Harry Potter and the rail replacement bus: 'Hogwarts Express' train breaks down on first day of service

18 April 2024, 07:45

The iconic steam train was made famous by the Harry Potter films
The iconic steam train was made famous by the Harry Potter films. Picture: Getty

By Flaminia Luck

A Jacobite steam train - often nicknamed the 'Hogwarts Express' - which was made famous by the Harry Potter film franchise has broken down on its first day back in service.

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The train service which travels through the Scottish Highlands was brought to a halt just outside of Glenfinnan due to poor weather conditions on Monday.

Operator West Coast Railways said the team on board "did their best" to restart the service, however the train had to be rescued by another diesel engine.

The breakdown affected the rail network, with ScotRail unable to run trains between Fort William and Mallaig.

Services resumed later following the recovery of the train.

WCR apologised to the customers affected and said compensation would be offered. Services are running as scheduled on Tuesday.

The iconic steam train starts off at Fort William and crosses over the famous Glenfinnan viaduct and Arisaig, before reaching Mallaig on the West Highland Line.

A spokeswoman for WCR said: “West Coast Railways apologises to customers on our Jacobite service today.

"Earlier today, just outside of Glenfinnan, the Jacobite broke down due to extremely poor weather conditions.

“The team onboard did their best to restart the service, but the Jacobite had to be rescued by another diesel engine and we were not able to offer customers the experience we planned.

"We will be issuing them with compensation.“We are pleased to confirm the Jacobite will run as normal tomorrow.”

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The train travels over the Glenfinnan viaduct
The train travels over the Glenfinnan viaduct. Picture: Getty

The Jacobite had only just restarted its 2024 season after being suspended pending a safety ruling last month.

The heritage rail operator is currently awaiting the ruling on whether it can continue to run with hinged-door carriages.

The service had operated for more than 30 years under an exemption but in 2023, following an accident, rail authorities issued further safety advice to operators of carriages which are not centrally controlled or locked by train crew.

WCR has applied to renew the exemption, and made a request for temporary permission to operate its full heritage carriages while the ORR decided whether the Jacobite is safe.

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