Fun facts: Scotland’s Railway by numbers edition

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

As the year ticks over to 2020, it’s time for another Railway Fun Facts blog and this time we’re focussing on numbers.

Some of the answers are linked to things that happened in the last decade, others go back far longer than that. We’ll give you the answer and you’ve got to guess the question. So here goes, five facts all with number-based answers. Good luck!

Borders Railway1 new railway line

But which one was it? Clue: Work started in April 2013 and was opened to the public on 6 September 2015.

If you said the Borders Railway, you’re spot on.

2015 saw the opening of one shiny new railway line running from Edinburgh Waverley to Tweedbank. It was the UK’s longest new domestic line to open in the UK for over 100 years and the longest in Scotland since the West Highland Line opened way back in 1901. The opening of the new line connected the Borders back to the main railway network, having been cut off since the Waverley Line was closed back in 1969. In order to get the new line up and running, 42 new bridges were built, 95 were refurbished and seven new stations at Shawfair, Eskbank, Newtongrange, Gorebridge, Stow, Galashiels and Tweedbank were created. That’s a lot of building work!

Thurso station335 miles

We’re heading north for this one, as northerly as we can get on the mainland. The answer is 335 miles so what’s the question?

Clue: Scotland’s capital is also involved…

If you guessed the number of miles from Edinburgh to the UK’s most northerly station of Thurso then a huge well done. Nestled at the very top of Scotland sits Thurso, the last stop on the Far North Line, around 3 hours 45 minutes from Inverness. To complete the journey from Edinburgh to Thurso it would take you between 7.5 hours and 9.5 hours depending on connections. A journey up here shows you just how remote and wild Scotland can be. Be sure to pack your camera!

1 minute

The two closest stations on the network are just one minute apart, but where are they?

Clue: If you were to drive it would take 15 minutes.

If you said Culrain and Invershin stations then a big round of applause for you!

Both situated alongside the beautiful landscapes of the Far North Line, the stations are just one minute apart by rail. But if you were to drive it, it would take 15 minutes. It would also take 15 minutes to walk! The extremely short distance between the two stations is thanks to the Shin Viaduct, which carries the railway over the Kyle of Sutherland. One station is on one side of the water, the other on the opposite side. The footpath alongside the line connects the two banks which makes it as quick to walk, as it is to drive.

Glasgow61 stations

If 61 is the answer, what is the question? Clue: It's something to do with Scotland's biggest city.

It's the number of stations in the Glasgow area. If you said this, very well done!

Glasgow, has the UK’s largest suburban rail network outside of London with a whopping 61 stations, helping everyone get around for work or play seven days a week. The newest station, Robroyston, in the north east of Glasgow opened on 15 December 2019. The sheer number of people that use the Glasgow network can be seen in a nutshell with over 38 million people passing through Glasgow Central each year.

6 Great Scenic Rail Journeys

Although you might think a lot more should have this title, there are officially six ‘Great Scenic Rail Journeys’ in Scotland. We’re talking incredibly impressive journeys because quite honestly, great scenery can be found on most routes around Scotland. But the official six really are something special. Starting with the West Highland Line, this route is world famous and takes in the scenery of the west coast as it travels from Glasgow to Mallaig and Fort William. Think Lochs, glens, mountains, viaducts and miles upon miles of sprawling rugged landscapes. It’s truly spectacular. The Far North Line, Kyle Line, Carlisle Line, Border’s Railway and Stranraer Line all offer incredible views en route too.

That brings us to the end of the line on this edition of fun facts. Thanks very much for reading.

Fancy discovering Scotland for yourself?

Plan your journey