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Last Updated: Monday, 5 April, 2004, 13:07 GMT 14:07 UK
Flying Scotsman to stay in the UK
Flying Scotsman saved

The battle to stop the world famous Flying Scotsman locomotive being sold abroad has been won by a UK museum.

The famous steam train will now go on display at the National Railway Museum in York after its sealed bid, backed by Sir Richard Branson, proved successful.

Delays in building an Edinburgh visitor centre for the 80-year-old A3 class loco prompted its owners to auction it.

This led to fears that the locomotive, which was built in Doncaster, would go to a foreign buyer.

The offer from the National Railway Museum included 365,000 raised through a public appeal, matched by a donation from Sir Richard Branson on behalf of the Virgin Group.

The National Heritage Memorial Fund also stepped in with a grant of 1.8m.

A bit more was needed and I was very happy to help
Sir Richard Branson

The donations received will also be used to ensure locomotive No 4472, as it is officially known, is fit for main line operation.

A kilted Sir Richard Branson showed off the Flying Scotsman on Monday.

Dressed in a Hunting Stuart tartan, the Virgin chief sprayed champagne over the engine at Southall Railway Centre in west London.

Sir Richard said: "We have seen too much of Britain's heritage disappear of late and the public have been fantastic in contributing towards saving this loco.

"A bit more was needed and I was very happy to help."

Sir Richard Branson
Sir Richard Branson celebrated with champagne

Sir Richard intends to be one of the passengers on the next public trip that the Flying Scotsman will take which is planned for 29 May this year.

The locomotive will travel from Doncaster to York to mark the beginning of Railfest, a National Railway Museum celebration of the bi-centenary of steam locomotives.

It is also intended that the Flying Scotsman will do public runs between York and Scarborough this summer.

The head of the National Railway Museum, Andrew Scott, said: "This has been a tremendous victory for the nation.

"We have received thousands of donations and messages of support from people of all ages and backgrounds."

The BBC's Robert Hall
"Donations flooded in as the Scotsman's fans responded to the call for help"

Museum submits its Scotsman bid
01 Apr 04  |  North Yorkshire
Branson backs Flying Scotsman bid
28 Mar 04  |  North Yorkshire
Pocket money boosts Scotsman fund
24 Mar 04  |  West Yorkshire
Peers back bid to save Scotsman
22 Mar 04  |  North Yorkshire
Flying Scotsman up for sale
17 Feb 04  |  Scotland


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