Flying #ScotSpirit

Press release   •   May 12, 2016 12:13 BST

The return of the world’s most famous locomotive to Scotland will help shine a spotlight on the quality of the country’s tourism industry, according to VisitScotland.

Hundreds of passengers on The Flying Scotsman will be taking in some of the finest attractions in Edinburgh, the Borders and central Scotland when the train returns north this weekend after a 16-year absence.

And the national tourism organisation says the four-day visit of the train, a symbol of engineering excellence designed by Edinburgh-born Sir Nigel Gresley, is particularly apt as the country celebrates the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design.

Built in 1923, The Flying Scotsman was the first steam locomotive to be clocked at 100 miles per hour, while its elegant design, long years of service and extensive touring helped it to become the most famous engine in the world.

But while passengers will be thrilled by the once-in-a-lifetime experience of travelling on board the Flying Scotsman, they are also being encouraged to visit other world-class attractions while in Scotland, including the Royal Yacht Britannia, Abbotsford, the Kelpies and the Falkirk Wheel.

Arriving into Waverley on Saturday night, The Flying Scotsman will head south to Tweedbank on the new Borders Railway on Sunday morning, when a host of local festivities, including musicians and market stalls, have been arranged to celebrate its arrival. 

On Sunday evening, the locomotive will head across the Forth Bridge to complete the Fife Circle before going on public display at the Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway on Monday and then returning to London on Tuesday.

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said: “Ground-breaking, beautiful and famous the world over, The Flying Scotsman embodies the finest aspects of the country that inspired its name. Sir Nigel Gresley is just one of a long list of Scots who have helped to shape the world in which we live, and it is very appropriate that arguably his most famous creation is returning to Scotland in the Year of Innovation, Architecture & Design.

“The 12-month celebration is something which gives us an unprecedented opportunity to put Scotland on the map in a new and exciting way, catching the attention of visitors old and new, positioning our country as a mix of traditional and cutting-edge.

“It would also be difficult to think of anything that embodies the Spirit of Scotland more than The Flying Scotsman. As they enjoy the stunning landscapes and world-class attractions while journeying on The Flying Scotsman, we are encouraging passengers to share their #ScotSpirit and their incredible experiences with the world.” 

Phil Verster, Managing Director, ScotRail Alliance said: “The Flying Scotsman is a world-famous locomotive with a loyal and enthusiastic following and its first trip to Scotland for 16 years is a great opportunity to demonstrate what Scotland has to offer.

“As well as providing another unparalleled opportunity to showcase the newly opened Borders Railway, passengers on board the train will be able to enjoy the breath-taking clifftop views along the East Coast mainline, the picturesque beauty of the Fife coast and majesty of the Forth Bridge.

“We look forward to welcoming The Flying Scotsman to Scotland again and to more visits in the future.”

For more information on The Flying Scotsman, go to

For more information on the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, go to

Notes to Editors

  • Follow us on twitter: @visitscotnews
  • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
  • The organisation’s core objective is to contribute to the Tourism 2020 Strategy ambition of growing tourism revenues by £1 billion by 2020.
  • This will be supported by seven overarching strategies:
    1. Marketing: we will market Scotland and its outstanding assets to visitors from all parts of the world, including the promotion of Scotland to people living in Scotland       to visit different parts of the country
    2. Events: we will support the national events strategy and its delivery, and sustain, develop and promote Scotland’s international profile as one of the world’s foremost events destinations
    3. Internationalisation and International Engagement: we will utilise all our platforms to enable Scottish-based tourism businesses to better understand international       opportunities and market to a global audience and we will work within One       Scotland Partnerships to optimise the potential of Scotland’s Diaspora and our strategic partners at regional, European and global levels
    4. Customer Experience: we will provide information and inspiration to visitors both locally and globally via their preferred medium of choice
    5. Quality and Sustainability: we will provide support and advice to businesses, with the goal of improving the quality and sustainability of the tourism sector in Scotland. We will provide quality assurance to visitors through our Quality Schemes
    6. Inclusive Tourism: we will strive to make tourism in Scotland inclusive and available to all
    7. Working in Partnership: we will listen to and work with the industry, partners and communities to shape our offering and support
  • VisitScotland works together with tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow.
  • The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
  • Spending by tourists in Scotland generates around £12 billion of economic activity in the wider Scottish supply chain and contributes around £6 billion to Scottish GDP (in basic prices). This represents about 5% of total Scottish GDP.
  • The Scottish Government is the Managing Authority for the European Structural Funds 2014-20 Programme. For further information visit or follow @scotgovESIF
  • For VisitScotland’s press releases go to, tourism statistics and frequently asked questions go to
  • Where possible, a Gaelic speaker will be made available for broadcast interviews on request (Far an tèid iarraidh, agus far am bheil sin nar comas, bruidhinnidh neach le Gàidhlig aig agallamh)
  • For holiday information on Scotland go to
  • For information about business events in Scotland go to

    Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016

  • 2016 will shine a spotlight on Scotland’s achievements in innovation, architecture and design through a wide-ranging, variety of new and existing activity.
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design begins on 1 January 2016 and ends on 31 December 2016 and will build on the momentum generated by the 2015 Year of Food and Drink as well as previous years including Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
  • Through a series of exciting events and activity, the year will showcase Scotland’s position as an “innovation nation”, its outstanding built heritage, and its thriving, internationally acclaimed creative industries sector.
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Scottish Government, Creative Scotland, Architecture + Design Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS).
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.
  • Join the conversation at #IAD2016
  • Events can join the 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design Partner Programme throughout the year by visiting