On the middle day of its three day epic trip from Birmingham to Scotland, Vintage Trains provided a leisurely stroll along the banks of the River Forth with GWR Castle 4-6-0 No 5043 Earl of Mount Edgcumbe.
The lunchtime start gave time beforehand to visit the Forth Bridge, whose first crossing by a Castle would be the highlight of the tour. Then to Linlithgow where the train having overnighted at the nearby Bo'ness railway, picked up most of its passengers for the tour.
After picking up also at Dalmeny, we ventured onto the bridge itself, with the Class 47 helping to shove the ten coaches up the steep slope because of the fire risk if the Castle worked too hard. This spectacular experience was followed by a brisk canter along the coast through Fife before turning west at Thornton Junction.
The running along the north bank of the Forth was leisurely as much of it is normally freight only, and we took water at Low Torry. For our two hour break in Stirling, the train was well positioned in the glorious sunshine, and an excellent day was rounded off by a gallop back to Linlithgow, breaking the mile-a-minute barrier with a brief maximum of 66 mph.
The fire risk had cast something of a damper over the whole tour, but the punters made the most of what they could have, and were pleased to be part of another groundbreaking Vintage Trains initiative.
© Peter Hewitt's Transport Pictures