The ScotRail Alliance and British Transport Police have reminded the public of the dangers of trespassing on the railway ahead of the arrival of the newly-refurbished Flying Scotsman through Midlothian this weekend.
The steam engine, which has undergone a 10-year £4m refurbishment by the National Railway Museum, will be touring the Borders and Fife over the weekend, and enthusiasts are being asked to stay well away from the tracks and not disrupt the safe running of services.
Previous tours by the engine in the North of England have been marred by dangerous incidents of trespass on tracks and overcrowding on station platforms – with services on the East Coast Main Line having to be suspended due to safety fears.
Alex Sharkey, ScotRail Alliance area director for the east of Scotland, said: “It is extremely dangerous and illegal for the public to trespass on the railway.
“During the trips to the Borders and Fife we will continue to operate a full passenger service with hundreds of other trains running on these lines throughout the time Flying Scotsman is in Scotland.
“Those who plan to enjoy seeing the steam engine in the coming days must do so from a safe position and must not enter the operational railway under any circumstances.
“For safety reasons, we will also be limiting access to some of our stations and platforms while the train is passing through to make sure regular travellers can still use the railway and to manage the risk of overcrowding.”
Inspector Ricky McCartney, of British Transport Police, added: “It is extremely dangerous and an offence to trespass on the railway. We will take action against those caught trespassing and you could end up with a criminal record and facing a fine of up to £1,000.
“We understand that the return of Flying Scotsman is an exciting event. However, we want you to view the iconic steam train safely, and there are lots of safe places to see it and take photographs.
“Please do not be tempted to stray on to the railway and risk your safety and trespassing is also likely to delay the train. Stations along the route will be extremely busy, so listen to the staff who are there to assist you.”
To help everyone enjoy the spectacle, the ScotRail Alliance will have some restrictions at stations during Flying Scotsman’s visit: Waverley: Station staff will closely manage platforms and viewing locations on Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday. Dwell times at the station are fairly short, so the public should not travel to Waverley expecting to get close to the engine.
Tweedbank: Flying Scotsman will be at Tweedbank for approximately four hours on Sunday. The station will still be in use and, to keep everyone safe, staff will be controlling access to platforms.
Dalmeny and North Queensferry: On Sunday evening, only passengers intending to travel will be allowed access to the platforms at North Queensferry and Dalmeny stations and footbridges in these locations must be kept clear at all times.
At other stations, the public must not stand near the edge of the platforms as trains pass through or obstruct them with bags or tripods. All passengers should observe the instructions of station staff.
Photographers are also being reminded that it is an offence, and safety risk, to fly drones within 50m of operational railway lines or structures and that drones cannot be flown directly above the railway at any point.