train that featured in several Harry Potter movies has had its services cancelled amid safety concerns.
The “Hogwarts Express”, officially known as The Jacobite, has been temporarily shut down by operator West Coast Railways.
A popular tourist attraction, The Jacobite’s services were halted on Friday July 15 after safety inspectors found an issue with the hinged door train carriages.
The train runs between Mallaig and Fort William across the Glenfinnan Viaduct in the Scottish Highlands.
The train operates under an exemption granted by the Office of Rail and Road (ORR).
ORR inspectors had examined the train when they discovered the issues with the hinged doors.
The Jacobite has subsequently been out of service while the operator works to resolve the problem.
On West Coast Railways’ website, a spokesperson said: “Due to operational reasons, we are unable to run our Jacobite service before 31st July 2023 as planned.
“During a visit by inspectors from the Office of Rail and Road (ORR), a couple of issues of concern were identified in relation to the management of the hinged door rolling stock on the Jacobite Steam Train.”
They said they are to “review the concerns raised by the ORR to reach a satisfactory and swift solution to the issues raised and are looking to bring the Jacobite Steam Train back into service as soon as possible”.
They added: “Unfortunately, we are unable to offer any alternative dates to transfer your trip to, therefore our reservations team will process a full refund within the next 10 working days.
“Please accept our sincere apologies for these cancellations.
“All pre-booked passengers have been contacted via email and by text where a mobile number has been supplied.”
An Office of Rail and Road spokesperson confirmed their inspection found “safety failings which ORR considered breached health and safety legislation” during a previous visit on Friday June 9.
They issued West Coast Railways with a prohibition notice which came into effect on June 15.
The Jacobite’s services then recommenced the same day.
However, when ORR inspectors returned on Friday, they found the issues had not been resolved, but said the train operator could continue to run the Jacobite service on the provision that it uses different carriages.
The ORR spokesperson said: “This inspection found safety failings which ORR considered breached the earlier prohibition notice and the conditions contained in West Coast Railways’ Railway Safety Regulation Exemption Certificate.
“This type of exemption certificate is required for all train operators who want to use carriages without central door locking fitted – ordinarily heritage carriages of the type used on the Jacobite service. Due to the safety issues identified, ORR has revoked West Coast Railways’ exemption certificate.
“West Coast Railways will continue to be able to use carriages without central door locking fitted on its other services in accordance with the conditions of a new Exemption Certificate.
“ORR is working with West Coast Railways to ensure robust safety arrangements are in place to allow West Coast Railways to use heritage carriages on the Jacobite line in the near future.
“In the interim, it is open to West Coast Railways to use alternative carriages to operate the Jacobite service.”