Leaving King’s Cross station, the train plunges into the Gas Works and Copenhagen Tunnels (the latter being named from the area above it called Copenhagen Fields, which was the site of the Ambassador of Denmark's residence in the 17th century).
After a few minutes look to the right-hand side for the Emirates Stadium, home of Arsenal Football Club and currently the third largest stadium in the UK.
After speeding through some north London suburbs and countryside, the train passes through the centre of Peterborough. The Peterborough Cathedral can be seen on the right-hand side after crossing the River Nene.
A few miles south of Grantham the train passes the spot where, in 1938 the world speed record for steam trains was set when the London and North Eastern Railway locomotive ‘Mallard’ reached 126 mph on 3rd July, a record which still stands. Watch out for the commemorative sign on the right-hand side of the train.
The first stop on the journey is York, reached 1 hour and 53 minutes after leaving London. York is well worth a visit not least as it’s the home of the famous National Railway Museum, the magnificent cathedral and the well-known ‘Shambles’ an old street dating back to the 14th century.
About 7 miles north of York you can see the famous London to Edinburgh Half Way sign.
At Durham, the train crosses a viaduct giving superb views of Durham city, castle and cathedral on the right-hand side.
3 hours out of Kings Cross the train slows and crosses the River Tyne ready to make its next stop at Newcastle Central Station, giving a good view on the right of the numerous Tyne bridges.
Leaving the imposing Newcastle Central Station, the railway runs high above much of the tightly-packed city centre, giving glimpses of the banks of the Tyne to the south. The surroundings change to rolling farmland and woodland as the train follows the line to Alnmouth, from where coastal views of the North Sea can be seen on the right. In a short while, the distinctive shape of Holy Island and Lindisfarne Castle are visible out to sea on the right-hand side.
The line follows the coastline even more closely on the approach to Berwick upon Tweed, where the train slows for a sweeping curve leading to the Royal Border Bridge, a twenty-eight-arch structure across the Tweed which is 2,160 feet long and 120 feet high. Taking just over 40 minutes from Newcastle the train makes its penultimate stop in Berwick-upon-Tweed, which has changed hands many times in its history between England and Scotland (it's just 2 and a half miles inside the English border).
From Berwick-upon-Tweed, the line heads north along the cliff tops overlooking the North Sea, soon passing the historic lineside indicators marking the English/Scottish boundary, until it veers inland to avoid some difficult terrain, then back to the coast as far as the town of Dunbar. From here it is possible to see Bass Rock, 350 feet high and home to a large colony of gannets.
The line then heads inland, directly towards Edinburgh, soon allowing glorious views across the Forth towards the hills of Fife on its north shore. The suburbs of Edinburgh are soon reached, and the distinctive shape of Arthur’s Seat can be seen to the left. Look out for Meadowbank Stadium on the right just before the train slows for the final approach through the tunnel under Calton Hill before finally coming to a final stop at Edinburgh Waverly station.
You can then say that you have travelled in the tracks of the famous “Flying Scotsman”.
Brian's top tip:
When booking your train ticket, reserve a seat on the right-hand side of the train on the way to Edinburgh so you can enjoy the fantastic views available on this line.