Posted 20th March 2024 | 1 Comment

Jacobite heritage service cancelled

The Jacobite heritage steam service in the western Highlands of Scotland has been suspended until further notice.

Its operator, West Coast Railways, has been ordered to take coaches not equipped with full central locking out of service by the Office of Rail and Road.

The use of coaches with hinged doors had been covered by an exemption, but that has now been withdrawn, although WCR has asked for it to continue.

WCR commercial manager James Shuttleworth said: ‘We are disappointed to have to suspend this service and we are sorry for the inconvenience caused to our customers who have booked trips. We again appeal to the ORR to reconsider our request for a temporary exemption.

‘The Jacobite service is enjoyed by thousands of customers every year. It boosts the local economies of Mallaig and Fort William and brings an estimated £20 million into the UK’s tourism sector. If the ORR does not grant us a further exemption, we believe this could lead to up to £50 million in lost value to both local and national communities.

‘We remain committed to working with the ORR to find a long-term solution which safeguards the future of heritage services on the main line.’

WCR added that passengers with bookings for the Jacobite will be offered a full refund.

Reader Comments:

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  • Chris Jones-Bridger, Buckley Flintshire

    I suppose this is the inevitable outcome of WCR's continued resistance to adapting it's rolling stock to comply with current regulations. As The Jacobite has been an integral part of it's operation I would have thought that providing compliant rolling stock would have been an imperative to ensure both it's own business continuity & continued goodwill with the local community. With the Judicial Review finding in favour of ORR it was always going to be doubtful that further derogations would be allowed.

    Despite building up a dominant business within the mainline heritage sector over the years WCR is no longer the only kid on the block. Other operators are now available and have shown themselves willing to provide heritage rolling stock compliant with 21st century regulations.