The sight of the “Harry Potter train” coming over the Glenfinnan Viaduct has delighted children and the young at heart for years.
But now pressure from thousands of fans and tourists visiting the area has led to work being carried out to cope with crowds hoping for a glimpse of the famous steam train crossing the Grade-A listed bridge.
Tourists from all over the world visit the picturesque site made famous by the Hogwarts Express in the Harry Potter films.
Such has been the clamour of visitors to the attraction that local villagers have reported being overrun by cars and visitors, while overcrowding has led to safety concerns after some visitors strayed onto the railway line in hope of catching the perfect shot of the train as it approaches.
In a bid to combat these problems new viewing areas have been created, and now the severely eroded walkway between Glenfinnan railway station and the viaduct is also being upgraded.
Tree clearance work has also been undertaken by the Glenfinnan Station Museum, working with Friends of the West Highland Lines, Glenfinnan Estate and Network Rail.
The project - a working partnership of ScotRail, the West Highland Community Rail Partnership (WHCRP), Glenfinnan Station Museum, Glenfinnan Estate, Network Rail and Transport Scotland – is due to be complete by the end of the month.
Once complete, the walkway will provide scenic views of the Glenfinnan Viaduct - which also features on some Scottish £10 notes - as well as the National Trust for Scotland’s Jacobite Monument and the surrounding Loch Shiel Special Protection Area.
ScotRail Project Manager Anouska Chisolm said: “The new footpath and viewing areas at the Glenfinnan Viaduct will be fantastic for tourism in the area and we hope it will encourage more visitors to travel here by rail instead of car.
“It’s important that we continue to work with our key partners on how we can boost tourism and bring wider economic benefits, along Scotland’s most scenic railways.”
Secretary of the WHCRP Hege Hernæs said: “We are delighted that the rail industries are prioritising this work, which enhances sustainable tourism.
“We hope that ScotRail will now capitalise on the investment by marketing and further improving Glenfinnan’s train service.
“We need to promote the best possible Viaduct Experience: cross the viaduct by train, then view it from a hillside vantage point – taking away the hassle of finding a parking space first.”