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Thread: The Great Britain II - 7: Firth of Forth / Tay - Montrose (50 p.)

  1. #1

    Default The Great Britain II - 7: Firth of Forth / Tay - Montrose (50 p.)


    Our itinerary for this part:
    NXEC = National Express East Coast
    Su, 4/12/2009
    Edinburgh dep ~2:11 Bus N22 -> Edinburgh Airport
    Edinburgh Airport arr ~2:50
    Edinburgh Airport dep ~5:45 Bus 747 -> Inverkeithing
    North Queensferry arr ~6:00
    North Queensferry dep 9:34 First ScotRail 170 -> Dundee
    Dundee arr 10:49
    Dundee dep ~11:11 Stagecoach Strathtay Bus 77 -> Gauldry
    Wormit arr ~11:26 
    Wormit dep ~13:50 Stagecoach Strathtay Bus 77 -> Ethiebeaton Park
    Dundee arr ~14:06
    Dundee dep 15:11 First ScotRail 170 (+ 158) -> Aberdeen
    Montrose arr 15:41
    Montrose dep 17:48 First ScotRail 170 -> Edinburgh
    Edinburgh arr 19:35
    Edinburgh dep 20:00 NXEC 91 -> York
    Berwick arr 20:43
    The video for this part:

    Arrived at Edinburgh, we sat down in the waiting hall and bought some dinner before the expected short night. Shortly after we got a little more comfortable someone came by and told us the room and a little later the whole station would be closed soon until morning. According to the National Rail website everything should be open 24 hours (I just looked it up, obviously they corrected it after my complaint). What to do? It's just a few hours, and on Easter weekend there was probably just accomodation available as expensive as all other nights of the trip together. There was no train before 8 a.m., night trains weren't running Saturday-Sunday either. Pubs are closing very early in Great Britain, even on Saturdays. Outside it was too cool to sit for a few hours. We looked around a little and found a hostel thanks to a nice policeman, but there was no chance, and we also weren't keen on walking further. One possibility was to go around by bus - and that was when we had the saving idea: what's open for 24 hours in a big city? The airport! And really, just as we were arriving by bus (incidentially the same number I had planned to use to get to a well known photo spot - if there only would have been any earlier trains!), we could already see some comfortable long benches, not all occupied by sleeping airline passengers.

    The waiting hall of Edinburgh Waverley - quiz: Which one are we hiding behind an advertisement board? ;D
    a) The 1897-built waiting hall was renovated in 1970 for the Commonwealth Games, opened by the honourable ...
    b) The travel centre was opened in 1999 by the honourable ...
    c) In memory of the life and work of Sir Nigel Gresley, 1876 - 1941, chief mechanical engineer of the London & North Eastern Railway 1923 - 1941, born in this city!
    (don't worry, the next trip report parts will be a dignified monument for him!)

    It was cleaning night at the airport, as my bench had to be moved shortly I took a quick look around. And saw an information terminal with the departure times of airport busses. Bus #747 () to Inverkeithing caught my eye, as it should be crossing the Firth of Forth. With the first departure at 5:45 even significantly earlier than we had planned to get there. Strangely, this connection didn't show up on the Traveline website, I had searched for earlier connections. So, I made a mental note of it and woke up my travel companion in time for the departure. Once again we had a big private taxi, the driver set us down after a nice first ride across the Forth road bridge.
    The mood was fantastic, especially because there was hardly any wind the whole day which probably is quite rare for this region. However, there was one downside: I don't know if it has to do with union rules or something else, but there is no train leaving Edinburgh before exactly 8 a.m., busses are running throughout the night. Admittedly, trains are not really needed for this amazing bridge, you can hardly see them in the construction anyway, but still: if one or another silhouette has found its way into the photos, I would like to excuse this slip of the space-time-continuum! ;D

    A first view of North Queensferry, at the northern end of the bridge

    Here you go: sunrise at the 1.5 mile long, 1890 opened miracle of technology

    The superpanorama including the road bridge we were standing on, which was built 1958-64

    The panorama in higher resolution (please click image link!):

    An especially clever animal, every time I tried to sneak up on it to get a shot with the sunrise and bridge, it flew a few feet further

    Oh yeah, there was a class 66 with maintenance train, but it would also just come after eight o´clock!

    Only one bigger ship came by, "Costanza Wonsild"

    Work was carried out on the road bridge, but there was no action until the "crazy Danes" arrived. Vehicles of a Danish construction company arrived...

    ... and off they went skywards!

