My second bit of new railway on the trip, and steam hauled as well! The new Borders Railway running from Edinburgh to Tweedbank opened earlier in September. Most of the line is a re-opening of part of the Edinburgh to Carlisle "Waverley" route, with a little bit of brand new railway at the Edinburgh end. In order to test the tourist potential of the new line, Scotrail arranged to run steam trains three times a week in September and October. (The Queen travelled on one to open the railway, but she had a somewhat posher carriage than I did.) Out of interest I checked the web site the day before my trip, and all the steam specials through to the end of October are fully booked.
The train arrived at Edinburgh hauled by a diesel and those of us in the last carriage had to take the steam engine on the other end on trust until we set off and could see the clouds of steam and smoke!
After a scenic run through the Borders countryside we reached the end of the line at Tweedbank, and everyone could have a chance to take a quick picture of 60009 Union Of South Africa which had hauled us here. (Don't tell anyone, but the diesel on the back had been assisting at some points in the journey.)
There's nothing at Tweedbank, just a large car park and a few houses, so I soon took a normal local train one stop up the line to the better equipped destination of Galashiels (Where I visited the Wetherspoon's.) There was also a chance for a brief stroll around the town. Here's a shot of the war memorial.
Back at Galashiels station, here's one of the normal Borders Railway trains picking up quite a few passengers, and then eventually the special arrived to pick us up, now with the diesel in charge and the steam engine on the back.
Back at Edinburgh, one last chance to look over Union Of South Africa.
This hill, located in Central Edinburgh, affords some fine views of the city and beyond.
The hill is the location of a number of special buildings. This is the Nelson Monument.
The National Monument, sometimes known as Scotland's Disgrace, was designed as a memorial to soldiers and sailors lost in the Napoleonic Wars and nearly two hundred years later it remains unfinished.
The City Observatory
The Dugald Stewart Monument is a memorial to the Scottish philosopher Dugald Stewart (1753-1828).
Finally, er, I'm not sure what this building is.
A quick trip to Glasgow for an interesting tour of Central Station.
Underneath the platforms are tunnels originally used for coal and grain deliveries to the city.
And deeper still, a disused platform, part of the Glasgow Central Railway.
I concluded my Edinburgh holiday with a visit to the Royal Botanic Garden.
The glasshouses are extensive, with a wide range of environments.
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