There's nothing quite like a departure by steam, on this five mile excursion we travelled on the Morayshire D49 No. 246 built by the LNER at Darlington Works in 1928.
Today the engine was loaded with six carriages, two full refurbished ones which is its usual rolling stock, plus four others that still required a lot of work to bring them up to an acceptable level of comfort. Apparently three coach loads of folk were expected hence the extra carriages.
The loco was condemned and taken out of running stock on 3rd July 1961 and used as a stationary boiler at Slateford Laundry in Edinburgh until January 1962. It lay in store until July 1964 when it was purchased by Ian Fraser for restoration to running condition by Inverurie Works.
It's an interesting route the train takes as it puffs ceremoniously along briefly stopping at Birkhill Station which stands on a loop enabling other trains to pass, not that there were any on the day we were there.
The whole journey is a very pleasant one passing through beautiful countryside with woodlands and waterfalls along the way, along the side of the Forth estuary and over the Avon viaduct to it's terminus at Manuel (Yes that is the stations name) where the train turns around on the loop for its return journey.
Coming back in to Bo'ness we have the (not many of them about) signal box and the semaphore signals.
We had a great afternoon out but unfortunately we hadn't allowed ourselves enough time to visit the Railway museum which is accessible by way of an iron footbridge over the railway track.
There is a great café and gift shop on site along with an old railway carriage used as a charity shop selling all types of railway memorabilia from right of way keys to uniforms to books and magazine from years long past……All very reasonably priced too.