Follow VisitScotland

Full steam ahead this summer

Press Release   •   Jun 08, 2018 10:34 BST

The Flying Scotsman recently crossed the Forth Rail Bridge. Passengers on the Black Five locomotive this summer will have the opportunity to travel from the Fife Coast to the Scottish Borders. Tony Marsh photo credit

A STEAM train experience that features Scotland’s latest World Heritage Site and newest railway line returns to the timetable again this summer.

Passengers on the Scottish Railway Preservation Society’s Railtours steam special will have the opportunity to take in views of the new Queensferry Crossing as they cross the iconic Forth Rail Bridge from the Fife Coast to the Scottish Borders.

SRPS ran four Fife Coast to Scottish Borders trips in August 2017, each of which was sold out carrying a total of 1,600 people.

This year the Black Five steam locomotive will again travel along the Borders Railway when it makes its return to the route that takes in two of Scotland’s Great Scenic Rail Routes for a second year.

Passengers will be able to board the steam train in Linlithgow before travelling over the Forth Rail Bridge and round the Fife coast before heading south on the Borders Railway to Tweedbank every Sunday in August.

VisitScotland expects the steam experience to provide an important boost to the local economy in the Scottish Borders after it attracted thousands of visitors to the region last year and benefited local businesses and visitor attractions. As part of the Borders Railway Blueprint partnership, the national tourism organisation seeks to maximise benefits from the new Borders Railway.

VisitScotland Regional Leadership Director, Paula Ward, said: “The steam train special from Fife, through Edinburgh and travelling down the Borders Railway to Tweedbank last year proved a runaway success with many of the days completely selling out.

“It really is a fantastic opportunity to step back in time and enjoy a relaxing day out to the Scottish Borders, taking in the spectacular scenery and discover two of Scotland’s great scenic rail journeys.

“Without a doubt, passengers are in for an unforgettable day out – they can sit back and relax and take in the picturesque beauty of the Fife coast, the iconic Edinburgh Waverley station, with plenty to see and do when they arrive in the Scottish Borders – all topped off with quality local food and drink.

“The return of the steam train experience provides an important boost to the local economy and continues to shine the spotlight on the quality of tourism offering in these regions.”

The special steam excursions will operate on every Sunday in August. They depart from Linlithgow and cross the Unesco World Heritage Site, the Forth Rail Bridge, before travelling onto Kinghorn, Burntisland and Aberdour. After stopping at Dalgety Bay, the journey continues south over the Bridge once again to Edinburgh then along the 31-mile route of the Borders Railway to Galashiels and Tweedbank.

Passengers will be able to enjoy more than two hours in the Borders before the return journey, with additional trips to Melrose, Galashiels, Abbotsford House and local restaurants also available.

Scottish Borders Council’s Executive Member for Business and Economic Development, Councillor Mark Rowley, added: “We are delighted to work alongside SRPS and our Borders Railway Blueprint partners to bring back the steam train experience in 2018 after a hugely successful 2017.

“The fact that all four trips were sold out – bringing 1,600 people to the Scottish Borders – was testament to the offering by SRPS, which included spending the afternoon in our wonderful area with plenty to see and do, and quality local food and drink available.

“I am sure that the 2018 steam train days out will be another fantastic occasion on one of Scotland’s great scenic rail journeys.”

SRPS Railtours is a trading subsidiary of The Scottish Railway Preservation Society, charity which owns and maintains former British Rail coaches. The tours are organised and staffed by unpaid volunteers with proceeds from the railtours going to the charity to be used to restore rolling stock and locomotives of historical value.

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. The return journey 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 trains will be operated by West Coast Railways.

For more information on the rail experiences and add-on ticketing offers to Abbotsford House, Melrose and Seasons in Gattonside, please visit: www.srps.org.uk/borders

For more information on Scotland’s Great Rail Journeys, visit: www.visitscotland.com/see-do/tours/railway/great-rail-journeys/

Notes to Editors

  • Follow us on twitter: @visitscotnews
  • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
  • The organisation’s core objective is to contribute to the Tourism 2020 Strategy ambition of growing tourism revenues by £1 billion by 2020.
  • This will be supported by five overarching strategies: Marketing, Events, Quality and Sustainability, Inclusive Tourism, International Engagement.
  • The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
  • Spending by tourists in Scotland generates around £12 billion of economic activity in the wider Scottish supply chain and contributes around £6 billion to Scottish GDP (in basic prices). This represents about 5% of total Scottish GDP
  • For VisitScotland’s press releases go to http://www.visitscotland.org/media_centre.aspx, tourism statistics and frequently asked questions go to http://www.visitscotland.org/
  • Where possible, a Gaelic speaker will be made available for broadcast interviews on request (Far an tèid iarraidh, agus far am bheil sin nar comas, bruidhinnidh neach le Gàidhlig aig agallamh)
  • For holiday information on Scotland go to www.visitscotland.com
  • For information about business tourism in Scotland go to www.conventionscotland.com

2018 Year of Young People

  • The Year of Young People (YoYP 2018) will inspire Scotland through its young people aged 8 to 26, celebrating their achievements, valuing their contributions to communities and creating new opportunities for them to shine locally, nationally and globally
  • Central to YoYP 2018 will be a celebratory events programme that puts young people at the heart of its development and delivery, creating new and valuable experiences for young Scots and the wider public, with links to the inaugural 2018 European Championships.
  • Over 200 young people throughout Scotland are currently being recruited to become YoYP 2018 Ambassadors. Ambassadors will ensure that people and organisations in their communities know about what’s happening and will lead on projects and activities to create events and opportunities to celebrate young people.
  • The Year of Young People will have six themes which were developed in co-production with young people themselves:
  • Participation – looking at how young people can influence public services and decisions which affect their lives
  • Education – creating a stronger role for young people in shaping their learning
  • Health and Wellbeing – supporting young people to lead healthier, active lives and have opportunities to learn about and improve their mental health and resilience
  • Equality and Discrimination – broadcasting the value of young Scots, challenging negative perceptions of young people, and supporting young people to take leading roles in challenging discrimination in all its forms.
  • Enterprise and regeneration – celebrating young people’s role in innovation, entrepreneurship and the Scottish economy as well as making Scotland a greener and more pleasant place to live
  • Culture – celebrating young people’s talent and contribution to Scottish culture and arts.
  • Further information on what’s happening and how people can get involved can be found on the new website www.yoyp2018.scot or @YOYP2018 on Twitter.