Linlithgow is to be the starting point for a steam-driven step back in time on a route that takes in two of Scotland’s Great Scenic Rail Routes.
Starting in August. the Sunday journeys run by the Scottish Rail Preservation Society will see a train hauled by a Black Five steam locomotive crossing the Forth Bridge.
It will be the first time that passengers can board a steam train in West Lothian and Fife to cross the Forth Bridge and travel on the new Borders Railway.
From Linlithgow the train heads over the Bridge and round the Fife coast before heading south on the Borders Railway to Tweedbank.
Passengers will be treated to spectacular views from Kinghorn, Burntisland and Aberdour along the Fife coast, then on the return run the train will steam through Princes Street Gardens before arriving at Edinburgh Waverley.
From there it will continue along the 31-mile route of the Borders Railway, stopping at Galashiels and Tweedbank.
There’s a two-hour stop in the Borders before the journey home, and trips are being arranged to Abbotsford House, the home of Sir Walter Scott, as well as to the historic towns of Melrose and Galashiels.
VisitScotland chief executive Malcolm Roughead 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.”
SRPSRailtours commercial director Roger Haynes said: “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.”
The Forth Bridge and Borders Steam Special Experience will depart from Linlithgow every Sunday in August, picking up passengers at Dunfermline, Kirkcaldy, Dalgety Bay and Edinburgh Waverley.
The return will be diesel-hauled from Tweedbank to Newcraighall, where the train will be turned on Niddrie triangle so that it can be steam-hauled for the remainder of the return journey.
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.
For more information on the rail experiences and add-on ticketing offers to Abbotsford House, Melrose and Seasons in Gattonside, visit: http://www.srps.org.uk/borders