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Harry Potter’s Jacobite Train Faces Uncertain Future Amid Safety Concerns in 2024

The iconic “Hogwarts Express,” one of the most beloved railway attractions in the United Kingdom, is facing trouble. The traditional train that transports Harry Potter and his friends to school, known to Muggles as the Jacobite train, operated by West Coast Railways (WCR), is under scrutiny for violating safety regulations. The old Jacobite locomotive allegedly breaches the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) rules regarding door locking mechanisms. The British railway regulator insists on central locking systems for carriage doors, a costly upgrade that the company deems financially burdensome.

This development could potentially mean that journeys on the Jacobite, traversing the breathtaking Glenfinnan Viaduct in Scotland, may be unavailable starting from March next year.

Chronology of Jacobite’s Legal Woes

This saga has been ongoing for some time. Earlier, the ORR granted two 10-year exceptions to rules concerning the locking of carriage doors, both of which were set to expire in March 2023. Following a review conducted in July, the regulator found that issues with additional door locks put passengers at “risk of serious injury.” It was also noted that stewards failed to deter individuals leaning on doors or protruding from open windows while the train was in motion.

However, in August, the ORR granted a temporary reprieve to Jacobite. The initial extension expired on November 30, but the operator was given another extension until the beginning of the next year.

The outcome of the legal proceedings regarding the door-locking system is expected in January. WCR is permitted to continue operations until a court decision is reached or until February 29, 2024, whichever comes first. WCR had previously claimed that implementing new door-locking systems would cost them over 8 million euros, effectively wiping out a decade’s worth of profits. A standard adult day ticket costs £65 (€76), while a more expensive compartment option is priced at £398 (€464).


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