Have a brief encounter in the Borders

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  • 17 August 2016
Have a brief encounter in the Borders

Relive the golden age of rail

Just picture it: clouds of steam drift back along the platform as the engine puffs and chuffs. Channelling your inner Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard, you step aboard your luxurious, vintage-style carriage. The doors slam, the whistle blows, then it's time to sit back and watch the beauty of the Scottish countryside slip past your window as all the hustle and bustle of the festival city melts away.

This August and September, why not try an unforgettable day trip celebrating the glories of the steam engine? Rail enthusiasts, families and visitors alike will love getting up-close and personal with two living examples of transport history. During August, it's all aboard the No 46100 Royal Scot. Built in Derby in 1927, this locomotive has been recently restored and is one of only two remaining in its class. In September, the No 60009 Union of South Africa takes a bow: it was built in Doncaster in 1937 and is one of only six left in its class.

Break for the Borders
Joining up with some of the best local tourist attractions, ScotRail has put together a special timetable of excursions to help you really make the most of your day away. For each trip, you'll be picked up at the station and then dropped back in plenty of time for the return trip. You could hop aboard a coach for a mini-tour of the county, or visit Abbotsford, the ancestral home of Sir Walter Scott. Sticking with the Scott theme, there's a fascinating museum in nearby Selkirk where you can explore his writing and the 33 years he spent as the local sheriff.

Or if you prefer to spend a couple of hours under your own steam, take a wander around the busy market town of Galashiels. A visit to Old Gala house is highly recommended: find out about the area's fascinating history, take in an art exhibition or enjoy a walk in the pretty gardens.

Stay fuelled
There's no need to go hungry on the journey. Passengers can book a gourmet dining experience, complete with a glass of prosecco as you board, and there's a traditional buffet car available too. There's also plenty to enjoy when you reach your destination, as the hills, farms and clean rivers of the Borders produce some of Scotland's best food and drink. To taste just some of it, book an onward excursion to local foodie heroes Born in the Borders. Or explore Traquair House, Scotland's oldest inhabited house, where you can sample some home-brewed ale from their own microbrewery.

Climb aboard
Trains leave from Waverley Station every Sunday during August and September. Prices start from £55, with a range of family tickets, premier dining tickets and excursions available. As well as the Borders trip, ScotRail also offers a special round-trip over the Firth of Forth: steam over the iconic Forth Bridge, through Fife to historic Stirling.

Find out more at ScotRail and see below for a chance to win a first class experience on the Royal Scot steam train.

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