Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Driver stops train to rescue swan in snow

Image caption The cygnet had a lucky escape after crash landing on the Fife circle line

A train driver has been hailed for rescuing a swan which had crash landed on snow-covered tracks, before treating it to a first class journey to safety.

ScotRail driver Bob McFarlane, 50, rescued the disorientated cygnet after it landed on the line when his Fife circle train approached Rosyth Station.

Mr McFarlane stopped the train before calling the signaller to ensure no trains would pass the opposite way.

He then jumped onto the tracks and waded through snow to rescue the bird.

The driver blocked off the first class section of his train to house the bird until he arrived in Edinburgh, where it was handed over to the Scottish SPCA.

Mr McFarlane, from Wiston, near Biggar, said: "As I reached the station, passengers on the platform were pointing frantically at a swan lying on the tracks ahead of my train.

"It would have been impossible to stop but thankfully the swan moved out of the way and onto the opposite tracks.

"I spoke to the signaller because I knew swans are a protected species and he was amazed when I told him that if he could ensure no trains would pass the opposite way then I'd try to rescue the bird.

"I climbed down and waded through snow which was up to my knees before picking the swan up and carrying it into the train.

"I know they can give a nasty bite and have been known to break people's arms but I couldn't just leave it there."

Ch Insp Paul Anderson, of the Scottish SPCA, took the swan to the charity's wildlife rescue centre near Dunfermline.

He said: "Bob did remarkably well to rescue the swan, which will probably have become disorientated because of the weather.

"It will have crash landed and wouldn't have realised it was on train tracks because of the snow.

"It was very quiet and dazed but is now able to stand and will be released in the next few days."

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