Bo’ness & Kinneil Railway Excursion
Construction of the Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway began in 1979, with Bo’ness Station opening in 1981. It falls under the operational supervision of the Scottish Railway Preservation Society. Located just outside the city of Edinburgh, the railway line was extended, offering visitors a wonderful railway experience on steam trains, winding its way through spectacular landscapes and scenery. Each station was built by the Society, which is operated by volunteers, establishing a working infrastructure that allows visitors and locals the opportunity to enjoy a traditional steam train excursion while taking in the wonders of nature.
In 1987 the line was extended to Kinneil, and in 1989 to Birkhill. Birkhill is a fantastic destination, as the fireclay mine has been opened to the public to explore. In 2010 the line was extended once again, this time to Manuel, where the Society plans to construct another railway station. This line was relaid in 1990, but only to provide a connecting line to the Glasgow main line and the BR Edinburgh line, enabling preserved locomotives from other groups to visit the Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway. Visiting trains have included the K4 3442 The Great Marquess, A4 60009 Union of South Africa, the LMS Black Fives 44871 and the A2 60532 Blue Peter.
Amongst the steam locomotives that are based at Bo’ness is the North British Railway C Class No. 673 Maude that was built in 1891 in Glasgow and served in the First World War, named after Lt. General Maude. The Caledonian Railway 0-4-4T No 419 was also built in Glasgow in the year 1907. The Neilson Reid 0-6-0T Coltness Iron Co. Ltd No. 1 Lord Roberts is a very special steam locomotive, dedicated to Lord Roberts who was a Commander in the British Army that fought in the Boer war. The Coltness Iron Company closed in 1953. Other locomotives include the LNER D 49 Class 4-4-0 No. 246 Morayshire (1928) and the British Railways Standard 2-4T No. 80105 (1955).
The heritage route that is followed covers a distance of five miles and the entire journey takes just over an hour to complete. At the various stations, visitors will have the opportunity to get off and explore the attractions along the way, such as the nature reserve at Kinneil Halt, mining and fossil exploration at Birkhill Mine and the Kinneil museum and woods, which is a fifteen minute walk for passengers. At the Bo’ness Station visitors are recommended to walk through the Scottish Railway Exhibition. It is one of the biggest railway museums in Britain, and has a wonderful collection of carriages, wagons and approximately fifty locomotives.