Steam Train to Tweedback

I saw that there was a steam train from Edinburgh to a town named Tweedback, South of Edinburgh. So I booked a ride. Why? Well, I’ve not ridden on a steam-powered train and have not been to Tweedback – so I was very much “on board”. (Sorry for the pun.)

There are several steam trains in Scotland, but this one was convenient and received good reviews. So yesterday I got myself to Waverly station, about a 30 minute walk from the flat, at around 9:00 – in time to ensure that I get on the 9:46 train to Treedback. This is the second year this particular train has been in operation and only runs for a limited time, only on Sundays, August to September.


Edinburgh to Tweedbank

Before we left the station, I took a picture of the train. It was making a lot of sounds and letting off steam at regular intervals. I returned to my seat, 2 by 2 seating (2 people facing 2 other people with a table in between), and joined a retired couple traveling with their daughter. The four of us exchanged some greetings and prepared for our journey. The rail cars were from perhaps the 50’s and we were very cozy!

img_20160911_134323 At Waverley (Edinburgh) Train Station

As the train left the station, the conversation my fellow travelers started slowly. We first commented how many people came out of their homes along the way to take pictures and wave at us. We waved back. The couple pointed out the town they once lived in and commented on the various water foul on the rivers. The train ride was about an hour – just enough time to get fairly well acquainted with them.

When we got to Treedbank, we went our separate ways. They were going to take a local train back to an earlier stop and visit some attractions there. I decided to remain in Tweedbank and find a place to eat. I really hadn’t had a full meal at a Scottish restaurant, and was looking forward to see what might be on a menu in a small town. (I also needed to visit a W.C. since there were no facilities on the train or at the station.)  One of the guides who met us at the station recommended a place not too far from the station, so off I went – quickly.

“Herges on the Loch” was perfect. Local and on a loch. (My first Scotish loch!)  I got there about 15 minutes before opening and was happy to be let in early. The menu was fairly basic, but had a good number of items offered. The beef and ale pie looked good and also ordered the vegetable soup for a starter. Was going to have a little dessert, but was full after the meal.

On the way back to the station, I walked through some neighborhoods and taking in the sights along the way. A couple of bushes caught my eye, each had distinctive berries on them. Maybe the angle of the sun, but the red berries really were vibrant.

img_20160911_132852472  img_20160911_134212

When I returned to the station, I took pictures of the train from the other side and another showing the passenger cars, of which there were about 10. Noticed the plaque on the train. Saw that the train was built in 1927 (the year my dad was born).

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The family that I had met on the way to Tweedbank got on at Galasiels, a few miles down the track. We got caught up on what we did in between our arrival and now. They had lunch in Galashiels, and just walked around the town. We settled in for our ride back. This time, because we were going in the opposite direction from before, I had a different view – my seat now faced forward.

We talked about all sorts of subjects. Think they enjoyed my humor, or in my case, innocence, because of some of the questions I asked. For instance, “What do you call “Scottish Broom”?  They laughed and said, “Broom”.  Then we all laughed when they saw me realize that it would be redundant, being Scottish themselves, if they were to also call the bush, Scottish Broom. Anyway, we thought it was funny. Of course, I had to follow up with another funny and commented on the large sheep on the hill – pointing to a herd of very light blond cows. That definitely broke the ice.

img_20160912_123241 Broom (a.k.a. Scottish Broom)

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(Above: Sheep, not Cows)

From there we talked about many subjects: sources of Scotland electrical power, animal rights, travel, Scotland weather, schools, farms, English/Scottish history, etc. This was the best part of this trip. Of course we were treated by a nice sunny day, picturesque landscapes, natural wildlife (many heron), farm animals, and well-kept farm houses.

When it became time to say our good byes, think we didn’t want it to end. It was one of those chance meetings we have with others that make traveling so much fun.

Enjoyed this adventure very much.


15 thoughts on “Steam Train to Tweedback”

      1. I updated posting to include a map of the route. I’ll try to remember to do for future travels. What do you think? Helpful?

  1. For those of us who are “mappies” (like foodies with maps) it was great. I like it, it was informative and hope you can continue to do that.

    1. I like your term “mappies” – being the one who was the family navigator when traveling, can appreciate this new title. Thank you!

  2. When I went back to look at the map program I have been using it did not even show Tweedback. It is obviously not very detailed.

    1. Tweedback is very small. I had to zoom in on Google Maps to pick it up. It is more like a remote suburb than an official town. During my walk, saw a lot of homes, but no sign of shops and other businesses. But it was the “end of the line” for the train.

  3. Interesting… Did you get to see how they did the “turn around”? Did they move the engine to the other end? Did they have a round house? Did they push with the engine rather than pull on the return trip?

    1. Good questions – was going to include some information about the logistics of the “turn around” but didn’t – maybe I’ll update. In the meantime, this is how it worked: We arrived in Tweedbank, with the steam engine pulling us, no turnaround (no place to do it) so the diesel train that was on the back of the train, pulled us back to Edinburgh. Guess I didn’t mention because I was looking forward more to the “steam engine” experience,and it turned out to be more of a regular train ride since we couldn’t see the engine while the train was in motion. Was a treat for those watching us from their homes and in the fields as we headed to Tweedbank. Still, I might look for other steam engine opportunities – this isn’t the only one in Scotland. Will keep you posted.

  4. Love, love the pictures in the park. Kevin would love the water features. Do you find the food bland? Hope your brother gets to visit you. Hugs. MJ

    1. Thanks! Yes, Kevin would like the water features for sure. Food is very much like the U.S. – maybe different items on the menu. Always fish and chips. Mostly eat at home and do the cooking myself. My brother says he is still planning to visit – will probably eat out more often then. All the best to you!!

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