The Forth Bridge Heritage Centre at the North Queensferry Victorian railway station is a wee gem of a place that has been lovingly restored by volunteers and is now managed by North Queensferry Heritage Trust.
This working station's waiting room houses an interesting exhibition about the Forth Bridge, a beautiful meeting room, an art studio, and a fabulous centenary mosaic created by villagers and local children.
When the Forth Bridge opened, there was no station when the Forth Bridge and North Queensferry passengers had to change trains at Inverkeithing.
A public outcry ensued, and just 90 days later the new station was built. A fine example of Victorian design, it originally housed a ticket office, station master’s office, gents, and ladies' waiting rooms, complete with several cast iron fireplaces.
In 2012, the Trustees leased the listed station building from ScotRail and restored it to its original condition. Works included the refurbishment of the roof and the reinstatement of water and electrical services. Joinery work was undertaken to refurbish all doors, windows, flooring and panelling. A thorough clean of the interior and redecoration was followed by the removal of the hoardings that kept the interior dark for nearly 25 years.
The station buildings are now managed as the Forth Bridge Heritage Centre and you could be forgiven for thinking that time has stood still.
Following canny restoration, the waiting room is now a beautiful large meeting room with burgundy tongue and groove panelling, original panelled benches, and a magnificent Victorian chandelier.
Other rooms house interesting and eclectic exhibits about the Forth Bridge and regular exhibitions. Previous collections have included: The battle of Inverkeithing in 1651 which resulted in the union of the parliaments in 1703; Famous Artists in North Queensferry - including JMW Turner who researched Robert Stevenson's Light Tower that used the same lamp as the Bell Rock that he had a commission to paint, but never visited; Steaming Forth – The Joy of Steam & the Forth Bridge, by the late John Clemmens who photographed steam trains across the globe.
North Queensferry Station is part of the Artline group which was formed to showcase the restored art and heritage buildings on the railway through ScotRail's Fife Circle service.
Nowadays, you can soak up the bygone atmosphere of the station and stand at the end of the southbound platform to get great photos of trains coming off the bridge.