Falgstone unveiled as part of Ryder Cup Year to Go celebrations

Tom Watson and Paul McGinley unveil ceremonial flagstone

Gleneagles Station welcomes Ryder Cup

Ceremonial flagstone unveiled to celebrate visit

Gleneagles Station has begun its countdown to the 2014 Ryder Cup by welcoming the captains of the US and European teams as part of the one year to go celebrations before work gets underway on a series of planned improvements at the station.

To mark the occasion, captains Paul McGinley and Tom Watson arrived at the station in spectacular style in a 1927 Ryder Cup-branded steam locomotive alongside First Minister Alex Salmond, Sports Minister Shona Robison, European Ryder Cup Director Richard Hills, PGA of America President Ted Bishop, celebrity Ryder Cup ambassadors and other dignitaries.

They were greeted at the station by Liz Grant, Provost of Perth & Kinross Council, alongside representatives from partners involved in the refurbishment of the station including ScotRail, Network Rail, Tactran and EventScotland before the unveiling of a specially commissioned flagstone which will be laid as part of the station upgrades over the coming year.

The engraving on the flagstone reads: The 2014 Ryder Cup European Captain Paul McGinley and United States Captain Tom Watson Visited Gleneagles Station On 23 September 2013, to mark "A Year to Go"

The Perthshire station will play a crucial role in the transport plan for the event next year with around 7,000 spectators per day expected to travel by rail. To ensure visitors receive the best possible welcome as well as leaving a lasting legacy to the people of Perthshire, the station will be upgraded with a number of improvement works ahead of September 2014 thanks to investment from Transport Scotland, Scotrail, Network Rail, Perth & Kinross Council, Tactran and EventScotland.

Plans include the creation of a new link road to the station from the A9 Loaninghead flyover to improve safety and access, an extended formalised car park, the installation of new lifts to create step free access to both platforms, customer information screens, re-glazing, platform resurfacing, restoration of passenger waiting rooms and toilet facilities. The station will also be completely repainted in Caledonian Railways heritage colours of burgundy and cream, while a temporary footbridge will be installed over the A9 to ensure safe pedestrian access to the course during the Ryder Cup.

Tenders for construction of the link road are currently being assessed and the full investment details of the upgraded at the station will be announced once this is confirmed.

Artists impressions of the planned works which will begin next month, were also on display during the day and will be made available in Auchterarder for public view.

First Minister Alex Salmond said: “The arrival of the 1927 steam locomotive, the year the Ryder Cup was first played, at Gleneagles Station was a terrific way to mark this occasion and highlight the important role the station will play in achieving Scotland’s aim of hosting the best-ever Ryder Cup next September.

“It is fantastic to think that in 12 months time the station will be transformed and provide an extremely warm welcome for all visitors to the 2014 Ryder Cup, as well as leaving a long-lasting benefit to the people of Perthshire who will be able to enjoy the station for many years to come.”