The Jacobite train experience starts near the Ben Nevis mountain and finishes its journey alongside Loch Nevis, taking in an 84 mile long trip of spectacular Scottish scenery.
In 1901 the Mallaig extension of the West Highland line was opened by the North British Railway to open up access to more remote areas along the Scottish Atlantic coast.
The Jacobite train was run by steam locomotive until 1967 when regular steam services were replaced with diesel locomotives as part of the overall modernisation strategy for British rail.
In 1984, however, the steam locomotive was reintroduced by ScotRail in a bid to build tourism in the area. The success of this plan led the train to being renamed The Lochaber.
In 1995 British Rail was privatised and West Coast Railways took over the operations of West Highlander trains. This is when the train received its current name, The Jacobite, honouring the local connections to the Jacobite political movement.
In 2011, a second daily service was added during the busier months as The Jacobite has proven to be such a popular attraction.
The train takes 2 hours each way plus a stop of an hour and a half in Mallaig before the return trip. If you’re planning on enjoying the return journey as well you should expect the day trip to take approximately 6 hours.
Nestled in Ben Nevis’ shadow, Fort William is where your steam train experience begins. It’s the ideal location to start exploring the West Highlands and home to the Caledonian hotel which is a short 7 minute drive to the Jacobite station. If you’re visiting The Great Western hotel in Oban then it’s a little over an hour’s drive and well worth the trip!
The infamous 21-arched Glenfinnan viaduct is a spectacular sight. Overlooking both Loch Shiel and the Jacobite monument, the view is definitely one of the most glorious in all of Scotland. When the train stops in Glenfinnan station you have time to explore the West Highland Railway Museum.
Hidden along the shore of Loch nan Ceall, this peaceful village hosts the local Highland Games every summer. Not a scheduled stop along the route but the guard may stop at your request.
Founded in the 1840s, Mallaig was originally a fishing village established initially when Lord Lovat divided the farm along the coast into several parcels of land. Mallaig is now an established fishing port and ferry service to Skye and the small isles. The Jacobite steam train stops here for an hour and half so you can settle in and enjoy the restaurants, shops and bars on offer.
The Jacobite train runs 7 days a week from late April to early October every year. If you’re travelling near these times be sure to double check the dates for the year so you’re not disappointed.
The standard adult fare is £49 for a day return or £69 for first class. For children 16 or under the standard fare is £28 or £48 for first class.
Should you wish to truly make it an occasion you can book a private table for two for first class return for £154.
You can book your tickets here.
First class seating is larger and more comfortable. You will have extra leg room and there are traditional furnishings like table lamps on the tables. First class passengers will get one complimentary tea or coffee per journey.
Medium sized dogs are allowed in the standard fare payers part of the Jacobite train. There is no additional charge for dogs but they must stay on their lead throughout the journey and are not allowed on the seating.
There is a buffet carriage where you can fuel up on hot and cold drinks as well as light snacks.
Be prepared for a once in a lifetime experience and breathtaking scenery that will stay with you forever!