Friday 14 October 2011

Jacobite Train

While looking through some old photos I came across these from a trip on the Jacobite steam train a couple of years ago. Nothing to do with motorcycles, but interesting just the same.

Lord of the Isles
I’m not a big fan of steam trains as such, but I do admire the engineering involved and the fact that people love them enough to try and keep them running half a century after they became obsolete. There is a certain romance attached to steam trains, you must admit, especially for those of us too young to remember them in ordinary service. Although one of the major drawbacks, I think, is that they are just not as interesting while you are on them. Much more interesting to see them flying through the countryside from the outside.

building up a head of steam
This is one of the last steam trains on a regular service in the country.  It also runs through some beautiful countryside on its journey from Fort William to Mallaig on the West Highland Line in the north of Scotland. Unfortunately, after a lovely sunny Saturday, the weather on the Sunday when we caught the train was a bit grey and overcast with a smattering of rain, but not enough to spoil our day. 

You could have a look around the foot-plate if you were very lucky

The faded glory that was British Rail
An odd sight when we arrived at the station was a large party of school kids and their teachers all dressed up as extras from a Harry Potter movie. It’s a bit disconcerting to come across a group of adults in wizard costume, complete with cloaks and pointy hats, at 9am on a Sunday morning. Add in the horde of excited children waving magic wands around and muttering cod-Latin phrases to each other and it becomes a bit surreal.

The reason for the costumes is that this is the train that they use in the Harry Potter films. It’s the one which takes them to Hogwarts School, and the train and the viaduct at Glenfinnan feature in the films. In fact, when we crossed the viaduct I worried that the train would tip over as everyone rushed to the one side of the carriage to take a photo.

view from a window

Glenfinnan Station, just before the viaduct
It was an interesting day out. One which might be repeated another time in better weather. I might also take a better camera.

1 comment:

  1. Great story....not a train enthusiast, but it is nice to see these old 'uns running.....much more character than the new and clinically sterile versions of today.