Travel 2022: Full steam ahead on The Aberdonian


The Aberdonian speeds by a lochside location. Built by enthusiasts, the engine is getting stoked up for its summer season. Picture: Craig Doogan

Launched in 2019, the steamy spectacle is growing in popularity year-on-year and delighting locals and tourists alike.

It was 30 years ago that a group of railway enthusiasts and visionaries got together to launch an extraordinary project – building a brand-new steam locomotive. In 2008, after years of dedicated work by the A1 Steam Locomotive Trust, that vision became a reality when Tornado became the first newly-built steam engine to operate on the UK rail network since the 1960s.

Since then, Tornado has become something of a railway celebrity. It has pulled royal trains, appeared on TV’s topgearand was even featured in the Paddington 2 movie, steaming to secure the rescue of the famous bear.

Now passengers are invited to join Tornado on nostalgic day trips across the country, including nine which begin in Scotland.

One of the highlights of Tornado Steam Rail Tours’ summer season is The Aberdonian trips from Edinburgh to Aberdeen, steaming along clifftops, through fishing villages, and weaving through the countryside. The stunning journey is book-ended by crossing the iconic Forth Bridge. This trip takes place on seven dates in July, August and September.

This summer also sees two rail tours from Glasgow. Pausing at Stirling to pick up passengers, the train travels via Perth before following the route of the Tay to Dundee and turning north along the coast to Aberdeen.

On all of these trips, there is up to four hours to explore Aberdeen and all the Granite City has to offer.

Whether you are celebrating an anniversary, a big birthday, or just looking for a memorable day out, this is the perfect way to celebrate.

All passengers travel in authentic 1950s carriages with seats in three different classes. In Tourist Class, every seat is positioned at a table and aligned with a window, and you can even bring your four-legged friend. First Class offers a roomy seat in a compartment, and complimentary tea, coffee and snacks throughout the journey. However, an on-board buffet is available, offering a range of hot, cold and alcoholic drinks, fresh bacon sandwiches and snacks, or passengers in First and Tourist Class can bring a picnic.

Meanwhile, the Premier Dining ticket offers silver service for meals freshly cooked on the train by an elite team of chefs – there is a full British breakfast served upon the outward journey and a relaxed four-course dinner can be savored on the way home.

Offering a welcome change of pace, these nostalgic trains along the beautiful East Coast line are sure to delight.

– This article first appeared in the spring edition of Scotsman Travel 2022

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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