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Published: April 19, 2019

Story and Photographs by Andrew P.M. Wright                                                                                         Swanage Railway official photographer and press officer

The historic visit of the record-breaking ‘Flying Scotsman’ – the world’s most famous steam locomotive – to the Swanage Railway to be reunited with a rare Devon Belle Pullman observation carriage for the first time in almost 50 years has been judged “a tremendous success”.

Penny Vaudoyer, the daughter of the man who saved the icon from the scrapyard, flew in from her home in Portugal to wave off ‘Flying Scotsman’ when it hauled its first train out of Swanage at the start of its historic three-week visit to the Isle of Purbeck.

It was Penny’s enterprising and charismatic father, the late Alan Pegler, who purchased ‘Flying Scotsman’ from British Railways for its scrap value of £3,000 in 1963.

A delighted Penny said: “It was wonderful to be invited to the Swanage Railway to see ‘Flying Scotsman’ hauling the ‘Devon Belle’ Pullman Car 14 for the first time since 1972 when the pair ran together across the USA to promote British exports.

“Everyone on the Swanage Railway has been so friendly and interested – it has been marvellous. ‘Flying Scotsman’ is a wonderful legacy from my father and the locomotive still draws the crowds. 

“I had not seen Car 14 since I rode in it across the USA in 1972 behind ‘Flying Scotsman’ so was wonderful to sit in it again for the first time in 47 years and take a trip on the Swanage Railway hauled by the wonderful ‘Flying Scotsman’.

“They were amazing and unbelievable times. It was an amazing journey. I travelled in Car 14 looking out at the wonderful scenery and it was absolutely fantastic. I have so many wonderful memories.

“It is wonderful to see so many happy faces when people see the ‘Flying Scotsman’. My father would be delighted to see how happy people are when they are around the locomotive.  

“Everybody has their own story about ‘Flying Scotsman’ and so many people have memories of it over the years which is wonderful – especially when they saw the locomotive for the first time. It is everybody's engine and my father would be delighted about that,” added Penny.

Swanage Railway business division director Mick Gould said: "The visit of the iconic 'Flying Scotsman' was a tremendous success – the locomotive is part of the DNA of British engineering excellence. It was wonderful to see so many smiling faces among the public as well as Swanage Railway volunteers and staff.

"The event was a major undertaking that required a huge amount of planning and organisation and I would like to say a very big thank you to everyone whose hard work, commitment and professionalism made the visit of the world's most famous steam locomotive to the Isle of Purbeck such a success.

"It was the biggest commercial and logistical challenge in the history of the Swanage Railway which has been rebuilt from nothing since 1976.

"All the seats were sold for the five days of 'Flying Scotsman' hauling trains between Swanage, Corfe Castle and Norden. No. 60103 then spent 15 days on static display next to our goods shed museum at Corfe Castle station.

"From the strength and scale of public reaction, 'Flying Scotsman' still has a very special place in the hearts of the public - she is truly the people's engine. It was wonderful to see 60103 steaming past the dramatic ruins of Corfe Castle - two icons together.

"I would also like to say a very big thank you to the National Railway Museum for allowing 60103 to visit the Swanage Railway and to Riley & Son – whose professional and friendly 'Flying Scotsman' crew, headed by driver Matt Earnshaw, were with the locomotive throughout – for helping to make it happen.

"Seeing the daughter of the man who saved 'Flying Scotsman' from the scrapyard for £3,000 in 1963 wave off 60103's first train from Swanage was a thrill and there was an air of expectation and excitement at the station.

"We were delighted to welcome Penny Vaudoyer to the Swanage Railway and we thank her most deeply for her participation, enthusiasm and generosity. It was a real privilege to meet her, enjoy her company and hear her remarkable memories of 'Flying Scotsman', Car 14 and her father," added Mr Gould, a volunteer train guard and signalman on the Swanage Railway.

Purchased by the National Railway Museum in 2004, ‘Flying Scotsman’ was restored thanks to a £4.2 million, ten-year project funded by the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Heritage Lottery Fund as well as from public donations.

The Swanage Railway always welcomes new volunteers so, for a chat, contact Swanage Railway volunteer co-ordinator Mike Whitwam on 01929 475212 (answerphone) or email him at [email protected]