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Year-round train journeys added to iconic West Highland Way timetable

Glenfinnan Railway Viaduct in Scotland with the Jacobite steam train passing over on its way to Mallaig.
Glenfinnan Railway Viaduct in Scotland with the Jacobite steam train passing over on its way to Mallaig.

IT’S known as one of the most scenic railway journeys in the world, and now customers will have increased opportunities to enjoy it. 

The iconic West Highland Line will enter its ‘winter’ timetable for the final time next week (Monday 4 November) after ScotRail announced a trial to boost services on the popular route.

Starting in March 2019, an all-year-round Sunday timetable will be introduced, giving customers more chances throughout the year to travel on one the most beautiful railway lines on the planet.

The changes will mean two return trips between Mallaig and Glasgow, and an additional return trip between Mallaig and Fort William, running every Sunday, throughout the year. Currently only one return trip operates between Mallaig and Glasgow on Sundays between November and March.

The iconic trainline covers some of Scotland’s most scenic landscapes, carrying passengers through Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park, as well as across the infamous Glenfinnan Viaduct, immortalised by the Harry Potter movies.

An increase in services to meet the ever-growing demand will see the end of the traditional summer and winter variations, which were initially introduced to reflect seasonal demand.

ScotRail Head of Business Development Scott Prentice said: “We have been working closely with key stakeholders in the area to understand how ScotRail can better serve local business and communities. We are delighted that we will be able to provide a boost for people travelling on the West Highland Line with our new timetable.

“This is a first step in a series of improvements which will be achieved through the collaborative working of West Highland Line review group.

“Historically, the summer and winter timetables existed to meet the varying demand between the seasons. However Lochaber, as the outdoor capital of the UK, has firmly established itself as an all-year-round destination, and we are seeing more and more people travel by rail in what used to be the ‘off season’.

“We will trial an improved Sunday service next year and, with the help of our partners in Lochaber, are confident that it will be well used by tourists and locals alike and become a permanent feature. It’s all part of our plan to build the best railway Scotland has ever had.”