Jacobite service could be halted amid health & safety row


The popular ‘Hogwarts Express’ service could be at the end of the line as it awaits a ruling after challenging a safety rule.

The famous steam training passing over the Glenfinnan Viaduct in the Scottish Highlands. IStock.

The Jacobite – often referred to as the Hogwarts Express due to its appearance in the Harry Potter movies – is a popular tourist attraction between Mallaig and Fort William across the Glenfinnan Viaduct in the Scottish Highlands.

Operators West Coast Railway (WCR) have challenged health & safety requirements for central locking systems to be fitted to carriage doors.

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WCR says implementing the measures could cost £7m.

The service has previously been granted two 10-year exemptions to the safety rule by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR), however, this expired on 31 March 2023.

During an inspection in July, ORR halted services due to safety problems with the door locks which put passengers “at risk of serious personal injury.” The Jacobite was given a temporary exemption in August, which expires on 30 November.

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WCR is now awaiting a ruling following a two-day hearing at the High Court last week.

750 people travel on the service per day in the peak season, and many more tourists visit the area to see the train go past, with its crossing of the Glenfinnan Viaduct, featured in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, particularly popular.

A judgment is expected in January.

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