Borderers are being asked to stay safe ahead of the much-anticipated visit of The Flying Scotsman to the region on Sunday (May 15).
Galashiels and Tweedbank are preparing for the visit of the most famous steam train in the world – but following incidents in Yorkshire where people were jumping onto the tracks to get a better look at it, public safety is paramount.
The oldest mainline working locomotive on Britain’s railways will travel down the country’s newest railway, arriving in Tweedbank at some point after noon, in its first visit to the country for 16 years.
Large crowds are expected, so Scottish Borders Council (SBC) has been working with partners to put in place plans for the visit and ensure passengers and spectators enjoy their day.
A council spokesman said: “British Transport Police, Network Rail and SBC are aware that the return of the Flying Scotsman is an exciting event and want the public to view the iconic steam train safely, and there are lots of safe places to see it and take photographs.
“However, the public is asked not to stray on to the railway and risk their safety. Stations along the route will be extremely busy, so listen to staff who are there to assist.
“BTP is advising that it is extremely dangerous – and an offence – to trespass on the railway. They will take action and you could end up with a criminal record and facing a fine of up to £1,000.”
From 11am to 4pm, Galashiels Community Council and other local groups will host musicians, face painters, bouncy castles, craft stalls and railway memorabilia, along with other entertainment across the town to celebrate the train’s arrival.
And at the terminus in Tweedbank, from 10.30am to 4.30pm, there will be a food and drink market, including a range of local Borders producers and providers. Music will also be on offer as well as catering, a bar and the provision of additional toilets.
People are encouraged to travel to Galashiels and Tweedbank by bicycle, foot, bus or train due to limited car parking and road closures locally.
There will be minimal disruption to bus services, with additional services being provided between Galashiels and Tweedbank, however train services may be subject to alterations on the day. For more information visit www.scotrail.co.uk
At Tweedbank, priority parking will be given to disabled and elderly vehicle users. Parking will be available within Tweedbank Industrial Estate with stewards on hand.
Councillor David Parker, leader of Scottish Borders Council, said: “The visit of the Flying Scotsman is another momentous occasion in the short history of the Borders Railway.
“In less than a year it has seen Her Majesty The Queen open the railway on the day she became the longest reigning UK monarch, has carried over 650,000 passengers and counting and now welcomes this world-famous locomotive.
“I am sure it will be a great day, with plenty of entertainment on offer in Galashiels and Tweedbank.”
“We would like to thank everyone in advance for their understanding on the back of any potential disruption which may result.
“Significant work has gone into making sure this day a success, and I hope all enjoy their day safely.”