Described as one of the great railway journeys of the world this 84 mile round trip takes you past a list of impressive extremes. Starting near the highest mountain in Britain, Ben Nevis, it visits Britain’s most westerly mainland railway station, Arisaig; passes close by the deepest freshwater loch in Britain, Loch Morar and the shortest river in Britain, River Morar, finally arriving next to the deepest seawater loch in Europe, Loch Nevis!
The train stops en route to Mallaig at the village of Glenfinnan (see below). Beyond Glenfinnan are the beautiful villages of Lochailort, Arisaig, Morar and Mallaig. You may alight at Arisaig by request to the guard. From here, on a clear summer’s day, you can see the “Small Isles” of Rum, Eigg, Muck, Canna and the southern tip of Skye. The train continues on from here passing Morar and the silvery beaches used in the films “Highlander” and “Local Hero”.
But as the travelling is as much a part of the experience as the arrival we hope you enjoy this spectacular railway journey, regarded as one of the greatest in the world.
Fort William, the largest town in the Highlands and situated at the southern end of the Great Glen, lies in the shadow of Ben Nevis, Britains highest mountain. This area is a fine location to use as a base to discover the West Highlands.
We cross the 21-arched Glenfinnan viaduct (a location made famous in the Harry Potter films) which overlooks Loch Shiel and the Jacobite monument. The train may pause on the viaduct, time permitting, to allow you to take in the magnificent view. Once stopped in Glenfinnan station there will be time to stretch your legs and, if you wish, visit the West Highland Railway Museum located in the restored station building. The Jacobite may also stop at Arisaig by request to the guard.
From this very tranquil village it is possible to take the boat, The Sheerwater to the Small Isles (until 19th September). There are guided walks and the local Highland Games takes place on 25th July 2012.
The end of the line, Mallaig is a busy fishing port and ferry terminal with services to Skye and the Small Isles. Arriving in Mallaig we have over an hour and a half to enjoy a walk round and take in the atmosphere: there are shops, bars, restaurants and plenty of fish and chips to be enjoyed during the lunchtime stopover.
The West Highland Railway is notorious for its gradients and tight curves, neither of which are locomotive friendly! The terrain does, however, force some tremendous demonstrations of the steam engine hard at work sights and sounds which can be enjoyed from the comfort of the train or by photographers in the fields. (Please see the Gallery page.) The gradient profile of this railway is shown above.
From Carlisle and the south, take the M6 and M74 to Glasgow. Follow the A82 from Glasgow.
From Edinburgh take the M9 to Stirling then the A84, A85 (to Crianlarich) and A82 to Fort William.
From the north: From Aviemore take the A9 and A86 or from Inverness, the A82.
Whilst there is ample parking in Fort William, near the railway station, please allow at least 20 minutes for parking and ticket purchase before the train departs.
Please do not park in the supermarket car park.
If travelling by train it is advisable to arrive in Fort William before the day of travel on The Jacobite. (The standard service train from Glasgow arrives later than our 10.20 departure but it may be possible to arrive by using the Scotrail Sleeper service. Please check before you travel.)
The Jacobite returns to Fort William in time to catch a service train to either Glasgow or Mallaig.
National Rail Enquiries: tel. 08457 48 49 50
Click here to visit the National Rail Enquiries website
We have been notified that there are extensive road works in the Fort William area which may be ongoing for some time.
Please note that it may take much longer than normal for passengers travelling to Fort William station.
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