For steam enthusiasts, 2016 promises to be the most exciting year for a decade as the world famous locomotive returns to the railway.
Ian MacCabe thinks millions of fans will line the tracks to welcome Flying Scotsman back to the rail network following its STG4.2 million ($A8.49 million), 10-year refit.
Mr MacCabe has been a devotee of the green-and-black engine for almost as long as he can remember and is one of the founders and trustees of the Gresley Society – named after Sir Nigel Gresley, Flying Scotsman’s designer.
“There’ll be millions there trackside to watch it,” he said.
“When it was restored last time there were crowds of people at every single station and I think there’ll be twice as many this time.
“There’ll be absolutely millions of people out there. It’s just loved that much.”
Mr MacCabe said he first remembers seeing Flying Scotsman when he was about four years old.
Then, in 1962, when he was only 12 years old, he was so horrified that the British Railways Board had missed Flying Scotsman off its list of steam locomotives for preservation he joined the Gresley A3 Preservation Society, selling postcards at sixpence a time to school friends and putting up SOS (Save Our Scotsman) posters all over his town.
Now he thinks the enduring popularity of Flying Scotsman is down to Sir Nigel.
“I think he got the design so right first time,” he said.
“It’s just such a beautiful, well-balanced machine.”
Mr MacCabe added: “It’s a magical piece of engineering artwork.
“It’s the best-looking locomotive there’s ever been. It’s no coincidence many of its class are named after racehorses.”
Flying Scotsman was built in Doncaster in 1923 and soon became the star locomotive of the British railway system, pulling the first train to break the 100mph (160.9km/h) barrier in 1934 and ending up synonymous with the cocktail bar image of the service it was named after.
The engine will return in the Brunswick Green colour of its British Railways days. Mr MacCabe said this decision has upset some purists who believe it should have returned to the original Apple Green of its paint in the 1920s and 1930s.
The National Railway Museum bought the locomotive for STG2.3 million in 2004 and work began on it in 2006.
Flying Scotsman is due back at the National Railway Museum (NRM) in York this year and plans are already advanced for its inaugural run from London Kings Cross to Yorkshire in February.
A host of events have been organised to celebrate the return of the locomotive and The Flying Scotsman service, after which the engine was named.
These events will include Stunts, Speed And Style, which will enable visitors to get on board the cabs of four of the locomotives that hauled The Flying Scotsman service, including the one bearing its name.
Another, called Service With Style, will use three carriages of the kind that travelled The Flying Scotsman route. It will feature archive news footage to allow visitors to experience “a story of speed, innovation, fame and luxury in a sensory way”.