Flying Scotsman's US tour

Written by Benn Coifman on Feb 17, 2012 in emerald night, Flying Scotsman - 7 Comments


FS in MT 1 FS in MT 2

Not being up on my 1971 history, I stumbled into a neat discovery while browsing a wonderful train photo archive. Apparently the Flying Scotsman toured the US in 1971, complete with an entire train. The main photo shows a BN (former SP&S) Alco pulling the train. Who knew that even those of us who model American trains could put the Emerald Night on our layout in context.

For more on these shots, click here and here, and two more shots here and here. These images are from the wonderful collection of Ron V. Nixon, where you can trace the evolution of the NP from about 1910 to the BN merger (as well as several other US railroads of the Pacific Northwest).


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  1. Falk Schulz February 17, 2012 at 2:29PM

    Great pictures! Did anybody start a stopwatch? I bet it's not going to take long before someone comes up with exactly that train configuration :-)

    Puts me in a difficult tradeoff situation, though...I had planned to dismantle my Emerald Night and reuse the dark green bricks precisely for a SP&S Alco FA-1...Guess I'll have to rethink that.

  2. taltosVT
    Elroy Davis February 17, 2012 at 5:37PM

    Love that second shot. Reminds me of an old art deco travel poster.

  3. Marc Lawrence February 17, 2012 at 8:04PM

    Quick search on Wikipedia seems to show it was done by someone called Pegler
    Search for USA. within the text

  4. Jimmy9092
    Jimmy Wilson February 18, 2012 at 1:29AM

    This wasn't the first UK steam engine to tour the US. In 1933 the London, Midland & Scottish Railway (LMS) sent a Royal Scot locomotive on a tour of the US & Canada. It was exhibited at the "Century of Progress Exposition" as part of the 1933-1934 World's Fair in Chicago to celebrate the city's centennial.

    It was ironic that a lot of the footage from the tour shows the British steam locomotive alongside diesel power which heralded the demise of steam traction in Britiain 30 years later.

    Even though I am from the UK and have worked in the British Rail industry, I have always had an affection for American trains, especially freight. I am new to Lego trains and my ongoing project includes a black Emerald Night with Microscale O Scale ATSF decals and it will pull my Super Chief consist. I will deploy 10020 on freight trains and I am using Railbricks instructions for my rolling stock. I will submit pictures in due course.

  5. Benn Coifman March 01, 2012 at 3:29AM

    There are at least two British steam locomotives that have relocated permanently to this side of the pond and both came over before the Flying Scotsman's US tour...

    ... oh, wait, both of the A4's are heading back to the UK for two years to celebrate their anniversary.

  6. John Zitrick March 02, 2012 at 2:45AM

    I've done some volunteer railroading in the past and I remember reading about this. One of the changes that have to be made to English steamers when brought to the U.S. is the addition of a bell. Required equipment in the U.S. but not an issue the U.K! On the flip side we don't need to paint the front of all our diesels safety yellow :)

  7. Jimmy9092
    Jimmy Wilson March 02, 2012 at 4:28PM

    I saw new A1 Peppercorn "Tornado" at my local station, Durham and she looked magnificent. Tourist /preserved railways are OK but the sight of her operating on the London to Edinburgh main line is something else entirely. Here's the first time through Durham, she's still to be painted in LNER livery.

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