The Flying Scotsman

A set of stamps issued on March 9 celebrate the Centenary of the Flying Scotsman, the steam locomotive considered a historic treasure of British engineering.

Designed by Nigel Gresley and built at Doncaster, it was launched in February 1923, the third of the new A1 class of more powerful locos for pulling heavier and more luxurious passenger trains.

Initially known simply as No1472, and redesignated No4472 the following year, it was named Flying Scotsman in honour of the express passenger service which had run on the east coast route between London and Edinburgh since 1862, and was now operated by the London & North Eastern Railway.

Naming an individual locomotive after a train service hauled by many different locos has always caused confusion, but in 1928 it was this particular engine that inaugurated the first non-stop service on the route, with a scheduled time of 8 hours and 15 minutes.

Over a 40-year working career, it also hauled express trains on routes including London to Leeds and London to Manchester, travelling more than two million miles in all.

On the return run from Leeds in November 1934, Flying Scotsman reached an officially recorded speed of 100mph, the first steam locomotive to do so.

Converted to A3-class, with a larger boiler, it was redesignated No60103 for service with British Railways following the nationalisation of the network in 1948. It was finally retired from scheduled service in 1963, as steam was being replaced by diesel traction.

Flying Scotsman was saved from the scrapyard by businessmen Alan Pegler and later William McAlpine, becoming a tourist attraction on tours of the UK, USA and Australia.

Bought for the nation in 2004, it is now part of the collection of the National Railway Museum in York, with an extensive rebuild completed in 2016.

The issue comprises eight counter-sheet stamps, all based on 21st-century photographs of the locomotive, and a four-stamp miniature sheet, reproducing advertisements for the London-to-Edinburgh train service in the 1920s and 1930s.

Designed by Steers McGillan Eves, the issue is printed in litho by Cartor Security Printers, with the sheet stamps available in se tenant pairs.

1st class PICKERING, 2016
Flying Scotsman at Pickering Station on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway in 2016.

1st class YORKSHIRE DALES, 2019
Flying Scotsman as the ‘Christmas Dalesman’ steam special in the Yorkshire Dales in 2019.

1st class RIBBLEHEAD VIADUCT, 2017
Flying Scotsman as the ‘Cathedrals Express’, crossing the Ribblehead Viaduct in the Yorkshire Dales in 2017.

1st class BLYTH, 2016
Flying Scotsman steaming through Blyth in Northumberland in 2016.

£1.85 HEAP BRIDGE, 2016
Flying Scotsman fighting through a blizzard on the East Lancashire Railway at Heap Bridge near Bury in 2016.

Flying Scotsman as the ‘Cathedrals Express’, crossing the Royal Border Bridge at Berwick-upon-Tweed in 2016.

£1.85 LONDON, 2002
Flying Scotsman at Victoria Station in London in 2002.

£1.85 SHILDON, 2019
Close-up detail of the Flying Scotsman at Shildon in County Durham in 2019.


‘Scotland by the Night Scotsman’ poster, designed by Robert Bartlett in 1932.

‘LNER train service to and from England’ advertisement, designed by H L Oakley in 1923.

‘Edinburgh: Mons Meg’ poster, designed by Frank Newbould in 1935.

‘Refuelling the Flying Scotsman’ poster, designed by Frank Newbould in 1932.


A press sheet of 15 imperforate and unguillotined miniature sheets is offered in a limited edition of 462.

A presentation pack, first day covers, coin covers and stamp cards are also available.


Set of 8 stamps £11.20
Miniature sheet £5.60
Presentation pack £17.70
First day cover (stamps) £14.10
First day cover (mini sheet) £7.40
Coin covers from £17.50
Press sheet £84.00
Stamp cards £5.85


This one of the world’s most famous locos, albeit partly due to its confusion with a transformational train service

Restricting the images to modern photographs is a questionable decision, resulting in a loss of variety

Some of these stamps will look very attractive and eye-catching on cover