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The Aberdonian – 8 Aug

Thursday 8 August 2019

Let the ‘The Aberdonian’, a new steam operation for 2019, whisk you away as we take in some of the best that Scotland has to offer, both on train and off.

Crossing the Forth Bridge, the train runs along the coast for much of its route making it an unrivalled way to experience Scotland. In Aberdeen there is a chance to explore this historic city, or take one of our off train excursions that include a castle or distillery visit. On board the train you can sit back in comfortable seats with large windows through which to admire the scenery. Our friendly team will look after you, and if you choose to dine with us you will be treated to fine Scottish fare. Come and be one of the first to travel with us as Tornado begins another chapter running regularly over this historic route.

Our journey begins in Scotland’s capital and its imposing Waverley station, right in the heart of the city, in the shadow of the Castle. Tornado steams through Princes Street Gardens and pauses to pick up further passengers at Haymarket station in the west of the city. From there we leave the city surroundings and pass open countryside before our train will start to slow.

The Forth Bridge is one of the wonders of the modern world, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, crossing over 350ft above the water and stretching over one and a half miles in length. First opened in 1890, Tornado will lead our train across this magnificent structure giving amazing views of the Firth of Forth and we cross into the Kingdom of Fife. The railway follows the coast line through Inverkeithing and Burntisland where the city of Edinburgh can be seen across the Forth. Approaching Kirkcaldy the route turns north whilst remaining alongside the coast, but once we leave the town behind we move into the rich countryside of Fife with its farming communities and many golf courses. We cross the beautiful countryside before pausing at Leuchars station where Tornado takes on water.

Once underway again it is not long before the train slows as we approach the River Tay and its long elegant bridge across to Dundee. The Tay Bridge is two miles in length, with 85 spans, and links Fife to the City of Dundee and the County of Angus. This is the second Tay Bridge, opening in 1887, after the first was destroyed in a storm in 1879.

Our departure from Dundee is through tunnels under the city, and we exit the city and head alongside the River Tay out as far as the world-famous golf course of Carnoustie. We make our way eastwards passing the coastal town of Arbroath, famous for its Smokie’s which are still produced in the town. Our route takes switches from running along the coast to diving inland and back again before crossing the Montrose Basin with the railway sandwiched between the water and Montrose itself. As we leave Montrose behind we are running through the stunning Scottish countryside as we leave the coast behind for a while. Passing through Laurencekirk and Fordoun and Drumlithie it is a chance to see the lush and unspoilt country for which Scotland is rightly proud.

As our journey progresses we pass Stonehaven and then exit the town on the cliffs above the North Sea. We run high above the water below all the way to Aberdeen now on what is a wonderful finish to a unique railway journey. Tornado will run at speed alongside the water and on the approach to our destination we will slow and take a winding course through the Granite City before crossing the River Dee on a beautiful curving bridge. Once across the river on our left is the recently refurbished turntable at the former Ferryhill depot. This is where Tornado will be turned for our return journey and is something that is important facility to make this magnificent journey possible. We continue on a little further and we then arrive into Aberdeen’s light and airy station ready for onwards excursions.


There is plenty to see and do in the centre of the bustling city of Aberdeen, and a lot of attractions are within easy walking distance of the station. For those attractions a little further out, there are local taxis and regular bus services: a hopper ticket to explore the city by bus costs less than £5.


Nuart self guided walking tour – Nuart Aberdeen is the only street art festival in Scotland and one of the UK’s leading festivals of its kind. Artists from around the globe transform the walls and buildings of Aberdeen city centre with works of art that are free for all to enjoy 365 days a year. Take the Nuart tour for yourself and explore Aberdeen City Centre.

Whisky Tasting –  CASC are avatars of hedonism, demanding excellence and rejecting anything less. CASC (Cigars, Ale, Scotch & Coffee) – are relentless in the pursuit of great products and overwhelming choice. Doing things their way and never compromising. Focussing on quality cigars, craft beer, scotch whisky and artisan coffee, they aim to compound the senses and deliver a truly unique bar experience. Just three minutes’ walk from the station.

Maritime Museum – Aberdeen Maritime Museum tells the story of the city’s long relationship with the Sea. This award-winning museum is located on the historic Shiprow, just five minutes from the station, and parts of the building date back to 1593. The Maritime Museum houses a unique collection and is the only place in the UK where you can see displays on the North Sea oil and gas industry. Aberdeen Maritime Museum offers visitors a spectacular viewpoint over the busy working harbour.


Old Aberdeen – 2.5m from the station, number 20 bus route. Monks and scholars, traders and travellers settled round Old Aberdeen in the area where 14th century St Machars Cathedral still stands and where Kings College, the forerunner to Aberdeen University, was founded by Bishop Elphinstone in 1495. Step back in time as you tour the late-medieval cobbled streets and make some time to appreciate the old perfectly blended with the new as you admire the architecturally distinctive Sir Duncan Rice Library.

The Gordon Highlanders Museum – 2.5m from the station, number 11 bus route. The Gordon Highlanders Museum is a ‘5-star Visit Scotland’ Tourist Attraction based in the west end of Aberdeen. It is committed to preserving and sharing the legacy of the world-famous Gordon Highlanders Regiment for future generations to enjoy, providing a wide range of unique experiences for all visitors, young and old.

RSPB Dolphin Watch – Intelligence, acrobatic ability and good looks, bottle-nose dolphins have it all. Jump in a taxi and travel 2 miles to Torry Battery, where from the high vantage point you can watch the dolphins and discover panoramic views of the harbour mouth and North Sea. The mouth of Aberdeen Harbour is one of the best places in Europe to spot bottle-nose dolphins and Scotland is home to the largest in the world! The team of volunteers are on site April – August and provide telescopes and binoculars. The 2018 dolphin spotting season saw 100% success rate!


To get a real taste of Aberdeenshire, take the opportunity to book one of our off train excursions, exploring some of the best that the region has to offer. These options are sure to fill up quickly and so must be booked at the time of purchasing your train ticket.

Fyvie Castle 

Travel through the beautiful wilderness of the Grampian Highlands to reach Fyvie Castle. This magnificent fortress in the heart of Aberdeenshire is a sterling example of Scottish Baronial architecture. Inside, the rooms are filled with antiquities, armour and lavish oil paintings. Out in the grounds the grandeur continues, with a picturesque loch and an unusual glass-roofed racquets court. The cafe will be open for your refreshment. Ghosts, legends and folklore are all woven into the tapestry of Fyvie’s 800-year-old history. Book this option to enjoy a short tour and time at your leisure to explore the glory of Fyvie’s landscape and the richness of its past.

Glen Garioch Distillery

It’s true what they say – you can never fully enjoy a dram of Glen Garioch until you have seen how and where it’s made. One of the oldest operating distilleries in Scotland – and its most easterly – Glen Garioch (pronounced Geery in the ancient Doric dialect still spoken in these parts) has been making its mighty malt in the quaint and historic market town of Oldmeldrum, ever since 1797. Book this tour to discover the personality and character, both of the whisky and those who create it. The in-depth experience explores the secrets passed on by generations in the pursuit of quality. The tour would not be complete without tasting some of their small-batch whiskies and includes three drams.

This tour is promoted by The A1 Steam Locomotive Trust with UK Railtours acting as ticket agents. All profits will go towards keeping Tornado on the main line in future years.

All timings are provisional and intended only as a guide.

Edinburgh Waverley09.3021.30