Chilling evidence has emerged of trainspotters deploying drone hordes after a UAV collided with the rear carriage of the Flying Scotsman over the weekend.
The legendary locomotive - which recently steamed out of a £4.2m refurbishment - was travelling on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway (NYMR) last Sunday afternoon when passengers clocked a UAV "on the left-hand side of the train and thought it must be taking photos", as eyewitness Linda Wild put it to the Yorkshire Post.
She continued: "The next thing we knew there was an almighty crash - it sounded like it had crashed into the roof. It was such a shock and could have caused a major accident. What if it had gone through the window?"
A shaken Wild said "that the incident had scared her and left her with huge concerns about the use of drones and their safety".*
Liz Parkes, NYMR's head of operations, confirmed reports of a drone "grazing" the train, and said the matter "is currently being investigated by the NYMR and British Transport Police".
She added: "While no damage was caused, obviously drones are distracting to our drivers and could result in a criminal prosecution for endangering trains."
Drones permitting, the Flying Scotsman will again be plying its trade on the NYMR on Saturday and Sunday, before continuing its pretty well sold out UK tour. ®
*I'm getting old and cynical, so here's how I imagine that particular conversation:
Reporter: "So, it was a bit of a shock then?"
Eyewitness: "Yes, what if it had gone through the window?"
Reporter: "Exactly. Something that scary must have left you with huge concerns about the use of drones and their safety?"