The west coast may have the famous Hogwarts Express from Harry Potter – but now it has emerged the locomotive star of Paddington 2 will soon be chugging into Aberdeen.
New details have been released from the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust of The Aberdonian, a brand new programme of five steam-hauled trains planned for next year.
It will be launched for the first time in March with further journeys also departing from Edinburgh Waverley station later in the year.
Passengers on the Tornado, the locomotive star of the blockbuster film, will get the opportunity to steam across The Forth Bridge and along the picturesque Fife coastline then onwards to the Granite City.
Sir Peter Hendy, chair of Network Rail, said: “Scotland and its railway will massively welcome this series of steam hauled trains, crossing the iconic Forth Bridge and connecting the Granite City of Aberdeen with the Scottish capital.
“I hope this series of trips become a permanent feature of the Scottish railway scene.”
The Tornado locomotive offers train enthusiasts a chance to relive the bygone age of 1930s steam travel while in comfortable surroundings.
It is hoped that the return of steam to Aberdeen will result in a major tourism boost for the city.
Aberdeen City Council co-leader Douglas Lumsden said: “Tourism is a key strand to Aberdeen’s transformation and diversification as highlighted in the regional economic strategy.
“Any initiative allowing us to attract new visitors to the city and which contributes to the council’s considerable tourism, leisure and cultural investments is a good one, and I look forward to seeing how these services develop.”
The Ferryhill Railway Heritage Trust (FRHT) has been working with Network Rail to investigate the viability of launching ‘steam specials’.
The recent installation of a £86,000 turntable at Ferryhill was an idea welcomed by business groups and politicians, including Russell Borthwick, chief executive of Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce.
He said: “The recently unveiled tourism strategy for the region highlights the importance of year-round visitor attractions that make the most of our stunning landscape and unique heritage.
“Connectivity is also important and this project has the potential to combine both, adding weight to ongoing wider efforts to achieve a renaissance for our region.”
Adult tickets on the Aberdonian start from £99.
Further information can be found at a1steam.com/railtours