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West Highland Line

The Train

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.

The Journey

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.

Facilities

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.

9 results matching: West Highland Line

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Edinburgh, Highlands & Islands
4.3 stars(353 reviews)
2023MarAprMayJunJul...
9 days from
£1,595 pp
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9 days from
£1,595
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  • DestinationScotland
  • Starts / EndsEdinburgh
  • AccommodationHotel
  • TransportRail, Coach
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Giants Causeway
3.0 stars(6 reviews)
2023MayJulSepOct
13 days from
£2,895 pp
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13 days from
£2,895
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  • DestinationIreland, Scotland
  • Starts / EndsEdinburgh / Dublin
  • AccommodationHotel
  • TransportRail, Coach
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  • DestinationEngland, Scotland
  • AccommodationHotel
  • TransportRail, Coach
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  • DestinationScotland
  • AccommodationHotel
  • TransportRail, Coach
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  • DestinationScotland
  • AccommodationRail, Hotel
  • TransportRail, Coach
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  • AccommodationCruise, Hotel
  • TransportRail, Cruise
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  • AccommodationCruise, Hotel
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  • DestinationScotland
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  • TransportRail, Coach
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  • DestinationScotland
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Our customers love our West Highland Line tours
Edinburgh, the Highlands and Islands
5/Oct
M Rischard
5 stars
“A truly Great Rail Journey, a fantastic experience.
Collected by Trustpilot
Edinburgh, Glencoe and Isle of Skye
23/Sep
M Jenkins
5 stars
“We saw a lot of the area in the time we were there. The steam train was great fun, travelling through places that would be hard to access by other means and the sleeper was an experience not to be missed. David was a fantastic guide who was very knowledgable and looked after everyone on the tour. Great tour, great accommodation and would recommend.
Collected by Trustpilot
Scottish Islands and Lochs Cruise
14 Oct 2021
customer
5 stars
“Excellent relaxing holiday.
Collected by Trustpilot
Scottish Highlands Cruise
12 Oct 2021
Judy
5 stars
“An excellent and rel;axinng holiday. It was a pity that poor weather did npot allow for the full itinerary to be followed. The scenery around the inner isles was obstructed by low cloud which was disapointing.
Collected by Trustpilot
Western Highlands and Hebrides
03 Aug 2019
Mr P Johnson
5 stars
“Thoroughly enjoyed the round of experiences in this holiday. A bit spoilt by the weather.
Collected by Great Rail Journeys
The Outer Hebrides and The Highlands
27/Sep
C T
4 stars
“We would have marked this trip higher but for one of the advertised highlights of the tour, one of the Great Rail Journeys of the world, the Rail trip from Fort William to Mallaig did not take place. The famous train trip was not listed at all on tour notes given to us by our tour leader on the first evening of our trip despite being part of the advertised itinerary. No real explanation was given why were taken by coach to Mallaig for the ferry instead of the train trip. The tour manger said she thought Scotrail had cancelled the train, but I checked, and it was booked to run as normal. We were looking forward to this world class rail journey including the trip over the Glenfinnan Viaduct with its Harry Potter connections. I must admit that day seemed to turn in to 'Great Coach Journeys of the World' rather the Great Train Journeys. I email the company on return and received an automated reply that one of the team would get back to me within 28 days. No reply as yet. (Not so good customer care.) We have used this company before without problem. Putting the above to one side We enjoyed the rest of trip throughout, first class tour manager, guides and drivers. Cannot fault the hotels or food.
Collected by Trustpilot
A Castle On The Shores Of Loch Fyne
25/Sep
Warwick Eden
4 stars
“The holiday introduced my wife and I to an area of Scotland we knew little about and had never visited before. We were stunned by its beauty, the friendliness of its people and the variety and value of the places to visit. Great Rail organised a packed itinerary and delivered it almost without fault. The two hotels we stayed at were comfortable and the food at one - the Stonefield Castle - was outstanding. The shine was taken off the whole holiday by circumstances beyond Great Rail's control - namely the threat and actuality of national rail strikes.
Collected by Trustpilot
The Best of Scotland and Ireland
1/Jun
B Smith
4 stars
“Two hotels were not up to standard, we had two train rides changed to coach, one of which was the Steam train. Not the tours fault but a disappointment none the less. Tour manager was brilliant. Didn't rate The Dark Hedges, would rather have gone to the Titanic Museum. Tours were excellent, well organised. Coach drivers were very experienced and well informed of local history. We thoroughly enjoyed our holiday.
Collected by Trustpilot
Grand Tour of the UK
01 Oct 2021
Leslie Blake
4 stars
“The tour was good with excellent local guides, the tour manager Peter Scott had to deal with a number of setbacks very successfully including the Sunday train strike in Scotland and arranging for alternative transport. The only drawback was only staying in hotels for one night and moving on to the next phase, this proved to be quite tiring.
Collected by Trustpilot
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