It was one of those ‘blink and you miss it’ moments as an icon from the age of steam passed through Huddersfield.
The world’s most famous locomotive The Flying Scotsman made a fleeting visit to Huddersfield, only pausing for a few minutes outside Marsden Station as it headed for Crewe.
The engine, restored to its magnificent former glory at a cost of £4.2 million, is now owned by the York-based National Railway Museum.
It passed through Huddersfield Railway Station – without stopping – on its way to the start of a rail tour which leaves tomorrow from Crewe.
The gleaming engine – resplendent in the sunshine – was pulling a single carriage.
It steamed through Huddersfield Railway Station – with a handful of people on the platform with cameras and mobile phones to capture the moment.
The flyby had been kept “secret” though word leaked out on trainspotters’ networks and on social media.
It had been rumoured that the engine would stop on Platform 3 at Marsden Station for 15 minutes for a faster train to pass.
A crowd of around 25 people gathered in anticipation at the station – but were left disappointed after the train steamed through – whistle blowing merrily – and failed to stop. In a little over 20 seconds it was over and done.
The train halted further down the line at signals before going through Standedge Tunnel.
Victoria Eaton, 42, of Marsden, brought seven-month-old daughter Gracie Elizabeth to see the train. Victoria waited for half-an-hour and said: “I love steam trains and thought it would be amazing to see it.” Gracie, meanwhile, slept through the “excitement.”
Video credit: Claire Kynaston
Jeff Hughes, 50, and Peter Roberts, wife Jane and daughter Natalia, two, wandered down from their homes in Marsden having heard about the special visitor on Facebook.
Peter said: “We saw the Scotsman at the railway museum a few weeks ago. It’s a sight to see.”
A man who described himself as a “retired railway worker from Huddersfield” comes from the twilight world of trainspotting. Cryptically, he said he found out about the visit because of “internal knowledge” and had a text message on an “unofficial network.”
He hadn’t come far but said: “People will travel for many miles.”
A couple had come from Diggle and were left disappointed. “I thought it would be bigger,” groaned the husband.
The next time the public have chance to see the engine close up is at the National Railway Museum at Shildon in County Durham from July 23-31 where the Scotsman will be the star attraction at the free Shed Bash event.
The Flying Scotsman was built in Doncaster in 1923. In 2004 it was bought by the National Railway Museum for £2.3 million.
An appeal to keep the steam icon in Britain was supported by a £1.8 million grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and public donations.
A decade-long restoration took place with the help of a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £275,000 with the aim of making the Scotsman a working museum exhibit.