Flying Scotsman to return for Scottish trips in May

Flying Scotsman heading over the Forth Bridge in May last year. Picture: Myles Fitt
Flying Scotsman heading over the Forth Bridge in May last year. Picture: Myles Fitt
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Flying Scotsman is returning to Scotland for two trips over Forth Bridge in May, a year after 50,000 people turned out to see the newly-restored locomotive steam through the Borders and Fife, it was announced today.

The 94-year-old engine will haul excursions from Edinburgh round Fife and along the Forth via Stirling on Sunday, 14 May.

The latter trip, through Culross and Alloa, is believed be the first time Flying Scotsman has travelled on the so-called “Forth Circle”.

Campaigners want the disused Dunfermline-Alloa section - previously used by coal trains to the now-closed Longannet Power Station - re-opened for passenger services.

News of the trips confirms The Scotsman’s revelation after last year’s visit that the locomotive would be back.

BACKGROUND: Flying Scotsman to visit Scotland next year after sell-out trips

Organisers Steam Dreams expect seats on the “Cathedrals Express” trips to sell out quickly after going on sale this morning.

The firm said it had received clearance from Network Rail for the services, after last year’s trips nearly had to be cancelled at the last minute because the necessary checks had not been completed.

Network Rail confirmed: “Gauging survey work has been done. Nothing found to stop trips.”

Tickets range from £69 to £215.

Steam Dreams chairman Marcus Robertson said: “Although Flying Scotsman was built in England, it feels very much that the locomotive is a Scottish icon.

“Last year’s trips were fantastically popular and earned Scotland publicity all over the world.

“We’ve had a lot of help from our friends at Network Rail here in Scotland, and ScotRail themselves, who have worked incredibly hard to make all this possible, along with of course, the National Railway Museum in York, who are the custodians of Flying Scotsman.”

The locomotive, designed by Edinburgh-born Sir Nigel Gresley, hauled the Flying Scotsman train between Edinburgh and London, and other expresses for 40 years.

It became the first steam engine to reach 100mph, in 1934, and made the longest non-stop steam trip, of 422 miles in Australia in 1989.

Flying Scotsman’s £4.2 million restoration was completed last year after it was saved by the museum.