Train-mad Harrogate pupil the youngest on board the Flying Scotsman

A locomotive-mad Harrogate youngster enjoyed the trip of a lifetime when he became the youngest person on board the Flying Scotsman's inaugural journey on Thursday.

Tuesday, 1st March 2016, 1:59 pm
Updated Tuesday, 1st March 2016, 2:06 pm
Zach alongside Michael Portillo (s)

Ten-year-old Zach Southworth was able to live out his dreams when he travelled from King's Cross Station in London to York on the historic train.

The engine, which was retired from service in 1963, was completing its first trip since a £4.5m restoration project that took ten years to finish.

Hundreds of thousands of enthusiasts turned out at train stations across the country, some even venturing onto the tracks, to catch a glimpse of the train.

But Zach was able to go one step further when he hopped aboard the world's most famous steam locomotive and watching the wheels turn first-hand.

Zach said he felt 'incredibly lucky' that his father was able to keep his promise and buy him a ticket for a journey he'll never forget.

He said: "I've been obsessed with trains ever since I can remember and we've been going to the National Railway Museum since we moved to Harrogate when I was three.

"The first I heard that we had tickets to be on the train was two weeks before half-term and I almost cried when my dad told me.

"It was an incredible day. We met Michael Portillo and he signed my copy of Bradshaw's and I even got to hold his original copy.

"The journey was amazing, I never wanted to get off. I felt incredibly lucky that we managed to get on."

Days after the journey, Zach wowed his friends at Oatlands Junior School with a presentation and pictures of his dream day.

In the week leading up to his trip on the Flying Scotsman, Zach's mum, Zoe Southworth, said her son was more excited than he was for Christmas.

She said: "It was about four years ago that the locomotive was in the railway museum and for ages he just used to stand and look at it.

"It was a really surreal day for him because he's always the Great British Railway Journeys programme and the first person he saw was Mr Portillo.

"He was almost as excited by that as about the train ride. He couldn't even speak at first because he was so in awe but Michael was lovely with him.

"Zach really enjoyed the whole day, they were in the Cornish Riviera Pullman Coach, had a champagne breakfast then went to the new exhibition at the National Railway Museum."