Jacobite steam train over the Glenfinnan Viaduct. Credit: Adobe Stock.
Jacobite steam train over the Glenfinnan Viaduct. Credit: Adobe Stock.

Jacobite train: World famous Harry Potter steam train service suspended

The world famous Harry Potter steam train service has been suspended following a row over safety regulations.

The Jacobite train and the Glenfinnan Viaduct, near Fort William, were made famous after they featured in 2002’s Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

But the service, run by West Coast Railways (WCR), has been suspended while they await a verdict on allowing the train to continue operating in its current state.

The service has operated for more than 30 years under an exemption that allows it to run with hinged-door carriages on the main lines, which is typically not allowed.

WCR hopes to now renew the ‘short-term exemption certificate’ from rail regulator the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) to allow it to continue to operate with hinged-door carriages.

The company said passengers with bookings for the Jacobite will be offered a full refund but warned the suspension could cost £50m in lost value.

A notice on their website said: ‘The vintage carriages that we use on the Jacobite Steam Train trip require a central door locking exemption certificate in order to run on the mainline railway network.

‘In past years this has been automatically granted, however this year that has not been the case and a more detailed application has had to be submitted.

‘West Coast Railways (WCR) the operators of the Jacobite applied to the governing body of the railways the ORR, (Office of Rail and Road) for a short-term exemption certificate whilst awaiting the full application consideration.

‘The ORR have refused to issue this and will consider the full proposal but are unsure as to how long this will take.

‘Due to this, we are unable to run our Jacobite service until the exemption certificate is granted.

‘Please accept our sincere apologies for this possible disruption in our service, however the timing of when we will be able to resume our service is completely beyond our control.

‘WCR will continue to work closely with the ORR to obtain the necessary clearance for the Jacobite service to resume.

‘Although we have suspended the Jacobite trip until we reach agreement with the ORR, we are hopeful of reaching an agreement and be able to resume our service.’  

The Jacobite trips that have been cancelled are the 28 to 30 March 2024.

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