idea waiting her time, a church congregation on the edge of breaking through; a business venture in a spreadsheet, a building project on the cusp of being reality. With it you sit back to witness the thundering power of 96 tonnes of brilliance blazing down the track at 100mph.
That’s the difference momentum makes – and when it comes your way you need to move with the head of steam it brings for there is very little that can get in its way.