'Hogwarts Express' train cancellations extended over safety concerns

The famous Jacobite Steam Train, which travels over the Glenfinnan Viaduct like in the movies, has cancelled journeys.

Cancellation of journeys on Jacobite Steam Train known as ‘Hogwarts Express’ across Glenfinnan Viaduct extended iStock

Tourists hoping to relive the magic of the Harry Potter novels by taking the “Hogwarts Express” over the Glenfinnan Viaduct will now have to wait longer, the operator has confirmed.

Journeys on the famous Jacobite Steam Train, operated by West Coast Railways, were cancelled on July 15 but were initially expected to restart from July 21.

However, the operator has now said services are suspended indefinitely after safety inspectors identified an issue with the hinged door train carriages.

Those with tickets between have been notified and West Coast Railways said no alternative dates can be offered as a transfer.

Those affected will receive a full refund.

A statement on the firm’s site reads: “During a visit by Inspectors from the Office of Rail and Road (ORR), a couple of issues of concern were identified in relation to the management of the hinged door rolling stock on the Jacobite Steam Train.

“The train operates on the main line under an exemption, granted by the ORR, that allows the continued use of heritage rolling stock.

“As of now, passenger journeys on the Jacobite, have been suspended while West Coast Railways review the concerns raised by the ORR to reach a satisfactory and swift solution to the issues raised and are looking to bring the Jacobite Steam Train back into service as soon as possible.”

The train, often unofficially referred to as the “Harry Potter train” or “The Hogwarts Express” is a highly sought tourist attraction which takes passengers to and from Fort William and Mallaig.

It has been described as “the greatest railway journey in the world” with tickets booked far in advance for the 84 mile trip.

Among the scenic attracts is the iconic Glenfinnan Viaduct, which appeared in the Harry Potter films.

In 2017, the company distanced itself from the Harry Potter brand in respect of the Warner Brothers trademark.

In a statement, the firm said: “There are certain similarities to our service and the fictional ‘Hogwarts Express’, including (but not restricted to) the carriages and the route through which it travels, but we must insist that these trips are not one and the same.

“We would like to state again, for absolute clarity, that we do not run ‘The Hogwarts Express’, we run ‘The Jacobite’ Steam Train.”

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