    Finally, the first "real" train approaching from South Queensferry / Dalmeny and Edinburgh, the 8:04 CrossCountry Super Voyager to Aberdeen

    As promised, a construction train hauled by DB Schenker class 66

    And last a First ScotRail 170 to Edinburgh, in the meantime low tide has taken over

    Now we walked to the railway stop North Queensferry, which took no more than 10 minutes, thanks to a footpath. While we were waiting there for the first HST of the day we had a nice chat with a policeman and other passers-by with the usual question: "Is there anything special coming?"
    A National Express East Coast HST in old GNER-livery to Aberdeen with both bridges in the background

    The trailing engine already wore current NXEC colours

    Next, it was our turn to move on northwards as well, by First ScotRail class 170 to Dundee. Inside the train, the door of the first class compartment was decorated by the sign "out of use"... ;D
    Before arrival we got the first taste of the next giant bridge of the day, 2.25 miles long across the Firth of Tay, albeit of very different design. Dundee station lies close to the bridge but is unfotogenically semi-subterranean. Near the station our city bus also departed which was about to take us back to the southern shore of the firth. Here, we were welcomed by the retirement paradise Wormit, which manifested itself with bus stops in intervals of a few yards. Once we even entered a side street for about 100 feet and then turned around. As soon as we liked the view, we stepped off the bus.
    And how we liked it, the calm provided a surreal reflection

    The view with usual ScotRail class 170 + 158 double - but one moment: tennis courts in Scotland? Are they allowed to have them? Or did Monty Python's extraterrestrial Blancmanges win the battle for Wimbledon? ;D

    The clouds always spared exactly the water surface

    Next to the bridge we still find the remains of the first one which catastrophically collapsed during a storm with a train on it in the year 1879. The second bridge was erected 1883-87

    Broom in bloom

    A single 170 about to reach Dundee station

    Next, the 12:25 CrossCountry Super Voyager Aberdeen - Plymouth was approaching

    Industrial settlements in the background

    Miami in the foreground

    Now we wanted to get to a landscape spot further uphill, but couldn't find it at first. You could see the bridge where it was supposed to be, but no way to get to it. On a cart track we found an underpass, but turned around before reaching it. My colleague didn't want to walk any further, but I followed the road and came across another bridge. However, from there the Tay Bridge was hardly visible anymore. It was still a nice view for the 13:01 HST Aberdeen - London Kings Cross, entirely in NXEC-colours, passing under the desired photo spot

    Nice furrows and lighting

    Since I had eliminated all other paths I concluded that the only way to get to the other spot was by crossing the underpass, and really: there was a meadow path on the other side along the line!
    A class 170 in nice livery with 158 at 13:39 also didn't look bad at this spot

    Once again everything worked like clockwork and soon I sat in the bus back to the city, my colleague got on near the bridge.
    The railway bridge viewed from the road bridge

    At Dundee we first paid a visit to the large supermarket near the station, the entrance is ideally situated at the opposite side

    Art can be found here as well as Discovery, a sail ship which took Scott on an earlier Antarctic expedition (not in the pictures )

    To catch the Great Britain II once more we had to meet it further north, going there along the beautiful North Sea coast

    Arrived at Montrose, the next southbound train

    The town is located at a tidal lagoon and also offers nice old infrastructure, including some old railway lamps. On the other side of the Montrose Basin lies the Caledonian Railway, a museum railway through not very spectacular landscape for Scotland, so we didn't pay it a visit that day.

    A whistle in the distance and the Great Britain II thundered by punctually, pulled by the well-known Black 5 double, this time 45407 "The Lancashire Fusilier" in front of 45231 "The Sherwood Forester".
    Who can spot the Easter Bunny saving itself from the oncoming train last second with a jump?

    The superpanorama with some oldtimers I had seen that day. A BMW Isetta, a Volvo from the same spot and a Rolls-Royce from Wormit

    The panorama in higher resolution (please click image link!):

    Already close to the station we were surprised by a class 47 following the special. It was scheduled to pull the train for a part of the journey the next day

    It accelerated out of the station with some clag

    A northbound class 170 double, with signalbox and the bridge across the canal to the lagoon

    Now we had to take the southbound train, here a rail view of the Forth road bridge. The Great Britain II would be crossing the Firth of Forth in the dark, and we had to move on to our accomodation in Berwick-upon-Tweed

    A NXEC InterCity 225 took us there quickly from Edinburgh. The two guys on the platform told us we should rather take pictures of them, they were prettier than the train...
    A class 91 pushing the rake to York

    I knew Berwick from an earlier holiday, so we found our way around quickly and walked downhill to our 4****-backpackers in an old house. The accomodation was nice and quite distinct, we had a relatively large private room. Only towels were missing, and the owners, who had waited just for us, had gone out for the evening.
    But we had a good night's sleep, the next morning would be fantastic again!

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    Roni's trip reports and videos:


  2. #2


    Very impressive as always. Those are some bridges they have over there.
    - Rosco

    RailroadForums.com Moderator

    - Trackside-Photography.com -

    - My Railpictures.net -

  3. #3


    Thanks, Rosco!

    Up-to-date on Twitter: https://twitter.com/raildata_info @raildata_info
    Roni's trip reports and videos:


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