Ian Blackford, the SNP’s Westminster leader, has been accused by WCRC of acting like Lord Voldemort by trying to derail the Jacobite steam train, which appeared in Harry Potter as The Hogwarts Express.
West Coast Railways currently plans to resume the twice-daily service between Fort William and Mallaig on the 25th May 2020, a fortnight after the current Coronavirus lockdown is due to end.
Mr Blackford, however, has been said to demand that they stop advertising the service until after the restrictions have been lifted.
Ian Blackford has claimed that WCRC is being “irresponsible” and said that 25th May was “far too early” to be running trains on the line.
West Coast Railways have promised that they will not recommence the Jacobite until after the restrictions are lifted, and it is safe to do so.
A spokesperson for West Coast Railways has pointed that Mr Blackford has welcomed a decision by booking.com to take hotel bookings after the 9th May 2020, a fortnight before The Jacobite is scheduled to resume.
What did they say?
Ian Blackford said:
“There will still have to be a tight control on travellers moving around the country. What can’t happen is there is a loosening of restrictions and we are then flooded with visitors again, which has the potential to flare the issue once more.”
A spokesman for WCRC said:
“The welfare of our passengers, staff and local residents is paramount. So if the lockdown continues, then anybody booked with us will be able either to claim a refund or rebook for a later date.
“That is exactly what most airlines, ferry companies, hotel companies and indeed other heritage steam operators are doing.”
“In view of that we cannot understand why he continues trying to paint us villains in the piece.
“Especially as he has not complained about the Belmond Royal Scotsman, which is running a luxury £11,000-a-head week-long trip to the same area on June 5, just 10 days later than the Jacobite is set to recommence.
“It really does not make sense – well, not unless you are a politician chasing headlines.
“We are astonished that he thinks it OK for toffs who pay £11k to visit the Scottish Highlands but not for ordinary folk who can only afford a £36 single ticket on the Jacobite.
“This sounds like a very snobbish attitude by the SNP. Mr Blackford seems to be acting like Lord Voldemort in just trying to derail the Jacobite train.”
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