All aboard for return of steam to Borders line

STEAM trains will start running on the Borders Railway on 10 September, ScotRail announced today as tickets went on sale.

The Borders line will have three-times weekly steam services. Picture: Neil Hanna

The thrice-weekly services will be hauled by the A4 class locomotive Union of South Africa, which pulled London-Edinburgh expresses between the 1930s and 1960s.

They will operate on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays for six weeks on the line between Edinburgh and Tweedbank, near Galashiels, which re-opens on 6 September after a gap of 46 years.

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Adult return tickets start at £40, which includes ScotRail travel to Edinburgh.

However, up to six regular ScotRail trains a day will have to be cancelled to make room for the trains because much of the line is single track.

That would reduce their half-hourly frequency to hourly for parts of the day.

Last month, ScotRail ran its first steam trains for decades to Inverness and Carlisle.

Customer experience director Jacqueline Taggart said: “These steam journeys will give people a chance to appreciate the new Borders Railway from the wonderful setting of a vintage steam train.

“This is a fabulous opportunity to showcase the country’s newest railway line, and in such a romantic style.”

Transport minister Derek Mackay said: “Steam services running on the re-opened Borders Railway really will recapture the golden age of Scottish rail travel.”

VisitScotland chairman Mike Cantlay said: “I’m convinced the addition of steam trains will make our new railway one of Scotland’s most sought-after attractions.”