Two significant lengths of railway that I've never travelled on before caused me to spend a pleasant few days in Edinburgh. Needless to say I found lots of other things to see and do as well.
The first new bit of railway: Edinburgh's new tram system opened in 2014, and a visit was long overdue so I took plenty of chances to have a ride, helped by the fact that my hotel was outside the city and adjacent to a tram stop.
Away from the city centre the trams run in less urban surroundings, with grass between the tracks.
There are three bridges here now: The historic rail bridge, opened in 1890, is the most well known, then there's the road bridge which dates from 1964, and finally a new road bridge is currently under construction. Although I've travelled over the rail bridge on many occasions I've never actually looked at it from outside, so I travelled to Dalmeny on a rather grey morning and walked down to South Queensferry in the shadow of the bridge.
Here you can see the road bridge and behind it one of the towers for the new crossing.
I went for a ride on the Forth Belle, one of the tourist boats offering cruises around the estuary.
A large tanker loads up with oil for export at the Hound Point Oil Terminal, located in the middle of the estuary downstream of the bridges.
Apparently porpoises can sometimes be seen in Firth of Forth but we only spotted seals.
The new bridge, to be known as the Queensferry Crossing, has been under construction since 2011 and is due to open in 2016. It is needed to replace the existing road bridge which has structural problems, although the current plan is to retain the older bridge as a public transport link.
The cruise returned to the pier, pausing to watch this cable laying ship squeeze under the bridge.
In common with many rail operators around the country, Scotrail finds itself short of diesel multiple units, so they have resorted to operating a few rush-hour services with loco and coaches, in this case using new Class 68 locomotives. I took a short ride from Edinburgh to Inverkiething, coincidentally travelling over the Forth Bridge on the way.
I travelled by tram, train and bus to Bo'ness, home of the Bo'ness and Kinneil Railway. They don't run any trains on this tourist line during the week, but I was able to visit the excellent museum at Bo'ness.
Amongst the many exhibits I found this original car from the Glasgow Subway, and an electric unit, also from Glasgow, one of the "Blue Trains" as they were called when introduced.
In the yard the autumn sunshine brought out the butterflies.
Located right in the centre of the town of Linlithgow, this ancient palace, now a ruin, was the birthplace of Mary, Queen of Scots. Above the gateway are crests of the four orders of chivalry to which James V belonged, The Order of the Garter, The Order of Thistle, The Order of the Golden Fleece and The Order of St. Michael.
Next to the palace stands the Church of St Michael.
... and on the other side is the picturesque Linlithgow Loch.
Mary, Queen of Scots.
Back at Linlithgow station I snapped a picture of this Class 170 diesel unit on an Edinburgh to Glasgow train. These are soon to be replaced by electric trains, I saw lots of new electrification masts along the line.
Continued in Part Two.
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