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Get Your Harry Potter On with the Jacobite Steam Train of Scotland

The journey's name "Jacobite" pays tribute to the massive black Jacobite locomotive engine which pulls the train.
The journey's name "Jacobite" pays tribute to the massive black Jacobite locomotive engine which pulls the train.
Janice McDonald

Even if you have never seen a Harry Potter movie, this is a train ride you can appreciate. The Jacobite ride between Fort William and the port of Mallaig is Scotland is hailed as one of the great train rides of the world. The 41 mile scenic trek allows riders to see some gorgeous Scottish countryside and coastline, giving one a taste of both the Highlands as the Islands on the journey. Jacobite is the name given to the powerful black engine that pulls the train.
Although operating since 1984, this route on the West Highland Railway Line was made famous with the Harry Potter movies as the train Harry and his friends took on their journey to Hogwart’s school. True Harry Potter aficionados can even visit the train car where Harry, Ron and Hermione sat on their trip.
For all others, just sit back and enjoy the ride. There will be views of the islands of Skye, Rum, Eigg and Muck as well as Loch Morar, Loch Nevis and the giant Ben Nevis mountain. Riders will find that this train is famous enough that people will stops their cars to take photos and wave as you go by.
One of the more memorable stretches on the journey is as the train rounds a curve to cross the 21 arched Glenfinnan Viaduct. The view is breath taking as you see the mountains above and Loch Shiel below.
The train makes a stop at the Glenfinnan Station halfway along the line. A look inside the West Highland Rail Museum of Scotland is well worth the £2 cost.
The Jacobite locomotive engine that powers this all was built in 1949 with a design that dates to 1929. The huge black engine is powered by coal and throughout the trip, there is a team of engineers shoveling stoking the fire for the steam.
While this route is a little out of the way for many visitors to Scotland, it is well worth the trip and will expose you to some of the best scenery in the country. Reservations to ride the train are a must so check out the West Highland Railway website. The two hour trip generally runs twice a day but check the schedule. Get there early and explore the entire train as well as watching the engineers prepare their iron horse for the journey.