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Bo’ness & Kinneil Railway


RCD’s Overview

The Bo’ness and Kinneil Railway is both a heritage railway and a museum complex, incorporating the nucleus of the Museum of Scottish Railways. The heritage line operates over a former freight line from the harbour at Bo'ness towards former inland coalfields. The Museum is Scotland’s largest railway museum, and is located at Bo'ness.  It is operated by the Scottish Railway Preservation Society and comprises the nation’s largest historical railway collection. The Museum comprises three sizeable buildings holding historic locomotives, carriages and wagons, as well as models, displays and photographs telling the history of the railways in Scotland. It is easy to reach by car, 20 miles west of Edinburgh, located just a short distance from the M9 motorway. 

The support group is the 'The Scottish Railway Preservation Society' (see 'Information on the Suport Group' below).


Happening This Month:

  • Go to 'Homepage' and click into 'Railway Club Calendar'

Key Facts (where and when)

Extent of Railway (where to where):

Bo'ness (Falkirk district) to Manuel

Principal Visitor Centre:

Bo'ness Station

Period of Operation*

- Museum: April to October (Daily)

- Railway: April to June, September and October (Weekends and Tuesdays)

- Railway: July and August (Weekends, Tuesdays and Wednesdays)

- Railway: December (Special event trains)

 [* This is a summary. Please go to the railway’s website for definitive operating days] 


Key Facts (what you’ll see)

Services usually steam or diesel?

Midweek trains are steam. Weekends, steam with last train diesel

Type of Steam / Diesel Locomotives Used:

Full range of steam and diesel locos (large, mid and small-sized)

Length of Line:

5.5 miles

Time taken for a round trip:

1 hour 10 minutes

Number of trains per day:

3 in each direction (in June, July and August, once per month is a more intensive steam and diesel service is run)

Number of Stations:

4 stations


Adult: £13. Senior: £12. Child: £7 Family: £36

Time to allow for Visit:

Half day if visit to Museum included


Yes. Museum of Scottish Railways adjacent to Bo'ness station



Picnic/Play areas:


Preservation Established:


Car Park Facilities:

Free car park at Bo'ness 

Key Facts (Galas/Events/Dining)

Dining Trains:

- Afternoon Tea on a Steam Train

- Forth Valley Gin Train 

Event Trains:

- Santa Steam Trains: December

- Black Bun Specials: Post Xmas to early January 

Principal Galas:

- None yet advertised 


- Steam Driver Experience / Diesel Driver Experience




Telephone:                                                           01506 825855


Social Media:                                              

                                                                                Also on Twitter and Instagram



Brief History of the Railway and its Preservation  

The heritage line operates on a former freight line from the Slamannan and Monkland coalfield and ironwork areas to the harbour at Bo'ness (formerly known as Borrowstounness). The lines from the coalfields had initially terminated where it reached the Union Canal at Causewayend, a few miles west of Linlithgow. The point was just 4 miles short of the Firth of Forth at Bo’ness, and in the 1840s it was decided to extend the line to Bo'ness to make use of its harbour for export potential. The line was built and completed in 1851 for goods and mineral trains only, the line opening to passengers in 1856. The line crossed the Edinburgh - Glasgow main line at Manuel, and separate stations on the main line and the Bo’ness branch were provided for interchange. The Bo’ness line was never a financial success, largely as Bo’ness harbour was close to the larger and better-connected harbour at Grangemouth. The branch closed to passenger traffic in 1956, however much of the line between Manuel and Bo’ness remained open until 1979 to serve the Kinneil Colliery.

Upon its closure, the Scottish Railway Preservation Society took an interest in the line. It had been established in 1961 and had built a locomotive collection which it maintained and displayed at a site in Falkirk. The Society had always aspired to operate a heritage railway and took the opportunity to develop the Bo’ness branch upon its closure. By then the Bo’ness station had gone, however the Society built a new station at Bo'ness, and re-laid track progressively opening to Kinneil by 1987, and back to Manuel by 1990, the terminus of the railway.


Steam Operational Locomotives:

(1) Neilson Reid 0-6-0T - No. 1 ‘Lord Roberts’

(2) Caledonian Railway Class 439 (2P) 0-4-4T - No.419 (55189)

(3) Hunslet Austerity 0-6-0ST - No. 19’


Diesel Operational Locomotives/DMU:

(1) BR Class 27 - No. 27001

(2) BR Class 37 - No. 37025 ‘Inverness TMD’ 

(3) BR Class 37 - No. 37067/37703

(4) BR Class 37 - No. 37403 ‘Isle of Mull’ (on main line operation)

(5) BR Class 47 - No. 47643              

(6) Heritage DMU Class 126 - Unit 51017+59404+79443+51043


Steam Locomotives Under Overhaul:

(1) LNER Class D49 4-4-0 - No. 62712 ‘Morayshire’

(2) BR Standard Class 4 2-6-4T - No. 80105

(3) Hunslet Austerity 0-6-0ST - No. 7.


Diesel Locomotives Under Overhaul:

(1) BR Class 20 - No. 20020

(2) BR Class 25 - No. 25235

(3) BR Class 26 - No. 26038

(4) BR Class 27 - No. 27005 (D5351)

(5) BR Class 37 - No. 37261


In the Museum   

(1) North British Railway Class C (LNER Class J36) 0-6-0 - No. 673 (65243) ‘Maude’

(2) GNSR Class F (LNER Class D40) 4-4-0 No. 49 (62277) ‘Gordon Highlander’

(3) LNER Class K4 2-6-0 - No. 3442 (61994) ‘The Great Marquess’

(4) NBR G Class (LNER Y9 Class) 0-4-0ST - No. 42 (68095)          

(5) Andrew Barclay 0-6-0F - ‘Lord Ashfield’   

(6) Andrew Barclay 0-4-0TC - No. 6.


Stored/ Under Restoration/ Out of Service:

- A considerable number of locomotives are stored for renovation or display (see railway website)



Name of Support Group:

The Scottish Railway Preservation Society (SRPS)

Annual membership fee for new members:

Adult: £30. Junior: £15. Family: £45 (Membership to Sept 2024)

Own Website:



Benefits of membership:                                  

-          Free admission to the ‘Museum of Scottish Railways’

-          Members own vouchers for travel on the Bo’ness & Kinneil Railway (terms apply - not valid

on special events/ special premium fare events)

-          Participation in Society activities

-          Quarterly Magazine, ‘Blastpipe’


How to Join and/or Volunteer:                         Go to


What They Say About Volunteering:

Volunteering, in whatever capacity and at whatever level, is an immensely rewarding experience. It can become a challenging and satisfying hobby for people of all ages and abilities. Please contact our Volunteer Coordinator at for more information on how you can help bring Scotland’s railway heritage to life.


How to Volunteer: Volunteers are actively sought. Contact the Volunteer Coordinator at for more information.


How to Donate:                                       Send email to railway for information on donating.


WHY JOIN: Help maintain Scotland’s premier heritage railway complex and join the Scottish Railway Preservation Society, the nation’s largest preservation society.                                                                               


Those interested in this railway may also be interested in the following railway societies also listed on this



Locomotive/ Engineering Societies:

- Locomotive Owners Group


Traditional Railway Societies:

- Caledonian Railway Association

- North British Railway Study Group


Model Railway Clubs:

- Edinburgh and Lothians Model Railway Club

- Thistle Modelmakers

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