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Jacobite Steam Train

Hi, My daughter want to take the Jocobite training ride in June and was wondering if I need to buy the tickets in advance? Also , is this ride worth the price? Any help would be great.
Thanks, Monte

Posted by
3395 posts

Monte , this is tough one ! I love railways , particularly , the preservation variety , but have not done the Jacobite . Having read some of your previous posts , I'm assuming you will have a car and are staying in , or near Ft William . The drive from Ft William to Glennfinnan is easy , and you can see Loch Shiel , the monument , and the viaduct by driving . You can then go the rest of the way to Mallaig and wander about at your leisure . That would be my preference .

Posted by
3395 posts

One other advantage with a car - leaving Ft William you will pass through Banavie where you can stop and see Neptune's Staircase , the series of locks that ascend to the Caledonian Canal headed up to Loch Ness . Wonderful engineering by Thomas Telford

Posted by
5774 posts

R. Frost on car vs. train:

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

Posted by
458 posts

We didnt ride the train but we did drive from Ft. William out to Glenfinnan. Easy drive. We hiked up to the viaduct after scoping out the train schedule and were on a hill over the viaduct when the train chugged through. Pretty cool! Easy hike up and you get a great look at the train, not sure it will be the same if riding the train was your desire but you might consider the drive out and hike if riding the train does not work out. Here is a link to the hike. http://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/fortwilliam/glenfinnan.shtml

Posted by
27425 posts

Nice and incredibly beautiful train ride, shame about the operator.

West Coast Railways have been the recent operator and twice in the past two years have had their operating license suspended by government operating inspectors for heinous safety violations.

I don't know what is happening with the train in 2017 but if'twere me I'd ask a lot of serious questions before buying tickets or making plans.

Posted by
7421 posts

We took the train last summer but took the regular service and only saw the Jacobite train at the station. I couldn't justify the price difference for our party of 8, but it's true that the Jacobite train is more "charming" in appearance (however, if it's not running due to safety issues, it won't be charming at all!!). Our modern train was comfortable if not fancy.

The train ride itself is stunning. Unfortunately the weather was horrible, all rainy the days we were in that area and the day we took the train, but that is just part of the risk in going to Scotland (this was in August).

I definitely support taking the train over driving. You'll be driving a lot already and honestly it gets tiring and is nice to let the scenery come to you without any effort on your part.

I feel like it is better to reserve in advance, but maybe that's just the marketing team doing its job and making me feel like the supply of tickets is limited.

Posted by
1830 posts

Hi guys, Thanks for the help. LOL, I always find it really interesting that one can ask a question and there are a lot of people that respond that never answer the question. Are they trying to boost their numbers on the forum? Do they realize their answer is of no value to the person asking the question and do they care? I am grateful to the people who do want to help, I really am. Anyways to the the people who did answer the question, thanks!

All the best, Monte

Posted by
27425 posts

I'm sorry you didn't find my advice useful.

Posted by
1929 posts

Nigel, I have a feeling Monte was referring to the posted verses, not your helpful post. I, too, have dreamed of taking a train in Scotland, and I had no idea this particular operation has some issues. I found your post very educational.

Speaking of Scottish trains........I'd love to go on the Royal Scotsman with my husband at some point, as we were actually scheduled to take a short journey several years ago, but had to cancel and use trip insurance. So, it's still on the bucket list. Prices have increased since the market meltdown, and they are now quoted in pounds, which also increases the price due to the conversion. Monte, maybe you don't want to tell your daughter about that train, though, as she may also add it to her wish list :) It does look lovely. Let's us know if you wind up taking it.

Posted by
7421 posts

Nigel, I'm quite certain of what Margaret said -- that Monte was referring to the poetry and Sondheim references, not to your very useful information as to whether the train can be considered safe or not!

(I myself don't mind the asides, they are part of the joy of this site in my opinion!!)

But your post was absolutely relevant to the question at hand.

Posted by
1830 posts

Hi Nigel, I was not talking about your post! You have always been most helpful! I said this in jest! I do find it interesting that someone can ask a question and there is a lot of people that will get on the post and write a long reply yet not write anything that will be of help to the person asking the question. This was written tongue in cheek! However ??????? LOL
All the best, Monte

Posted by
1238 posts

Here's a fun book for train fans: Britain from the Rails; a Window Gazer's Guide, by Benedict Le Vay. Library 914.1048. ISBN: 978 1 84162 919 3. It has an extensive chapter on Scotland, Rails to Romance and Beauty.

Posted by
1667 posts

Monte, my husband and I took this train at the end of June last year. Advice I got that worked for us: 1) if you are going to be in the area for more than one day, wait and go when you think you will have nice weather; 2) the morning train (there were two per day by the time we went) is often booked for tours and may fill up ahead.

We were in Ft William for several days so just went to the station about an hour ahead of departure time (for the afternoon train) and waited for the line to form. Tickets are sold (cash only) from the train - they set up a little ticket place, you buy, then go to your car. The station office does not sell them and you can't buy online the day of. At least 30 (maybe more) people did the same as us and the train was not full. As far as whether it was worth it, - that is up to you. We enjoyed it. Plus there was a train strike that day (there was also a day of strike when we were in Edinburgh), so most of the regular trains weren't running. The only slight downside was there was a little more time in Mallaig than we needed - but I don't know about the schedule for the regular trains. Might be the same. I had thought we might take one of the boat rides advertised for that time frame, but they weren't running for some reason.

Posted by
7421 posts

There was also a little bit more time than we needed in Mallaig for us, on the regular train. I guess they build in enough time in case there's any delay. We had time for lunch and then could have had a tea and snack in another place.

Posted by
72 posts

We took the Jacobite train in August, 2015. Unfortunately it was raining the day we went. If it had not been I think it would have been well worth the money. As for buying the tickets in advance, we did that and had to move our plans around in order to get seats so it does sell out. Our train was full and on the way back there were several people standing so if you wait until that day to buy you may only get a standing room ticket. The up side to buying then is you will know if the weather is going to be good.