Doncaster’s Flying Scotsman could be banned from tracks because of trainspotters risking lives

Doncaster’s legendary Flying Scotsman could be banned from main line tracks – because of trainspotters trying to catch a glimpse of it.

By Darren Burke
Monday, 13 May, 2019, 08:28

There have been numerous incidents of people putting their lives in danger by trespassing onto tracks and delaying main line services to take photos of the steam icon.

There was chaos between Derby and Birmingham last Sunday as fans attempted to grab the best positions to see the loco on a UK tour.

The Flying Scotsman locomotive steaming in to Doncaster where it was built in 1923.

There were reports of trainspotters refusing to move from the tracks when challenged by drivers – with some rail enthusiasts blaming the media for publishing details of the loco’s routes.

Network Rail said a ban would be a "move of last resort" but could not be ruled out if lives were being risked.

It would not let "a few thoughtless lawbreakers" cause dangers and delays, it said.

Nearly 60 services were delayed for a total of 1,000 minutes as Flying Scotsman completed its tour of the Midlands last weekend, British Transport Police said.

One passenger service driver, who asked to remain anonymous, said he saw trainspotting trespassers every 200 yards.

Describing it as "probably the most stressful experience I have ever had", he said it was "only a matter of time before someone is seriously injured or killed" trying to get a photo.

Nick Brodrick, editor of Steam Railway magazine, said the problem was "deeply troubling".

"When you have drivers having to stop, get out and tell trespassers to move and even then be ignored, the situation is simply unacceptable," he said.

He said it would be hard to argue with a ban if someone was injured or killed.

A Flying Scotsman spokesman said a ban "would not be a surprise" but every effort, such as CCTV and extra police on the train, was being taken to avoid the situation.

Built at Doncaster Plant Works nearly 100 years ago to the designs of Sir Nigel Gresley, it became the first steam locomotive to be officially authenticated at reaching 100 miles per hour on 30 November 1934 and is regarded as the world’s most famous steam loco.