More trains on the iconic West Highland Line this winter

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ScotRail have announced that the West Highland Line will enter its final week of its Winter Timetable.

This comes as the train operator announces a trial to boost train services on the popular.

Starting in March 2019, an all-year-round Sunday timetable will be introduced, giving passengers more opportunity throughout the year to travel on one of the world’s most scenic rail journeys.

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.

What did the officials say?

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.”

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  1. The line was not built for speed. That’s why it’s slow. Read John Thomas’s history of the line. There’s very little freight on the line and none beyond Fort William or on the Oban branch. Sunday ferries run from both Oban and Mallaig on Sundays – it’s ferries to Stornoway you’re thinking of in an underinformed manner. There is a massive demand for Sunday trains as tourism in the area is booming – through scenery, Harry Potter/Outlander links, history etc.

  2. I went off to do some timetabling comparisons. Just out of curiosity, I discovered that the journey by rail between Glasgow and Mallaig is astonishingly slow, The fact that it is nearly 100% single track must have a lot to do with it. This in turn really limits the number of through trains that can run in either direction within a sensible time scale. Had more freight traffic been given to the Line, one feels it would be seeing more use and freight is commercially more viable than seasonal passenger figures.

    Freight runs all year round not subject to whims and changing tastes. I am not sure how well supported Sunday trains are likely to be. No ferries budge an inch on Sundays in Scotland as tradition rules the roost.

    The main thing to remember is to not be in a hurry to reach your destination. Where the West Highland is concerned you won’t have much choice.


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