A famous train popular with Harry Potter fans has ceased service, disappointing tourists.
Earlier this year, residents near the Glenfinnan Viaduct said they were overwhelmed by the recent surge in visitor numbers, and people flocked to see the ‘Hogwarts Express’ chug along the route.
An estimated 500,000 tourists flock to the West Highland Village each year, with the train being one of the main reasons.
However, these numbers are likely to drop again soon as the main attraction is suspended for the time being.
West Coast Railways, which operate the Jacobite steam train on the same 41-mile route as featured in the Harry Potter films, have announced that there will be no train service until at least July 31.
However, there is no guarantee that the train will be back on the route by that date.
This is due to an issue with the old train’s door locks, which put passengers at risk of ‘falling out’, as well as another issue with people leaning out of the windows.
A security reportpublished by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR), states: “People can fall from the doors of a train.”
“Any person leaning out of an open window of a moving train can be hit as the train passes infrastructure (including vegetation, rock cuttings and earthworks) in the vicinity of the train.”
As a result, West Coast Railways have had to suspend services until the review is complete.
In a statement Their website stated, “Due to operational reasons, we will not be able to offer our Jacobite service as planned before July 31, 2023.”
“Passenger service on the Jacobite has been suspended with immediate effect while West Coast Railways is reviewing the concerns expressed by the ORR with a view to finding a satisfactory and speedy resolution to the issues raised.
“[We] want to get the Jacobite Steam Train back in service as soon as possible.
“Unfortunately, we are unable to offer alternative dates to rebook your trip, so our reservations team will issue a full refund within the next 10 business days.”
“Please sincerely apologize for these cancellations.”
However, some apologies were not enough as unfortunately they were disappointed.
Chelsea Davis shared a screenshot of her cancellation email on Twitter and wrote: “No! I’ve been waiting for this all year and just arrived in Scotland and got this. Also this year there is no other availability.”
Another tourist, Gina Soanes, who had traveled from Oxfordshire to take the train for her son’s 18th birthday, had a similar experience.
She tweeted, “Thanks for ruining my son’s 18th birthday.”
“Arrived in Scotland from Oxfordshire today with the sole purpose of traveling on the Jacobite steam train only to find that our tickets have been canceled due to ‘unforeseen circumstances’. Not good enough!”
According to a survey, the viaduct is the second best tourist spot for Harry Potter, with Warner Bros. Studios in Hertfordshire taking the top spot.
For Potter fans, the studios offer tours and behind-the-scenes insights.
All eight films were filmed at some point in the studios, including inside the Great Hall.
Meanwhile, this stunning British seaside town is close to Hogwarts, where you can often spot dolphins swimming from the beach.
And this ‘paradise’ British beach was also used as a filming location for some of the Harry Potter films.