It’s full steam ahead for Scotland’s newest scenic rail route thanks to the Scottish Railway Preservation Society.
For the first time passengers can board a steam train, hauled by a Black Five steam locomotive, in West Lothian and Fife to cross the Forth Rail Bridge and travel over the new Borders Railway.
The journey begins in Linlithgow before travelling over the Forth Rail Bridge and round the Fife coast before heading south on the Borders Railway, which is coming up for two years since it was to Tweedbank Borders Railway, coming up for two years since it was officially opened by the Queen.
The route, which will run to Tweedbank, will run every Sunday in August, allowing passengers to spend two hours in the Borders before the return journey.
Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland chief executive, said: “As well as providing another unique opportunity to showcase the recently opened Borders Railway, passengers on board the train will be able to enjoy the picturesque beauty of the Fife coast and the breath-taking experience of crossing the Forth Rail Bridge by steam engine.
“It also presents a unique opportunity to travel from the heart of Edinburgh city centre where Sir Walter Scott is celebrated right through the rich heritage and beautiful and inspiring landscape of the Scottish Borders to the home of the famous author at Abbotsford House.
“The Borders Railway has had a massive impact on the local economy since it was re-opened less than two years ago and opportunities like this continue to shine the global spotlight on the quality of tourism offering in this country.”
Scottish Railway Preservation Society owns and maintains the former British Rail coaches. The Black Five locomotive was designed by Sir William Stanier for the London, Midland & Scottish railway and a total of 842 were built between 1934 and 1951.
Roger Haynes, SRPS Railtours commercial director said: “SRPS Railtours are organised and staffed by unpaid volunteers with proceeds from the railtours used to restore rolling stock and locomotives of historical value. We would urge passengers across the country and further afield to take part in this rail tour to discover the truly magical experience that awaits them and the spectacular scenery to be enjoyed.”
Rob Dickson, Scottish Borders Council’s corporate transformation and services director, said: “The offering this year will provide a day to remember for all on board, crossing the Forth Rail Bridge before travelling along the Borders Railway to spend the afternoon in our wonderful area with plenty to see and do, and quality local food and drink available.
“I am delighted the Scottish Rail Preservation Society is hosting the steam train days out this year, and with support from the Borders Railway Blueprint group partners, I am sure passengers will enjoy a fantastic occasion.
“It is clear that the Borders Railway is now becoming one of the great scenic rail journeys to experience.”