Welcome to the first in our series on the great train journeys of the world, past and present. We start close to home, up in Scotland, with the Jacobite Steam Train.
Considered by some to be one of the greatest train journeys in the world, the Jacobite Steam train takes its passengers on an 84 mile trip; a round trip around some of the most stunning sights Scotland has to offer.
The journey starts in the shadow of Ben Nevis, Britain’s highest mountain, at Fort William. It is the largest town in the Highlands and it is a great base to explore the rest of the West Highlands.
Glenfinnan Viaduct and Station
Before reaching the hamlet of Glenfinnan, the train crosses the stunning Glenfinnan Viaduct, made even more famous from its appearances in the Harry Potter films.
Overlooking Loch Shel and the Jacobite monument, amazingly if time allows, they will stop the train on the viaduct itself, giving you time to explore the quite magical views.
In addition, you will stop in the hamlet of Glenfinnan itself, giving you a chance to visit the Glenfinnan Railway Museum.
Meaning “the safe bay,” Asiraig is a pretty and tranquil village on sheltered shore of Loch nan Ceall (Loch of the Cells). During the summer, you can take boats from here to the Small Isles, and there is even a local Highland Games held here in July.
At the end of the line, you can see Mallaig’s long history as a fishing village (founded in 1840 by the owner of the North Morar Estate, Lord Lovat), and it remains a bustling fishing port and ferry terminal.
Locomotives and Rolling Stock
A number of different steam locomotives have been used to haul the service over the years. They have mostly been of types that would have been used on the route in pre-1967 steam days, including:
LNER Gresley K4 61994 The Great Marquess
LNER Peppercorn Class K1 2-6-0 No. 62005 Lord of the Isles; a 1940s development of the K4 design
LMS Stanier Class 5 4-6-0; known as the “Black Fives”
The carriages of the Jacobite steam traib have all been of the British Railways Mark 1 type, initially owned by British Rail and painted blue and grey, but now owned by West Coast Railways and painted in an approximation of British Rail Maroon with vacuum brakes.
In addition, for the afternoon service an air braked set of British Railways Mark 2 carriages are also based in Fort William.
Find Out More
If you’d like to find out more about the Jacobite, do check out the West Coast Railways website.