There are two ways to travel along the iconic West Highland
Line, the most famous of which being the majestic Jacobite Steam
Train. The Jacobite was one of many steam trains to travel this
line over the years and has inspired a traditional Scottish tune
thanks to its beauty. Steam locomotives were removed from the West
Highland Line in 1967, they were reintroduced in 1984 as an attempt
to promote tourism - an attempt which proved successful after this
line became one of the most famous in the world. The Jacobite
became known under its current title in 1995, and operates regular
services during the spring, summer, and autumn months.
An alternative way to travel along this line is using the
excellent ScotRail service. This fleet of trains that services the
entirety of mainland Scotland, from the lowlands right to the
farthest reaches of the Highlands, and has done since 1997. The
West Highland Line is one of its main rural lines, and is serviced
by a regular schedule, taking both tourists and commuters along
Travelling between Glasgow, Oban, Fort William, and Mallaig,
this line covers some of the most beautiful areas of Scotland. As
you leave beautiful Glasgow, a modern metropolis, you suddenly find
yourself surrounded by the wild and windswept panorama of the
Scottish Highlands. One of the most iconic landmarks to look out
for along the pretty Fort William route is the Glenfinnan Viaduct,
an incredible feat of engineering that was opened in 1901. Most
famous for being featured in the 'Harry Potter' films, the viaduct
stretches over some truly verdant views that cements the West
Highland Line as one of the most scenic lines in the world.
Another magnificent sight can be found on the Oban line, as you
pass under the mighty Munro, Ben Lui. Of course, the highlands are
filled with mountains such as this, but there is something
particularly beautiful about this mountain with its five ridges
making the mountain seem larger than it really is.
Of course, the destinations are almost as lovely as the journey
itself. Fort William, a delightful port town, is nestled within the
mountains and hills of the highlands, whilst Mallaig is famed for
its stunning harbour and fantastic array of seafood.
The Jacobite offers four distinct locomotives that take
passangers along the route, the most iconic of which being the K1,
built in 1949. Passengers travel n carriages decorated to reflect
the 'Golden Age' of rail travel, with comfortable seats in an
armchair style. The wide windows are perfect to watch the passing
scenery, whilst the wood panelling escort travellers into a lovely
bygone era. Although there are toilets on board the train, these
are unable to be used whilst the train is in motion.
Although already comfortable and effective, ScotRail is
gradually introducing new trains to its fleet, which include newer
and more modern amenities including Wi-Fi, power sockets, and more
accessible carriages. The current commuter trains offer on board
toilets, comfortable seating, and large windows, perfect for
viewing the passing countryside.