A young lad has followed in the footsteps of his station master great-grandpa by blowing his whistle as the Flying Scotsman rolled passed – on its 100th anniversary.
Excited Edward Almond, 3, waved his green flag while wearing treasured relative Brian Almond’s original hat when the famed locomotive steamed into the station.
The young enthusiast, joined by his dad Michael Almond, 30, even got to stand on the footplate of the train and described it as “the best day ever!”
Edward’s great-grandpa Brian spent ten years as an East Lancashire Railway station master - helping to preserve the 12-mile line which showcases Britain’s industrial heritage.
His dad Michael said he’d had many memorable days volunteering with him prior to his passing, and said his son Edward had now “bitten by the bug” for trains.
He said: “You can hear the whistle a mile away, and when he did, the excitement was written all over his face. Then you can see the steam in the distance - he was delighted.
“Me and Edward plotted up to where it stops, so when it arrived, he was able to jump on. In the car on the way home, he described it as the best day ever.
“My grandad took great pride in being a station master. When he passed, I ensured that Edward got the station master hat and whistle.
“The Flying Scotsman is Edward’s favourite train. He’s currently playing with a flying Scotsman Hornby set, which I had. It’s fair to say he’s been bitten by the bug.”
Local government worker Michael, from Bacup, Lancs., said he had grown up helping his grandfather out on the East Lancashire Railway as a youngster.
Brian began as Ramsbottom station master in 1987 - the year that the line was first re-opened by a group of volunteers - and remained in his post until 1997.
Michael would help his grandad maintain the tracks, and when he found out the Scotsman would be making an appearance on it, he made sure Edward could see it.
They viewed it from different sites between Friday and Saturday last week, and timed their visit at Rawtenstall station, its final stop, so that the lad could clamber aboard.
Michael said: “The train was completely packed, so when it came in and stops, we asked the driver if he could jump on and sit in the driver’s seat, which thankfully he was able to.
“He said, ‘If you’re quick you can.’ I was able to get him on the footplate as well, which he enjoyed immensely.”
“You could see the delight on his face, sat on the footplate on the driver’s seat.
“There’s a photo of me when I’m only a couple of weeks old, stood with my dad and grandpa alongside the flying Scotsman.
“When I took Edward as well, my dad came along too, which was nice that he could see the delight on Edward’s face.”
Michael said after Brian sadly passed away in 2019, a bench had been erected at Ramsbottom Station to honour his memory.
And it was particularly poignant that he got to see it with Edward, and his new daughter Mia, who was only born on March 9, last weekend.
He said: “I had many great memories on the East Lancs Railways, with my grandpa taking me down, and a few years ago I had a bench unveiled for him at Ramsbottom.
“It's quite a close community. He took pride in how the station looked, making sure the gardens were tidy and the tracks were clean.
“I’d go and help him clean the tracks of litter when there were no trains. It holds a special place in my heart and my memory, now he’s passed.
“We’ve also just welcomed our second child, and we took her to see her Grandpa’s bench. It was nice to combine it with the Flying Scotsman.”