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Flying Scotsman is back on the tracks after more than a decade: Our guide to the best places to see this iconic engine

Huge turnout expected as 1923 train returns to the East Lancashire Railway

Thousands of spectators are expected to turn out to see the world’s most famous locomotive, the Flying Scotsman, go back on the tracks under steam for the first time in more than a decade.

Test runs were due to start on Friday, with the Flying Scotsman pulling a number of carriages over the border in Greater Manchester and Lancashire between Heywood, Bury and Rawtenstall stations throughout the day.

Roads, car parks, stations, bridges and fields along the route of the heritage railway line will all make great viewing positions.

We’ve mapped out the best locations for you and your family to catch a glimpse of history.

Top spots include Burrs Country Park, the Roche Viaduct and bridges between Edenfield and Irwell Vale.

The Scotsman, the first steam loco in the world to hit 100mph, will haul three carriages and kitchen cars along a route from the ELR Bury station on Bolton Street to Rawtenstall and Heywood tomorrow night (Saturday).

A five-course meal for more than 130 passengers will be served, with the engine set to stop at as yet unspecified points along the route.

Tickets for the exclusive event sold out long ago, but on Saturday and in daylight, the first of four open days gets underway from 9am. Huge crowds are expected along the railway route.

Map: Where to see the Flying Scotsman

The Scotsman, which has been refurbished in a painstaking £4.2m restoration project, will make a five trips on Saturday and on Sunday, and next Saturday and Sunday, January 16 and 17.

Platform tickets will be available to view the Scotsman at stations. It will cost £5 to access the Bolton Street station at Bury and £3 for Ramsbottom, Rawtenstall and Heywood.

Pictures: The Flying Scotsman restored in Bury

The timetable is exactly the same on all four days.

The Scotsman won’t stop at Summerseat, Ramsbottom and Irwell Vale stations, although platform viewing tickets are still available for Ramsbottom.

The engine, designed by Sir Nigel Gresley and built in Doncaster for the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) in 1923, will leave Bury at 9am on Saturday, arriving at Rawtenstall at 9.33am without stopping.

It will depart Rawtenstall after turning at 9.50am and travel through to Heywood, again without stopping, to arrive there at 10.39am.

On its return, second trip, the Scotsman will leave Heywood station at 10.55am to arrive in Bury at 11.08am.

It leaves Bury after a brief pause for platform viewings at 11.30am, travelling right through to arrive in Rawtenstall at 12.03pm.

The engine leaves Rawtenstall at 12.20pm, travelling through to Heywood without stopping to arrive at 1.09pm.

From there the Scotsman leaves Heywood at 1.25pm, arriving and stopping at Bury 13 minutes later at 1.38pm.

It leaves Bury again at 2pm, arriving in Rawtenstall at 2.33pm then setting off again at 2.50pm, steaming through to Heywood to arrive there at 3.39pm.

Pictures: Archive images of The Flying Scotsman

It sets off again from Heywood at 3.55pm, arriving at Bury at 4.08pm and Rawtenstall at 5.03pm. It will turn in Rawtenstall to depart on its final journey at 5.20pm, finally arriving at Heywood at 6.09pm.

An East Lancashire Railway spokesman said: “We would ask all of our visitors to please respect the railway and its environment. Please do not trespass on the railway line or any of the private property adjoining the railway.

“The East Lancashire Railway welcomes people to come and take advantage of some fantastic and unique photo opportunities.

"The railway offers great photo locations from publicly accessible areas, including most of the bridges along the line.”

The test runs are expected to continue during days in between the dedicated public events as the Scotsman gains milage.

They follow the restoration project by specialist engineers at Bury-based Riley and Son Ltd. The firm was appointed by the York-based National Railway Museum, which owns the Scotsman, to carry out the work three years ago.

Access to all carriages being hauled by the Scotsman is by ticket only. The majority of places have been sold out.



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