THE celebrated train, the Flying Scotsman, made its first post-war, non-stop journey from London to Edinburgh on June 1, 1948.

The Lord Mayor of London, Sir Frederick Wells, went to platform 8 at King’s Cross to wave it off. The train awaited him, gleaming with fresh paint but now bearing - rather sketchily inscribed, on the tender, the legend of British Rail, which had not long come into being.

The Lord Mayor shook hands with the train’s driver and fireman, then with the guard, to whom he gave a letter to be delivered to the Lord Provost of Edinburgh. At 10am the station master handed Sir Frederick a green flag, and the train was waved off.

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Apart from the restaurant cars, it was an entirely new train. “The steel coaches,” wrote our Fleet Street correspondent, “are air-conditioned, there is a buffet lounge car, and ladies’ rooms for both first- and third-class passengers.” Its driver, one McLeod, had worked on the Scotsman between Edinburgh and Newcastle for years. Neither he nor the fireman, Mr Inglis, had ever been in London before.

Today’s photograph was taken at Waverley the day before, as the Scostman prepared to make its first non-stop journey down south since the end of the war. The driver, William Bell, of Edinburgh, was at pains to make sure the train was in full working order, and is seen here oiling wheel bearings before setting off.