Jacobite Steam Train Suspended Due to Safety Concerns
Though the steam train is known officially as the Jacobite, you may be more familiar with its stage name: the Hogwarts Express. The enchanting engine featured in the Harry Potter film series has recently been canceled over some concerns for the safety of its passengers.
The Jacobite steam train had previously been running an 84-mile round trip from Fort William to Mallaig, going through some of the most beautiful landscapes in the Scottish Highlands. Potter fans from across the globe had long flocked to book the experience, in which they can cross the iconic Glenfinnan Viaduct featured in the films. The opportunity to simulate Harry’s journey to Hogwarts was, for many, an irresistible opportunity.
“I spy with my little eye… the magnificent Jacobite Steam Train!” 🚂 Have you managed to ride on one of the most famous trains in the world?#Scotland #JacobiteSteamTrain @westcoastrail #trains @VisitScotland pic.twitter.com/z5eZIdZh27
— Scottish Tours (@ScottishTours) July 6, 2023
However, it’s not the casual risk of an errant Bat Bogey Hex that has the Jacobite on the sidelines for the foreseeable future. BBC News reported that a recent inspection by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) turned up “a couple of issues of concern” regarding the famous West Coast Railways train, including some that put passengers “at serious risk of personal injury.” These issues, according to the ORR, breached an earlier prohibition notice from back in June, leading them to withdraw the Exemption Certificate that allowed the Jacobite to run with the heritage carriages featured in the Harry Potter films. West Coast Railways must rectify the problems before resuming normal operations.
Chief among the concerns raised was the existing procedures around secondary door locks. The heritage carriages in question currently operate without central door locking, a safety feature that prevents passenger doors from being opened by hand. In conjunction with this, the ORR’s report stated that train stewards were also not preventing passengers from operating the doors, allowing them in some circumstances to lean out of the train while it was in motion.
West Coast Railways issued a statement apologizing to those whose trips on the Jacobite were canceled as a result. “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,” they confirmed. The operator also stated that booked passengers would be offered a full refund and that they hoped to have the Jacobite services up and running again in the near future.