Lonely Planet Writer

Iconic train Flying Scotsman crosses Forth Bridge in triumphant visit to Scotland

One of the world’s most famous trains has crossed the Forth Bridge as the Flying Scotsman marked its return to Scotland.Hundreds of people gathered at stations and vantage points to catch a glimpse of the restored steam engine as it took to the Borders, Midlothian and Fife on Sunday.

Flying Scotsman makes its way along the new Borders rail route near Heriot
(Andrew Milligan/PA)

The train left Edinburgh’s Waverley station shortly before 11am, where officials estimated 800 people turned out to see it depart for Tweedbank in the Borders.

Hundreds more lined the route in parts and congregated at places such as Galashiels and Tweedbank to get a closer look at the locomotive.

Engine fireman Gordon Hodgson, 77, from Carlisle
(John Linton/PA)

After a return to Waverley, Flying Scotsman headed to Fife with a new group of passengers on board as it crossed the famous Forth Bridge.

People gathered at vantage points in North and South Queensferry to watch the locomotive cross the distinctive red bridge that has carried trains over the Forth since 1890.

Flying Scotsman makes its way across the Forth Bridge
(John Linton/PA)

Hundreds of pictures of the crossing were posted on social media by those watching from the shore and people on board.

The meeting of the two engineering masterpieces nearly did not happen after Network Rail cancelled Flying Scotsman’s planned trip.

The Flying Scotsman passes over the Royal Border Bridge that spans the River Tweed
( Danny Lawson/PA)

The track operator said on Friday night that the locomotive would no longer be able to complete its tour because it had not been able to carry out safety assessments on some lines.

The decision dismayed hundreds of rail enthusiasts planning to see the recently refurbished steam engine, and after an outcry led by Scotland’s Transport Minister Derek Mackay, Network Rail reversed its position and said checks had been carried out overnight to allow the train to take to the track.

Flying Scotsman arrives to crowds of people at Tweedbank railway
(John Linton/PA)

The engine arrived at Waverley to fanfare on Saturday evening and Network Rail chief executive Mark Carne offered a “wholehearted and sincere apology” for the earlier cancellation which Mackay described as a “debacle”.

An investigation is still to take place into the reasons for the premature cancellation.

The Flying Scotsman passes the Holy Island,
(Owen Humphreys/PA)

Built in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, in 1923, Flying Scotsman pulled the first train to break the 100mph barrier in 1934.

The National Railway Museum in York bought the locomotive for £2.3 million in 2004 before work got under way on its decade-long restoration two years later.