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Tuesday, 2 October, 2001, 16:50 GMT 17:50 UK
Trains steam in for centenary
Steam train
The steam services were for one day only
Rail passengers and enthusiasts were offered the chance to take a trip back in time on a Highlands line.

All four afternoon services on the Fort William to Mallaig line were scheduled to be hauled by steam trains on Tuesday.

Train operator ScotRail said it was the first time in more than three decades that steam locomotives had worked main line timetabled services in Britain.

Fort William
Trains travelled to and from Fort William
The event was aimed at building up a head of steam for a nine-day festival being organised by Highland Rail Heritage to mark the centenary of the Mallaig line.

The festival will include a programme of study tours, films and a steam-hauled ceilidh train which will travel to Mallaig on Thursday evening.

The steam trains added 20 minutes to the usual 80-minute journey time on the 41-mile route between Fort William and Mallaig.

ScotRail - which stepped aside to let the West Highland Railway Company run the services for the afternoon - placed buses and taxis on standby to transport passengers who were running late.

Diesel trains

Travellers were due to be carried on two locomotives which were built in the 1940s and regularly ran on the West Highland Line.

They replaced the diesel trains on the 1205 and 1627 services from Fort William to Mallaig, and the 1608 and 1840 services in the opposite direction.

"By stepping aside for the afternoon, ScotRail is assisting the local community to generate tourist income in a centenary year blighted by foot-and-mouth disease and the present security situation," said ScotRail's head of marketing Don Roberts.

See also:

27 Dec 00 | Scotland
Rail project on right track
19 Nov 00 | Scotland
Sleeper link back on track
18 May 00 | Scotland
Flying Scotsman returns north
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