A Guide To: The Jacobite Steam Train

The Jacobite Steam Train
I give it...

The Out About Scotland complete guide to The Jacobite Steam Train

What’s this attraction all about?

The 84-mile rail journey across the Scottish Highlands from Fort William to Mallaig has been described as one of the great railway journeys of the world, and with good reason.

This scenic route has become a favourite with tourists from far and wide thanks to the beautiful landscape that whooshes past the carriages of the steam locomotive, where sight-seers can expect to see every facet of the Scottish countryside from mountains, lochs, forests and rivers to coastline.

It’s fair to say that passengers on this special journey will get to experience sights that rival anywhere else in Europe, and possibly the world. There’s Ben Nevis (the highest mountain in Britain), Loch Morar (the deepest freshwater loch), and Loch Nevis (the deepest seawater loch in Europe), to name just a few. Suffice to say you won’t get bored looking out the window!



What can you do there?

Fans of the Harry Potter movies might recognise the Jacobite from some of the scenes where Harry travels on the Hogwarts Express, and they will definitely recognise the scene where the train puffs its way across the Glenfinnan viaduct, but there’s much more to this journey than Harry Potter.

Starting at Fort William you board the train and make your way to your seat in one of the stylish old carriages where the view out the window gives you a glimpse of the mighty Ben Nevis overshadowing the peaceful Highland town.

If you’re a train buff then you can take a look inside the engine as it’s prepared for departure, or you can simply sit back and relax and take in the scenery outside. Just make sure you take the time for frequent looks out the window because once you’re on the move you’ll get the opportunity to enjoy some of the best views in Scotland.

Probably the most impressive part of the journey is the crossing of the 21-arched Glenfinnan viaduct which sweeps around the spectacular shores of Loch Shiel, where the Glenfinnan monument can be seen with its memorial to the Highlanders lost during the Jacobite uprising of 1745.

The train also stops at nearby Glenfinnan station where you can stretch your legs and explore the West Highland Railway Museum, before continuing the journey to the coastal town of Mallaig. If you make a request to the guard then you can disembark at the village of Arisaig on the shore of Loch nan Ceall, or you can stay onboard to the end of the line.

Mallaig is a quiet fishing town that has fully taken advantage of the business that comes from the Jacobite so there are plenty of restaurants and bars to enjoy during the hour-long stopover before you have to head back to Fort William.

Luckily this is just enough time to step onto one of the cruise boats that will take you around the harbour, which is a highly-recommended excursion as you’ll get to see seals, dolphins and maybe even minke whales as you sail around the rugged coastline.

Stepping back onboard the train for the return journey gives you the opportunity to take in any sights that you might have missed on your way up, and during the journey you can even enjoy a delicious high tea and artisan cheese board at your private table. Coupled with a glass or two of bubbly and the fantastic views across Scotland, The Jacobite Steam Train is one rail journey that you’ll be unlikely to ever forget.


What I liked about this attraction

  • It’s one of the nicest train journeys you’ll ever go on
  • The views are amazing!
  • It’s a great way to experience the best of Scotland

What I didn’t like about this attraction

  • The tickets and onboard food are a bit expensive in my opinion
  • It can get really busy
  • I’d have liked to spend longer in Mallaig

Getting there

Tom-na-Faire Station Square,
Fort William,
PH33 6TQ, UK

Get Directions

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Jacobite Railway Route Map

Contact details

  • Telephone: 0844 850 4685
  • email: enquiries@westcoastrailways.net
  • Website: West Coast Railways

Prices and opening times

Check the West Coast railways website for updated times and prices.

1st Class Standard
Adult Day Return £59.95 £37.75
Adult Single NA £31.75
Child Day Return £32.90 £20.75
Child Single NA £18.75
Private table for two £123.00

Morning Service:

The Jacobite runs from Monday 9th April to Friday 26th October (Monday to Friday). Saturday and Sunday from Saturday 2nd June to Sunday 30th September.

Afternoon Service:

The Jacobite runs from Monday 14th May to Friday 14th September (Monday to Friday). Saturday and Sunday from Saturday 16th June to Sunday 2nd September.








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Craig Smith

Craig Smith is your guide to the best attractions in Scotland. He loves exploring the Scottish wilds and is happiest when he's knee-deep in a muddy bog in the middle of nowhere.

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