The age of steam returned to the north-east as a railway group welcomed its first locomotive for more than two decades.
Trainspotters were in their element at the arrival of No 60163 Tornado – a Peppercorn A1 Pacific.
The steam engine, affectionately known as The Aberdonian, travelled out of Edinburgh Waverley station yesterday morning before pulling into the Granite City just after 3pm.
The special occasion also served as a heartfelt tribute to a railway fanatic who passed away last year.
Until now, trains have only been able to travel as far north as Edinburgh, with nowhere available nearer Aberdeen for them to turn around and head back south again.
However, thanks to the dedicated hard work of volunteers from The Ferryhill Railway Heritage Trust, a turntable near Duthie Park depot has been restored.
The Aberdonian is the first train to use the turntable since the mid-1990s.
Dr Jon Tyler, chairman of the trust, said: “It was the christening of our turntable after a three-year programme of refurbishment.
“We are very proud of the volunteers who have put in the man hours, all but one was present.
“It was a key event for us, it is great to see the turnable work again.
“It was tinged with sadness, as our member David Clucas passed away last April. His ashes were put into the firebox of the engine, while it was on the turntable. It has become a bit of a tradition with rail enthusiasts to have this done.”
Dr Tyler added: “It is the first time the Tornado has been to Aberdeen. We now have another five steam charters booked for the rest of the year, the next one on May 1.”
Leading up to the locomotive’s arrival, members of the organisation tested the turntable with 190-tonne weights.
Peter Thompson, a volunteer with the trust, said efforts to restore the 1906 turntable had paid off, adding: “We spent a lot of hours in the last week to make sure it ran smoothly.”
The turntable project took two years of work and £86,000 in funding.
The arrival of the Aberdonian brought out trainspotters from as far afield as the west coast.
Passengers aboard the Tornado journeyed through Princes Street Gardens, over the Forth Bridge, via Perth and followed the route of the River Tay to Dundee before reaching Stonehaven and then exiting the town on the cliffs above the North Sea.
The locomotive stopped at Craiginches, where it was refilled with 27,000 litres of water, before reaching the Ferryhill depot and turning around.
Volunteers got to work once the engine had docked and restocked the coal supply. Spectators applauded after witnessing the first 360 degree turn. Lucky passengers onboard the locomotive were on their way back to Edinburgh just after 5pm.
The next services will be on May 1 and May 3. The train will be the “Union of South Africa” – a Class A4 steam loco built in Doncaster in 1937.