Class 43 locomotive in new LNER livery
Class 43 HST 43320 in New LNER Livery

From 24 June 2018 the East Coast Main Line railway franchise previously run by Virgin Trains and Stagecoach was brought back into public ownership and will be run by a wholly government owned company branded as London North Eastern Railway (L.N.E.R).

The original L.N.E.R company was a private company formed by the amalgamation of seven smaller railway companies including Great Northern Railway, Great Central Railway, Great Eastern Railway and North Eastern Railway this took place under The Railways Act of 1921 and was commonly known as 'Grouping' and was enacted on 1 January 1923 and formed one of 'The Big Four' along with L.M.S. (London Midland and Scottish), G.W. (Great Western) and S.R. (Southern Railway).

The new LNER company will operate the InterCity East Coast services between London, York, Newcastle and Edinburgh much as the original company did in 1923 when it pioneered the Flying Scotsman Express service between London and Edinburgh.

The original Flying Scotsman service was headed initially by class A1 and A3 locomotives, the most famous is 4472 (60103) Flying Scotsman, all the locomotives were fitted with special tenders with corridors through them to enable a crew change along the journey which in those days took 8 hours 15 minutes.

4472 Flying Scotsman
4472 Flying Scotsman with The Fenlander 1984

By the end of the L.N.E.R in 1948 when all of the railways were nationalised, The Flying Scotsman service was pulled by A4 class locomotives of which Mallard 4468 Still holds the world speed record for steam locomotives at 126MPH journey times had been reduced to 7 hours 20 minutes. After British Railways ended the use of steam in favour of Diesel locomotives, the service was pulled by the new 'Deltic' class locomotives.

Flying Scotsman service
91105 Flying scotsman at Darlington

Following privatisation, the new Train operating companies have run the Flying Scotsman service at various time periods. The latest incarnation of the service was started in 2011 but running only in one direction, South from Edinburgh to London in just 4 hours departing Edinburgh at 05:40.
The return journey takes 4 hours 44 minutes, departing London Kings cross at 10:30

The new Company is committed to future expansion plans and for the new class 800 IEP trains but some doubt exists as to the name 'Azuma', train livery's will possibly not change except for the name.

A new web site has been unveiled with information about the changeover and can be found at

I wonder what my father would have to say about the new name? When he started work on the railway it was with the original L.N.E.R in 1944 before the days of British Railways.

Note: The 'Flying Scotsman' can refer to a train service ie. non stop express service between London and Edinburgh, or a steam Locomotive, Class A1/A3 number 4472. On some occasions the locomotive 'Flying Scotsman' would be used to pull the 'Flying Scotsman' train.