The world famous Harry Potter train has been closed due to safety issues

The world famous Harry Potter train has been closed due to safety issues

The Jacobite steam train – known among Harry Potter fans as the Hogwarts Express – has been transporting tourists from the seaside town of Mallaig to Fort William, directly across the Scottish Highlands, between March and October for forty years. The most popular part of the trip is crossing the famous Glenfinnan Bridge, featured in the Harry Potter films.

For decades, the train was allowed to operate without a central door lock. Something mandatory for other trains. In November, West Coast Railways (WCR), the line's operator, was granted temporary permission to operate without interlocking. However, this permit was not extended for the new season.

“The reaction from Harry Potter fans in particular has been disappointing,” says reporter Anne Sainen. “Some even fear that the train will never run again. There is also a lot of criticism on social media about the care of the authorities, because even though there is no central locking of the doors, the doors are locked.”

WCR is also very concerned about the suspension of train services. The train company fears losing its sales volume by about 58 million euros. “Makes sense,” Sainen says. “The historic importance of steam trains to the British economy is often underestimated. In total, the sector generates around half a billion euros. Tourist routes are also of great importance to the remote villages through which these trains pass.”

A spokesman for the Office of the Director of Rail and Roads (ORR), which issues the permit, told The Sun that the central door locking rules had already been brought to WCR's attention a few years ago.

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WCR has asked transportation authority ORR to make an exception so it can start trips again as soon as possible. The Harry Potter train will remain parked until the permit is finally approved. Tourists who already have a ticket to ride the “Yakoubi” will get their money back.

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