We can’t think of a better post to share to start your weekend than this lovely descriptive piece from our Chief Executive, Mike Robinson. The piece continues our posts on rail as we focus on sustainable travel in 2017. If you have your own favourite rail journeys then you can share them with us by emailing media at RSGS.org  Enjoy our post!

Perth to Edinburgh: a picturesque morning rail journey

Mike Robinson

The journey from Perth to Edinburgh by train whilst a very familiar one, is always beautiful.   We are barely started when the train bursts out of the tunnel into dazzling sunlight, past the  wild boar at Craigend, and on into rich farmland and along the meandering River Earn.

We rise above Newburgh with an expansive sweep of the silvery Tay, reedbeds glinting in the sun, the view stretching to the Sidlaws and beyond.   After the artist studio at Ladybank, we plunge into Fife – all fields, farms, hidden lochans and plantation forests, then along into the wide open straths.  The train creeps along the edge of a golf course, with the Lomond Hills a constant feature.

Then Kirkcaldy signals urban Fife, as children scuff their way to school, roads fill up, and buildings stretch down to the shore.  Raith Rovers’ stadium fills the view from the window, silently anticipating its next match.

From here, the sea.   Bass Rock and Berwick Law are spotlit by sunlight, away on the horizon that stretches westwards along the Forth.  The view is all mudflats and seabirds and seals, with an occasional oil rig and a cluster of waiting tankers queuing expectantly.

Clinging to the steep-sided southern edge of Fife, the sweeping bay at Burntisland and beach at Aberdour promise a playground for dogs and small children, and a seaside idyll – all sun, sand and ice-cream.  In the distance we catch the first glimpses of the Forth Bridge, and the first hint of Edinburgh – the volcanic plug of Arthur’s Seat and the flat windows of government offices at Victoria Quay – which disappears again almost as soon as it is visible.

There is a last view of rural Fife – of fields and woods and beehives, but framed by fast roads and occasional big buildings hinting at the increasingly urban landscape.

Two more tunnels book-end Inverkeithing before we find ourselves speeding high above the Forth, with splendid views back along the Fife coast, west towards Rosyth docks and down onto yachts and tugs.   You can see the traffic from here queued back across the Road Bridge.

Even now it is surprisingly green as we race past the airport, watching planes taxi down the runway, the pockets of broad-leafed woodland finally giving way to modern blockwork shops.  The housing seems to change, as we continue through the outskirts of the city, still leafy, growing 25 years older with every couple of miles of progress.  A golf course, Jenners’ furniture store, Murrayfield, and then the brewery.  This is Edinburgh.

The final stretch down a canyon of six-storey flats and offices, and a final tunnel or two as we crawl below the cliffs and castle, and through Princes Street Gardens, to what must be one of the prettiest station approaches in Britain and the bustle and excitement of Edinburgh which beckons beyond the ticket barrier.


For a different (more practical) look at the future of travel between Perth and Edinburgh you can read this post here.