Highlands & Islands

Strathspey steam train 'may have caused grass fire'

Operators of the Strathspey Railway have admitted it is possible their steam train caused a large grass fire near Boat of Garten at the weekend.

Six fire appliances were called out on Saturday afternoon to deal with 1,000 square meters of burning grass and trees at the side of the railway track.

The crews were back at the scene on Sunday to deal with hotspots.

A diesel engine is now being used to carry passengers on the route between Aviemore and Broomhill.

'Special precautions'

Hendy Pollock from the Strathspey Railway Company said: "After the last service train of the day was returning from Boat of Garten down to Aviemore, it became obvious that there was a line-side fire.

"We had actually been increasing our vigilance. We had people checking when trains had gone past and the footplate crews were taking special precautions to avoid the risk of sparks.

"But it was extremely hot of course, and despite all the precautions that were taken it would seem that the embankment caught fire from the locomotive."

Scottish Fire and Rescue said it was looking into the cause of the blaze.

The service said it had been busy with small grass fires across the Highlands and Islands and Grampian over the weekend.

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