Jacobite Steam Train – the Harry Potter train

A journey by steam train through a magical landscape – so magical that it appears several times as a backdrop in the Harry Potter films. The Hogwarts Express travelled on the route to Mallaig.

Der Jakobite Steam Train auf dem Viadukt von Glenfinnan
The Jakobite Steam Train on the Glenfinnan Viaduct

Climb aboard and snuggle into the deep cushions, preferably in a window seat. Everything around you is cosy: light wood, red carriages, rustic conductors. The locomotive whistles briefly, then the Jacobite Steam Train rolls off and leaves Fort William railway station. Its destination: the small fishing village of Mallaig.

Abteil erste Klasse
First class compartment

It is a journey with so many sights. From the very first few metres, you catch a glimpse of Neptune’s Staircase, the grandiose lock system at the entrance to the Caledonian Canal. Then the train plunges into a magical landscape.

Jacobite Steam Train Landschaft
Jacobite Steam Train landscape

You travel past lochs, pass the famous Glenfinnan Viaduct and lose yourself in the distance of Loch Shiel with the Glenfinnan Monument in the foreground. Loch Shiel was also used as a backdrop in the Harry Potter films. There, however, it is called Hogwarts Lake …

Loch Shiel
Loch Shiel

The train stops for about half an hour at Glenfinnan Station, a charming old wooden railway station with a small museum and carriages on the site where visitors can even spend the night.

Glenfinnan Station
Glenfinnan Station

Harry Potter fans will hardly recognise another film set: In the magical Loch Eilt, there is a small island with trees on it. In the film version, this is Albus Dumbledor’s frag.

Loch Eilt
Loch Eilt

Then comes another place with a tangible history: Loch nan Uamh – the loch where Bonnie Prince Charlie left Scotland for good to flee to France.Loch nahm Uamh is already an inlet. However, the Jacobite then cuts through a section of land before finally heading for the coast.

Richtung Meer
Towards the sea

Once again passing film sets, the Jacobite Steam Train reaches Morar with its beautiful sandy beach. Parts of “Highlander” with Christopher Lambert and Sean Connery were filmed here, as were several scenes from Local Hero, a Scottish classic with Burt Lancaster that is well worth seeing.

After a good two-hour journey, the steam train finally rolls into Mallaig. This is the end of the line, but not the end of the fun: if you’re not in such a hurry, stay on the platform and watch the locomotive perform its turning manoeuvre. It uncouples from the train and then reverses over a passing siding, emitting clouds of steam at the front:

Wendemanöver in Mallaig
Turning manoeuvre in Mallaig

The locomotive then reattaches itself to the rear of the train.

The passengers on the Jacobite Steam Train have less than two hours to wait. In the meantime, they can stroll through the small fishing village and enjoy the view of the Isle of Skye opposite.

Mallaig Yachthafen
Mallaig marina

When the steam train returns, you can experience all the wonderful impressions once again in reverse.

Jacobite Steam Train auf der Rückfahrt
Jacobite Steam Train on the return journey

The journey on the Jacobite Steam Train is certainly an experience that everyone will remember for years to come. It is certainly one of the 20 most important sights in Scotland.

Knowledge: Important lifeline of the old Highlands

The railway line is around 70 kilometres long and the one-way journey on the steam train takes just under two hours. The line was opened in 1901 and was intended to provide better connections and supplies to this remote part of Scotland.

The steam train has been running here since 1984 to promote tourism. Since 2011, demand has been so high that at times there are even two steam trains a day. This also requires new and young staff.

Aufpasser auf der Lok in Mallaig
Supervisor on the locomotive in Mallaig

The name “Jacobite” comes from the Jacobites and their uprising started in Glenfinnan under Bonnie Prince Charlie. A story that is much older than Harry Potter …

Tip: Book in advance in Germany

It is best to book and reserve seats a few weeks before your holiday, as the fame of the Harry Potter films attracts even more visitors than before. The website can be found in the info box at the top right … However, the online booking form didn’t work for me recently. Then you can also call there to book, but be careful with the telephone number: you have to delete the zero after the 44, which is misleadingly stated there. It must therefore be 44 1524 732 100.

If you’re looking for something a little more romantic and less crowded, first class is definitely worthwhile. Tea, coffee and something sweet are also available there. On request, you can even travel in a compartment like Hary Potter. Just ask for a “compartment” when booking.

Personal note: Don’t just watch “Harry Potter”

The first time I travelled in the 90s, Harry Potter was out of the question. So I think it’s a shame when people here only talk about the Harry Potter train. The Jacobite has been travelling for so long and deserves to have its history respected.

One development since the 90s has also changed the appearance of the train considerably: smartphones. Whereas in the past only a few daring photographers leaned out of the window to take photos, today hundreds of smartphone owners hold a hand out of the window for minutes on end. The Jacobite becomes a kind of “hundred-handed man” on the Glenfinnan Viaduct.

Auf dem Glenfinnan Viaduct
On the Glenfinnan Viaduct


Normally you start and finish in Fort William. However, if you are making a day trip from the Isle of Skye, you can also take the Jacobite Steam Train to Fort William and take the normal train back a little later – it arrives just before the last ferry to Armadale on Skye.

Jacobite Steam Train in Ft William
Jacobite Steam Train in Ft William

Jacobite Steam Train Infos

What it isRoute through magnificent scenery. World-famous since his appearances in the Harry Potter films.

Opening hours2024 season:
Morning trips at 10:15 am:
daily: Mar 28 - Oct 25
Afternoon trip at 2:30 pm:
daily: May 06 - Sep 27

Entry feesStandard Class: 65 pounds adult roundtrip
36 pounds child round trip
1st Class:
98 pounds adult roundtrip
64 pounds child return
210 pounds private table for two
398 pounds total
Status: 2024

Mapcode for TomTomFBRP.KR0
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2 Kommentare zu “Jacobite Steam Train – the Harry Potter train

    Von Daniel Kasper

    Good evening
    We would like to ask you whether we, 2 people, can take a day trip from Fort William on the Jacobite train (c/o Hogwarts Express) in the period from 19 / 20 or 21 July 2024.
    Maybe I’m too old, but I haven’t found a link to book on the website.
    Many thanks and best regards from Switzerland.
    Daniel Kasper


      I am not the provider, just a travel website. Normally you can book here: Link.
      However, according to the website, no seats can be booked at the moment. It’s best to check it more often or try it on site.

      I hope this helps.

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