Monday, November 22, 2010

Does The Jacobite ...

Awaiting Departure from Fort William
Crossing Glenfinnan Viaduct
... yes, but only when he's hungry!
Okay, I hope that you will please forgive the terrible pun, especially my mate Jacko (sorry Pete) but I simply could not resist that one.
Anyway, more apologies are in order now for the lack of activity last week due to being on holiday - alas nowhere exotic but we did manage to spend a bit of time over the weekend working on the layout, of which more later in the week.

So, yes, we did indeed 'Do The Jacobite' on what was a very special day for us all during our Scottish holiday last August - crikey, already it seems so long ago!
These steam specials, between Fort William and Mallaig, are run every day from May to October and are operated by West Coast Railways for whom we have nothing but the highest praise. This is because, due to an unfortunate mix-up with our booking, we were allocated second class seats when, in fact, we had booked and paid for first class. Furthermore, by the time the mistake was realized, all of the first class seats were taken, thus threatening to ruin what we hoped would be the highlight of our holiday.
Well, WCR responded in a manner that I can only describe as being way beyond the call of duty in that they refunded all of our money, allocated our party of eight people two first class compartments (as used by Harry Potter himself apparently) and, also, gave us two complimentary bottles of champagne plus free tea and coffee. 
Well, as you can imagine, we were totally overwhelmed by this treatment and were made to feel like royalty for the day by Florence (the Guard) and the rest of the train staff. It certainly made what was already going to be a fantastic journey even more memorable and I have to also thank Michael at Carnforth for arranging all of this once he was aware of their mistake.
The train departed Fort William at 10:20 for the two-hour trip to Mallaig and I must admit that, for much of the outward journey, most of us had our heads stuck out of various windows as we took in the breath-taking scenery on what must be one of the greatest railway journeys in the world. I managed to capture a lot of it on video, a couple of stills from which you see above. The quality is not great, I know, but I hardly took any photographs, preferring to record most of the journey on video so that we can sit and relive the journey again as often as we like.
The locomotive that day was ex-LNER K1 No 62005 'The Great Marquess', and she was one of three they used during last summer for this trip - the others being ex-LMS ‘Black 5’ No 45231, ‘The Sherwood Forester’ and ex-LMS ‘Black 5’ No 45407 ‘The Lancashire Fusilier’ .
Unfortunately the weather closed in a little for the return journey but it failed to dampen our enjoyment and the whole day is one that we will never forget. 
I urge anyone who has not travelled this line to do so and, preferably, on The Jacobite. It is well worth it even if, unlike us, you do have to pay!


  1. Ah yes - Concrete Bob's masterpiece - as 'buzzed' by the Weasley flying junk heap.

    Obv. First Class is the way to go - when we went on the Jacobite the year before it was a bit squashed, what with every seat being taken and us having our Shepherd Dog with us (by agreement).

    Still - we enjoyed a Black 5 which barked beautifully for us! Oh and the fish and chips in Mallaig were excellent!

    Glad you had a memorable trip too.

  2. Yes, I was truly hoping to be Black 5 hauled that day as I love the sound of their bark. Still, beggars cannot be choosers and we still had a great day.

    First Class is definitely the way to travel on this train as I would imagine it can be a bit cramped in Second. This train always seems to be full, especially in August!

    Fish and chips always taste better when eaten by the sea and those in Mallaig are indeed most excellent!