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VIDEO - Four Trains Event in York - Foot crossings to close

York station east coast main line

4:46pm 21st April 2017
(Updated 4:56am 23rd April 2017)

A world first will take place in Yorkshire to celebrate the heritage and future of one of the country’s most iconic railway lines.

Four trains spanning four generations will travel side by side, in the same direction, along the East Coast Main Line on Sunday morning.

Yorkshire’s DNA of speed and style through the ages binds together an event that fittingly comes just days before the now legendary ‘Tour de Yorkshire’ begins.

This will be a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the world famous Flying Scotsman travel alongside two trains from Virgin Trains’ revitalised fleet - an HST (Class 43), an intercity225 (Class 91) - and the rail operator’s brand new train, the Virgin Azuma (Class 800) which is being built by Hitachi in the North East, and will come into service in 2018.


Four Trains

Four Trains

Four Trains


VIDEO - The new Azuma Train first seen in York last year and captured on film by Minster FM


Now the partners involved in the show - Network Rail, Virgin Trains, Welcome to Yorkshire, the National Railway Museum and Hitachi have confirmed the details. 

The historic occasion is to begin at 6.00am on Sunday morning ( 23 April ) near the North Yorkshire village of Tollerton.

With the eyes of the world watching, four trains spanning four generations will travel side by side, in the same direction before arriving into York at around 08.00am for a special celebration that will last until around 09.00am.

There will be no passengers on the trains.

All the foot crossings between Tollerton and York will be closed too.

LISTEN -  David Horne MD Virgin Trains East Coast


The foot crossings include ones at Shipton and also Tollerton and will be closed for safety reasons. There will be no access to the track at these locations during the event

Picture - Newton Sidings, Shipton

Benningbrough Level Crossing Rail


One of the best views of the action will be from York station – where a giant screen will broadcast footage of the trains live, and members of the public are advised to head to the station.

Those hoping to catch a glimpse of the trains as they travel between Tollerton and the station are being urged to stay safe behind boundary fences and keep off both the tracks and private land - trespassers will cause the trains to stop and put at risk the completion of both this event and any future plans to showcase the route and its iconic locos.

The historic journey has been organised by Virgin Trains, Welcome to Yorkshire, Network Rail and the National Railway Museum.


Extra Bus services

In conjunction with City of York Council, First York will be operating early morning bus services this Sunday 23rd April, in anticipation of high numbers of visitors planning to attend a historic and once in a lifetime event taking place at York train station.

First York will be opening its Askham Bar Park & Ride site early.

Buses will operate from 06:50 to allow visitors the chance to travel to York station for the momentous event.

Three buses will leave Askham Bar Park & Ride and travel to York Station at 06:50, 07:15 and 07:40 and usual fares will apply. Regular bus services will then commence at 09:30 from Askham Bar Park & Ride and 09:50 from York Station.


Class 800 Virgin Train York April 2016 Test


Rob McIntosh, Managing Director for Network Rail on the London North Eastern and East Midlands route, said:

“I am delighted that we have been able to create such a prestigious and unique event for the people of Yorkshire.

The area has a very proud rail heritage and by working closely with our industry partners we’ve been able to turn what has been a logistically challenging vision – to create an iconic railway moment on the East Coast Main Line without impacting on regular passengers - into what will be a truly special occasion.”

David Horne, Managing Director for Virgin Trains on the east coast, said:

“Just one year on from unveiling our brand new Virgin Azuma trains, we’re delighted to present this unique event that showcases the past, present and future of rail travel in the UK, with Azuma travelling alongside 'Flying Scotsman' and trains from our current fleet.

With our new Azuma trains entering service next year, this is an opportunity to celebrate the icons of the railways and look forward to 2018 when we’ll usher in a new era for travel on the East Coast route."

Sir Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said:

“This is a major event for Yorkshire and something people will remember for decades. It once again shows how the county is leading the way and to top it off, it’s the weekend before the Tour de Yorkshire so will get the build up to the race off to a flying start!”


Class 800 Virgin Train York April 2016 Test


Paul Kirkman, director for the National Railway Museum in York which owns the Flying Scotsman, said:

“The East Coast Main Line has long been famed for speed and style. In the 19th century elegant locomotives were designed to haul trains on this route cementing its reputation as a railway racing stretch operated by thoroughbred engines. The four train line up epitomises the evolution of the later generation of fast, elegant and stylish trains - all with a shared bloodline - that epitomise the history of the route from the 1850s to today.

“The National Railway Museum is proud that Flying Scotsman, a symbol of engineering excellence, the first steam locomotive to achieve an authenticated speed of 100mph and the first to undertake a non-stop run between London King’s Cross and Edinburgh Waverley, is taking its place alongside such worthy successors to its speed and style mantle.”


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