Four Trains - Four Generations
With the eyes of the world watching, four trains spanning four generations will travel side by side, in the same direction, to celebrate the past, present and future of one of the country's most iconic pieces of railway, the East Coast Main Line.
The historic occasion is to begin at 06.00 on Sunday 23 April near the North Yorkshire village of Tollerton, before arriving into York at around 08.00 for a special celebration that will last until around 09.00.
The world famous Flying Scotsman will travel alongside two trains from Virgin Trains' revitalised fleet - an HST (Class 43), an InterCity225 (Class 91) - and the rail operator's brand new train, the Virgin Azuma (Class 800) which is being built by Hitachi in the North East, and will come into service in 2018.
Now the partners involved in the show - Network Rail, Virgin Trains, Welcome to Yorkshire, the National Railway Museum and Hitachi - have confirmed that the historic occasion will begin around 10 miles north of York near the village of Tollerton.
The best view of the action will be from York station - where a giant screen will broadcast footage of the trains live, and members of the public are advised to head to the station.
Those hoping to catch a glimpse of the trains as they travel between Tollerton and the station are being urged to stay safe behind boundary fences and keep off both the tracks and private land - trespassers will cause the trains to stop and put at risk the completion of both this event and any future plans to showcase the route and its iconic locos.
Sir Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said:
"We're immensely proud to be flying the flag for this once in a generation railway spectacular. This event shows yet again how Yorkshire is leading the way and the timing is perfect, throwing the county firmly into the spotlight just days before the start of the Tour de Yorkshire."
Rob McIntosh, Managing Director for Network Rail on the London North Eastern and East Midlands route, said:
"I am delighted that we have been able to create such a prestigious and unique event for the people of Yorkshire. The area has a very proud rail heritage and by working closely with our industry partners we've been able to turn what has been a logistically challenging vision - to create an iconic railway moment on the East Coast Main Line without impacting on regular passengers - into what will be a truly special occasion."
David Horne, Managing Director for Virgin Trains on the east coast, said:
"Just one year on from unveiling our brand new Virgin Azuma trains, we're delighted to present this unique event that showcases the past, present and future of rail travel in the UK, with Azuma travelling alongside 'Flying Scotsman' and trains from our revamped current fleet. With our new Azuma trains entering service next year, this is an opportunity to celebrate the icons of the railways and look forward to 2018 when we'll usher in a new era for travel on the East Coast route."
Paul Kirkman, director for the National Railway Museum in York which owns Flying Scotsman, said:
"The East Coast Main Line has long been famed for speed and style. In the 19th century elegant locomotives were designed to haul trains on this route cementing its reputation as a railway racing stretch operated by thoroughbred engines. The four train line up epitomises the evolution of the later generation of fast, elegant and stylish trains - all with a shared bloodline - that epitomise the history of the route from the 1850s to today.
Bob Gwynne, Associate Curator, National Railway Museum said:
"The National Railway Museum is proud that Flying Scotsman, a symbol of engineering excellence, the first steam locomotive to achieve an authenticated speed of 100mph and the first to undertake a non-stop run between London King's Cross and Edinburgh Waverley, is taking its place alongside such worthy successors to its speed and style mantle."
Karen Boswell, Managing Director for Hitachi Rail Europe, said:
"We believe our new British built Azuma trains will inspire the next generation of rail enthusiasts and show how investment in new trains will transform passenger experiences on this iconic route."
Four Trains - Four Generations, 18th April 2017, 9:30 AM