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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 this line.
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.
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