‘Harry Potter’ steam train breaks down on first day back in service

The service take passengers over the Glenfinnan Viaduct (PA Media)
The service take passengers over the Glenfinnan Viaduct (PA Media)

A steam train made famous by the Harry Potter films broke down on its first day back in operation.

The Jacobite service - sometimes known as the Hogwarts Express - was brought to a halt just outside Glenfinnan due to poor weather conditions in the Highlands on Monday.

Operator West Coast Railways said its on-board team “did their best” to restart it but the train had to be rescued by another diesel engine.

The service is a nod to the name of a school in JK Rowling’s schoolboy wizard franchise.

The breakdown affected other parts of the network with ScotRail unable to run trains between Fort William and Mallaig.

Services resumed later following the recovery of the Jacobite.

WCR apologised to the customers affected and said compensation would be paid as services ran to schedule on Tuesday.

The Jacobite had only just kickstarted its 2024 season after being suspended pending a safety ruling last month, costing up to £50 million in lost value.

It operated for more than 30 years under an exemption allowing it to run with hinged-door carriages on main lines, which is typically not allowed.

WCR submitted an application to renew the exemption but lost a High Court challenge against the Office of Rail and Road in December.

The company had complained that the multimillion-pound cost of having to retrofit central locking could “destroy” its business and it argued its door systems were just as safe.

But a judge dismissed the operator’s case and concluded the ORR had taken a “justifiable” approach.

The service takes tourists from Fort William to Mallaig, including over the famous Glenfinnan Viaduct.

Passengers with bookings for the Jacobite have been offered a full refund.