Pure magic as Harry Potter train steams back

NO F29 JACOBITE PREPARATIONS 01 Photograph: iain Ferguson, alba.photos
The Jacobite steam trainreturns to a track near us next week. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos.

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Crowds of railway enthusiasts turned out this week to watch Black Five steam locomotive Lancashire Fusilier hauling the Jacobite’s vintage carriages back to Scotland ahead of the summer season.

Photographs of the train, which doubled as the Hogwarts Express in the Harry Potter movies, were posted on the Facebook page of operators West Coast Railways this week and drew appreciative comments from people who have travelled on the service between Fort William and Mallaig over the 21-arched Glenfinnan Viaduct – a trip which has been voted the world’s greatest train journey.

The Jacobite’s first scheduled run will be on Monday April 26, the day the Scottish Government lifts restrictions on travel following the coronavirus lockdown.

A West Coast Railways spokesperson said: ‘Special precautions with social distancing mean that to keep passengers and staff safe we have had to reduce the capacity of our trains.

‘But we are desperate to get back on track again. And a trip on the Jacobite is just the ticket.’

Among other anti-Covid precautions, traditional paper tickets will be replaced with e-tickets and special signs will be erected at stations to show passengers where to stand.

All travellers will have to wear face masks, except when eating or drinking, and instead of an onboard buffet car, there will be e-buffet trolley service.