Engine ‘fanatic’ Titchmarsh thrilled to join Flying Scotsman for line reopening

Engine ‘fanatic’ Titchmarsh thrilled to join Flying Scotsman for line reopening

Celebrity gardener Alan Titchmarsh was joined by Flying Scotsman for the official reopening of a heritage steam railway.

The classic steam train was packed with enthusiasts and local dignitaries for the relaunching of Mid-Hants Railway’s Watercress Line.

The event was held following the completion of works to rebuild nearby White Lane Down Bridge on the line which runs from Alresford to Alton, Hampshire.

Alan Titchmarsh shovels coal into the boiler of Flying Scotsman (Andrew Matthews/PA)
Alan Titchmarsh shovels coal into the boiler of Flying Scotsman (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Mr Titchmarsh said: “It’s the most wonderful timewarp, you come over the bridge to the Watercress Line and you are back in your childhood.

“The wonderful thing about locomotives like Flying Scotsman is they breathe, they are living, she’s panting, just waiting to get back to Alresford.

“What an enormous honour it is for me, a life-long steam engine fanatic, to be able to be here today.”

Watercress Line director Simon Baggott said: “It was a landmark moment as Flying Scotsman travelled across the new White Lane Down Bridge, surrounded by 300 local school children waving flags before arriving into Alton Station and breaking a banner to officially reopen the line.”

Alan Titchmarsh poses for a photograph with the crew of Flying Scotsman (Andrew Matthews/PA)
Alan Titchmarsh poses for a photograph with the crew of Flying Scotsman (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Flying Scotsman cost £7,944 to build in 1923 and it became the first locomotive to reach 100mph before British Railways withdrew the locomotive from service in 1963.

It was purchased by the National Railway Museum in 2004 and was restored with £4.2 million from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the Heritage Lottery Fund as well as from public donations.

More on this topic

Muslims ‘looking over their shoulders’ after London mosque stabbingMuslims ‘looking over their shoulders’ after London mosque stabbing

Britain First leader Paul Golding charged under the Terrorism ActBritain First leader Paul Golding charged under the Terrorism Act

Warning to not water down Windrush report branding British Home Office 'institutionally racist' Warning to not water down Windrush report branding British Home Office 'institutionally racist'

British backpacker Grace Millane’s mother tells killer of her tormentBritish backpacker Grace Millane’s mother tells killer of her torment

More in this Section

Dot-to-Dot, the Scottish seal pup, returned to the wild after suprising rescueDot-to-Dot, the Scottish seal pup, returned to the wild after suprising rescue

Cork Opera House begin the hunt for new Chitty Chitty Bang Bang starsCork Opera House begin the hunt for new Chitty Chitty Bang Bang stars

Schoolboy who wrote to Jurgen Klopp to appear on Late Late with Roy KeaneSchoolboy who wrote to Jurgen Klopp to appear on Late Late with Roy Keane

Pablo Picasso lights up London's Piccadilly in rarely-seen art film footagePablo Picasso lights up London's Piccadilly in rarely-seen art film footage


Lifestyle

Veterinary medicine is a demanding career, leading to mental health problems for some vets.Elephant in the clinic: Helpline offers support to vets with mental health difficulties

Bonnie Ryan couldn’t be happier.On a roll: Why Bonnie Ryan couldn't be happier

From Ireland to America and fashion to homeswares, designer Helen James is developing interiors products for the high street with an emphasis on sustainability, beauty and function, writes Carol O’CallaghanConsider this: Meet Helen James

Laura Harding goes on location to see where the new adaptation of Jane Austen's Emma was shotBehind the Scenes: Getting the inside story on the movie Emma

More From The Irish Examiner