Jacobite steam train finishes a week early due to Covid situation

The Jacobite steam train draws tens of thousands of visitors each year to Glenfinnan to see it cross the famous viaduct. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, The Write Image. NO F26 jacobite steam train 01
The Jacobite steam train draws tens of thousands of visitors each year to Glenfinnan to see it cross the famous viaduct. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, The Write Image. NO F26 jacobite steam train 01

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Friday the 13th has proved a nightmare for Scotland’s Harry Potter train this year.

The steam-hauled Jacobite service should have continued running until then, but the Covid-19 pandemic has forced operators West Coast Railways (WCR) to end it a week early. The last train departed from Fort William for the run to Mallaig on Friday of last week.

A spokesman told the Lochaber Times: ‘Unfortunately the rise of infections and the restrictions on travel have given us little option.

‘We realise that this will cause a lot of disappointment. But the safety of passengers, staff and local residents is paramount.

‘Under the circumstances it would have been irresponsible to continue running the service. However we will be back next March.’

The spokesman would not reveal when the two steam locomotives would haul the vintage carriages back to WCR’s depot at Carnforth in Lancashire.

He explained: ‘Crowds of spectators packed some station platforms to see the train when it travelled north earlier this year and ignored social distancing. In the interests of safety, we want to avoid more such scenes at the present time.’