Damning report into engine restoration

Flying Scotsman
Flying Scotsman

A SHOCKING series of failures behind a project to restore the Doncaster-built Flying Scotsman have been revealed.

The National Railway Museum in York has admitted the cost of restoring the engine, built at the Plant in 1923, will exceed the £2.7m it has already spent, and it cannot say when the project will be completed.

Among the failings, the independent report found the project management was “ineffectual or non-existent”, the pre-purchase inspection was “rushed” and painted an “overly positive picture”, and the original budget and timescale for the refurbishment were “not based on engineering reality”.

The report also says: “It is not clear that there was ever a plausible restoration plan.”

The seriousness of the problems with the project was suggested in March, when the museum confirmed the Flying Scotsman would not be ready to pull the Olympic Flame from York to Thirsk as part of the torch’s national tour.

Museum director Steve Davies, who said he would “fall on his sword” if the restoration was not completed by April, has departed with Paul Kirkman taking up the role as acting director.

Mr Davies said in a statement: “I welcome the report along with its findings and recommendations.

“The National Railway Museum remains absolutely committed to the restoration of this iconic locomotive and to seeing it running once again on the British main line. Paul Kirkman will use the recommendations to guide the final stages of the restoration.”

The museum has appointed railway consultancy company First Class Partnerships to provide independent advice on seeing the project through.

Its advisory board has also set up a working group to look at the future restoration and running of heritage locomotives from its collection, a move it said was supported by Mr Kirkman.

The museum would not say what it expected the final cost of the restoration to be but was working with engineering consultants to establish whether draft costs for the final stages of the project were “realistic”.