Major protection work begins on Glenfinnan viaduct made famous by Harry Potter films

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A £1.7m project has begun at the Glenfinnan viaduct in a bid to protect the railway from landslips and rock-falls.

Thousands of Harry Potter fans visit the famous attraction - which features in the film adaptations of JK Rowling's books - between Mallaig and Fort William.

Work has begun on the line. Picture: Network Rail

Work has begun on the line. Picture: Network Rail

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Network Rail specialists are removing loose vegetation from the slopes above the railway and installing rock netting to protect the line.

The project will also include renewal of sections of boundary fencing to protect visitors to the area, who follow a path up the hillside to get better views of the monument, mountains and viaduct, and to stop them from putting themselves at risk by straying onto the railway.

Diane Jones, Network Rail’s project manager for the work, said, “The work on the line between Fort William and Mallaig is part a wider maintenance programme which identifies areas prone to land-slip or rock fall and proactively works to protect the railway from this.

“With an ever-growing number of tourists visiting the area, it is important that we deliver these works outwith the main tourist season, where possible, or in the evenings so people can continue to get to Glenfinnan by rail.

“Doing this proactively to protect the railway reduces the likelihood of having to carry-out costly emergency repairs but more importantly, it helps avoid any potential closure of this key rural route which is a lifeline connection for passenger and freight.”

READ MORE: Plans for snack bar at Glenfinnan Viaduct for Harry Potter tourists

In advance of installing rock netting, dangerous trees on the slopes above the railway are being cut down before specialist abseil teams remove smaller vegetation and debris from the rock-face.

Top and bottom anchors are drilled and grouted into the hillside before the metal mesh is secured. On some sections at higher risk of rock fall, this mesh is high-tensile to give further protection.

Work will be ongoing until April.