This weekend, the British Transport Police send out an alert to Harry Potter fans visiting the Glenfinnan viaduct, known as the scenery for many Hogwarts Express scenes. The viaduct, part of the West Highland Line in the Scottish Highlands is trespassed by fans seeking good photos of the iconic location.
Sgt Kevin Lawrence said:
Alarmingly, visitors often get off the train at Glenfinnan and walk back along the line to take photographs. This is extremely dangerous. The scenic, rural area also attracts many bikers and other tourists also travelling by road to see the viaduct.
When they are caught up in the excitement of their trip, people may not realise that what they are doing is trespassing on the railway, risking the lives of themselves and other people who could be travelling on trains passing through.
He also explained that because of this problem, more fences had to be put and signage was improved to indicate safe vantage points for photos that don’t access the lines.
Despite the many warnings and stories of people who lost their lives, last year saw a rising of the number of trespassing cases by 16%. The cases also show that younger people are more prone to risk their lifes on the tracks, with seasonal peaks in incidents coinciding with the spring and summer school holidays.
Much as we love Harry Potter, I would like to remind everyone that we are mere Muggles, and if you trespass on the railway and are struck by a train, the consequences could be extremely serious and probably fatal.
People need to be aware of the immense danger they are putting themselves in by trespassing on the railway line. One slip, one stumble, one fast moving quiet train, and your life could be gone in a flash. Trespass is not worth the risk.
During the months of May and October, visitors can travel through the rout between Fort William and Mallaig, the same where the scenes of the Hogwarts Express were filmed on a steam locomotive similar to the wizarding train. The service comes from the West Coast Railways, the same company who provided the locomotive repurposed as the Express for the movies and can be seen at the Leavesden studios as part of the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter.