Flying Scotsman under steam again – with a little help from a Stevenage electronics firm

Flying Scotsman under steam

Flying Scotsman under steam - Credit: Archant

Almost everyone knows the story of the legendary locomotive, the Flying Scotsman.

Nemco staff havehelped build the safety system for the Flying Scotsman

Nemco staff havehelped build the safety system for the Flying Scotsman - Credit: Archant

Built in Doncaster in 1923, it is arguably the most celebrated steam engine in Britain.

In its heyday it broke world records – it was the first engine to reach 100mph when it breached the ton-up target in November 1924 – and steamed down the line at the head of many a commuter train on the London and North Eastern Railways Network during what many still regard as the golden age of rail travel.

For many years the piston-driven powerhouse pulled the famous 10am London to Edinburgh Flying Scotsman service, after which it was named, and stories of its legendary speed fascinated wide-eyed pupils in many a primary school classroom.

But not quite so well-known is the fact that when the legendary engine takes to the rails again later this month after a multi-million pound refurbishment, it will do so with a little help from a Stevenage technology firm.

The Flying Scotsman preparing for an early morning run

The Flying Scotsman preparing for an early morning run - Credit: North News & Pictures Ltd

The Scotsman is scheduled to make its comeback mainline run from London King’s Cross to York in a fortnight’s time.

And to ensure it doesn’t exceed the speed limit when it takes to the tracks on Thursday, February 25, it will carry a safety device built by Wedgwood Way based firm, Nemco.

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The electronics company has been working closely with one of its customers to perfect the train protection and warning system which includes control panels in the cab of the Scotsman and sensors alongside the track to monitor speed of the locomotive.

If the driver doesn’t slow down enough at crucial moments to match the speed limits on the line, the safety system will kick in and put on the brakes.

Nemco managing director and owner Dave Pearce says the firm is delighted to be involved in the old lady’s comeback.

He said: “We were all very interested in the Flying Scotsman getting up and running again as it’s such an iconic locomotive.

“We’re just very pleased to be involved in it and many of our staff have taken a real interest in the project. Small boys, even if they are in their 60s, enjoy steam engines!”

The project was particularly special for Dave Pearce as he already takes an interest in transport heritage being a keen collector of classic cars.

Nemco has been in business for 30 years and has expanded from a one-man operation to a firm that employs 135 staff at its base on the Pin Green Industrial Estate.

Dave added: “It’s great to see Stevenage firms are in demand across the UK, not just locally.”