© Steve Morgan/National Railway Museum
The iconic Flying Scotsman locomotive was crewed by an all-female team on International Women's Day (8th March 2023) at East Lancashire Railway. In celebration of its centenary, the world's most famous steam locomotive left its home at the National Railway Museum in York and toured through railways across the UK. It stopped off at East Lancashire Railway (ELR) for a special event celebrating the past, present and future of women in rail. Renowned as a feat of design and engineering, Flying Scotsman will set off from ELR for three round trips through the picturesque Lancashire countryside, crewed entirely by a female footplate team. The ground-breaking crew is made up of three volunteers from East Lancashire Railway, Linda Henderson, Charlotte Instance and Steph Elwood along with Beth Furness from Network Rail who will be driving Flying Scotsman. Linda began volunteering at ELR in 1993 at just 14 years old along with her mum and younger brother. Throughout the years she has taken on many different roles at the railway including dispatcher, signal operations manager and in March 2017 Linda became the ELR’s first ever female main line locomotive driver. Steph joined the ELR team in October 2021 with a background in maintenance and repair, eager to push herself further and build on her self-confidence. She was soon put on a fast-track course and passed her firing exam in September 2022, becoming the second ever female fireman at ELR. Charlotte came to the ELR in the summer of 2021 and helped to get the station shop up and running. She quickly began following in her great grandfather's footsteps when she joined the steam crew as a cleaner and had the privilege of prepping and cleaning Flying Scotsman during one of its visits to the ELR; she has since worked her way up to the coveted position of locomotive driver. Beth’s love for trains started at her local railway when she was 16 years old and she has worked in a number of roles including operations, fitting, signalling and working as a fireman. She has previously worked for the National Railway Museum and now works for Network Rail. The railway celebrated International Women’s Day on the 8th March with a private event that will see local primary schools, children's charities, community groups and the National Railway Museum team visited the railway and rode behind Flying Scotsman. Images taken by Steve Morgan commissioned by the Science Museum Group.The Flying Scotsman locomotive was built in Doncaster for the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER), entering service on 24 February 1923 and initially numbered 1472. It was designed by Sir Nigel Gresley as part of the A1 class – the most powerful locomotives used by the railway. By 1924, when it was selected to appear at the British Empire Exhibition in London, the loco had been renumbered 4472 – and been given the name ‘Flying Scotsman’ after the London to Edinburgh rail service which started daily at 10am in 1862. The engine is recognised worldwide and was the first steam locomotive to achieve an authenticated speed of 100mph and the first scheduled service to undertake a non-stop run between London King’s Cross and Edinburgh Waverley.
The iconic Flying Scotsman locomotive was crewed by an all-female team on International Women's Day, 8th March 2023.