South Scotland

Thousands celebrate Flying Scotsman's return to Scotland

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Media captionThe Flying Scotsman crosses the Forth Bridge

The Flying Scotsman has crossed the Forth Bridge on a journey marking its return to Scotland.

Steam enthusiasts turned out in force to watch the engine cross the distinctive red bridge that has carried trains over the Forth since 1890.

The locomotive, which has undergone a 10-year restoration, travelled from Edinburgh to the Borders and back along the reopened Borders Railway.

Large scale events were also held in Galashiels and Tweedbank.

It followed an eleventh-hour U-turn by Network Rail which had said on Friday that the engine could not travel on the route.

The body has now apologised for delays in checking whether lines were suitable for the steam train.

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Image caption The meeting of the two engineering masterpieces nearly did not happen after Network Rail cancelled the trip on Friday

The Flying Scotsman's arrival at Edinburgh Waverley Station on Saturday evening was its first trip to Scotland since its restoration was competed earlier this year.

Built in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, in 1923, the Flying Scotsman pulled the first train to officially break the 100mph barrier in 1934.

The National Railway Museum in York bought the locomotive for £2.3m in 2004 before work got under way on its decade-long restoration two years later.

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Media captionSteam enthusiasts captured this mobile phone footage of the Flying Scotsman's visit

Around 800 people watched as the train left Edinburgh shortly before 11:00 BST on Sunday and hundreds more lined the route to get a closer look at the engine.

After a return to Waverley, the Flying Scotsman headed to Fife with a new group of passengers on board.

The Flying Scotsman's visit was arranged by excursion operator Steam Dreams, which said it had been working with Network Rail for months to ensure it went ahead smoothly.

Late on Friday afternoon, however, Network Rail informed the company it did not have the right data to "gauge" the Flying Scotsman - a process which involves checking if it fits within structures such as platforms and bridges.

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Image caption The Flying Scotsman on the Borders Railway near Stow

The cancellation led to an outcry, with Scottish Transport Minister Derek Mackay accusing Network Rail of incompetence and warning it would damage Scottish tourism.

Network Rail reversed the decision under 24 hours later. The body's chief executive Mark Carne has apologised and promised a full investigation.

In February Network Rail was forced to pay out almost £60,000 in compensation when dozens of train services were delayed by people encroaching on to the track during the refurbished train's inaugural run from London to York.

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Image caption Engine fireman Gordon Hodgson, (L) and driver Steve Chipperfield, both from Carlisle, brought the Flying Scotsman back to Scotland
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Image caption The Flying Scotsman passes Holy Island, Berwick-upon-Tweed

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