School children will be given the chance to ride behind the Flying Scotsman on West Somerset Railway
THE West Somerset Railway is inviting schools to bring groups of children to ride behind the iconic Flying Scotsman locomotive when it comes to Somerset in September. Letters will be going to primary and first schools in West Somerset and Taunton Deane shortly to offer places to groups of children on trains on Tuesday, September 5. Children will ride on the first of the Flying Scotsman trains on a 40 mile round trip, one way behind Flying Scotsman and one way behind another named visiting locomotive. Each school will simply have to pay a £50 administration charge, and all tickets will be free. The schools invitations are to give schools a chance to incorporate the visit in the curriculum. The visit is for children studying at Key Stage 2 (aged 7 to 11) to use the visit for history, geography or other work in the National Curriculum. This is its first visit to the West Country for over twenty years, and the first ever to the West Somerset Railway. The Railway expects to have over 5,000 passengers riding behind the locomotive in the days it is running. West Somerset Railway general manager Paul Conibeare said: “For us, the visit of the Flying Scotsman is a big part of this year’s calendar and we want the community to share in our excitement. “We thought the best way to do this was to invite young people, through their schools, to join us on the railway for a special day out. “The railway is, potentially, a wonderful education resource and we want schools to make the maximum educational use of it, not just on this occasion but throughout the year. We want the next generation of West Somerset children to see the railway as theirs.” The Flying Scotsman was the first locomotive to officially break through the 100 miles per hour barrier, and it is now owned by the National Railway Museum, based in York. The name Flying Scotsman sometimes causes confusion, because it was first applied to an express train from London Kings Cross to Edinburgh Waverley. Sometime after the train started running the name was applied to the new express locomotive built in 1923, and this is the 94-year-old locomotive that is coming to Somerset at the end of the summer. The Flying Scotsman will be in Somerset hauling trains from September 5-12. Each day it will take two special nonstop passenger trains from Bishops Lydeard to Minehead and back – one in the morning and one in the afternoon. On four evenings there will also be evening dining trains, details of which will be announced later. Tickets will be available to order from Monday, April 3.