'Hogwarts Express' train journeys given go-ahead after three week halt

The famous Jacobite Steam Train, which travels over the Glenfinnan Viaduct cancelled journeys last month.

‘Hogwarts Express’: Train journeys across Glenfinnan Viaduct given go-ahead after three week halt West Coast Railways

A steam train service which featured heavily in the Harry Potter movies can resume journeys after a safety issue, a watchdog has confirmed.

Journeys on the Jacobite Steam Train over the Glenfinnan Viaduct – commonly known as the “Hogwarts Express” – were halted in July after safety inspectors identified an issue with the hinged door train carriages.

Operator West Coast Railways announced ticket cancellations on July 15, adding that no alternative dates can be offered as a transfer.

Now, the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has said the popular tourist attraction can resume service.

The ORR said in a statement: “Following an inspection of West Coast Railway Company Limited’s (WCRCL) proposed safety arrangements for the Jacobite service on August 8, ORR has granted it a new exemption certificate which will allow the Jacobite to recommence operation.

“This exemption certificate is required for all train operators who want to use hinged door carriages without central door locking fitted.

“WCRCL’s exemption certificate is granted for a timebound period from August 8 to November 30 to enable it to honour its bookings and reflects the interests of its employees whilst its claim for judicial review is determined.”

The train, often unofficially referred to as the “Harry Potter train”, 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 attractions 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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