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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Natalie Wilson

Harry Potter’s Hogwarts Express rail line seeking train drivers

Getty Images

ScotRail are searching for new employees to regularly drive on one of the UK’s most spectacular rail routes, the West Highland Line.

The Scottish line runs from the port of Mallaig in the Highlands down to Glasgow, with tracks connecting Fort William and Oban as they roll through some of Scotland’s most scenic highlights.

These include the Glenfinnan Viaduct, famed as the route to Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films with the privately owned Jacobite steam train featured as the Hogwarts Express, and views of Britain’s highest peak, Ben Nevis.

The Jacobite has been suspended in the past because of concerns over its hinged carriage doors, but the train service that was featured in several of the wizarding movies was allowed to resume until 30 November 2023 in August.

The Jacobite steam train also runs on the West Highland Line
— (Getty Images)

Full-time trainee train drivers who take on the “dream” job for ScotRail will be based in Fort William as advertised on HiJobs.

A survey conducted by Which? in 2022 ranked the West Highland Line as the eighth-best scenic rail route in Europe based on scenery, comfort, facilities, cleanliness, food and drink, service and value.

All new drivers will take part in a training programme that could last between 18 and 24 months, with a starting salary of £32,968 that rises to £52,566 after just nine months once drivers are fully qualified.

Candidates over 20 require no previous experience on the tracks but will need to pass a medical examination before they start training.

The job description encourages “keen learners” who can “stay calm under pressure and maintain the highest levels of safety” to apply.

Julie Dale, ScotRail’s HR director, said: “There’s no denying that the West Highland Line is one of the world’s great scenic rail journeys, and the opportunity to become a train driver on this route doesn’t come along often.

“It’s not your usual nine to five, the successful candidates will experience some of the most breath-taking views of the West Highlands, while helping us deliver the best possible service by getting our customers to their destination safely and on time.”

Applications to drive for ScotRail on the scenic transport route close on 18 November 2023.

The train operators’ Victorian infrastructure and “repertoire of rail glory” also enjoy “the benefits of having settled their disputes with the rail unions” according to The Independent’s travel correspondents Simon Calder.

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