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National Rail forced to pay £60,000 in fines after spectators cause delays

The Flying Scotsman, painted in its traditional colours, passes through York Photo: PA

Rail enthusiasts are being urged to keep off the tracks as Flying Scotsman begins its tour of England and Scotland after the inaugural run following a decade-long refit was marred by trespassers.

Taxpayer-funded Network Rail (NR) was forced to pay out almost £60,000 in compensation when 59 train services were delayed by people encroaching on the track to get as close as possible to the famous locomotive as it travelled from London to York on February 2.

All trains on the East Coast Main Line were temporarily stopped, causing a combined total of more than eight hours of delays.

While the turnout to see Flying Scotsman so far has shown the passion and support for steam engines, and indeed the railway itself, the images of people stood on the railway taking photographs were deeply concerning and a breach of our safe operations.

I cannot stress enough how dangerous it is to go onto the railway without any formal training and without permission, as well as being illegal.

– Phil Hufton, National Rail Managing Director
The Flying Scotsman, painted in its traditional colours, passes through Peterborough railway station Credit: PA

The National Railway Museum (NRM) in York bought the locomotive for £2.3 million in 2004 before work got under way on its restoration in 2006.

It is not publishing the timings of its tour in a bid to reduce the chance of people disrupting mainline services.

The decision has angered a number of members of the public who were keen to catch a glimpse of Flying Scotsman.

Andrew Burnie posted on the NRM's Facebook page: "Really sad that the timings for these runs seem to have been hidden.

Built in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, in 1923, Flying Scotsman soon became the star locomotive of the British railway system, pulling the first train to break the 100mph barrier in 1934.