It is usually a magical experience for rail enthusiasts.
But councillors have written to the operators of the ‘Harry Potter’ steam train concerned about the dumping of toilet waste on the scenic track.
A group of Lochaber Highland councillors say the ‘Hogwarts Express’ is causing problems for track workers.
West Coast Railways operate The Jacobite steam train along the same 41 mile route featured in the boy wizard films. The company also provided the steam engine and carriages for the ‘Hogwarts Express’ as seen in the movies.
Operators say they hope to have everything in order for next season.
But local Highland Councillor Allan Henderson, vice-convenor of the council, said The Jacobite was not a magical experience for rail track workers this year and “continues to give some concern with the failure to install tanks to hold waste from toilets”.
“During a covid pandemic this is the minimum that should be done to address the pollution problem,” he said.
“Waste cannot simply be dumped on the railway lines where railway workers have to be, to continue required maintenance.
“While we all love the steam train and the business it brings, we cannot turn a blind eye to this practice.
“We have written to the operator, but they have previously pointed out they have a dispensation until 2023, but this health issue can’t wait until then.
“It’s all very well stopping people going (to the toilet) when the train is stopped at stations – what about the people working on the line?
“Ordinary trains are able to comply – all we want to do is make the situation better. It may be a magical experience for the passengers but not for the track workers.”
Operator West Coast Railways said: “It is incorrect to say that retention tanks have ‘failed’ to be fitted.
“Work is being undertaken at our workshops in Carnforth to fit retention tanks to all our vehicles and the Jacobite coaches will form part of this, once they return to our depot. This is part of a programme to complete the work, before the expiry of a temporary non-compliance, granted to a number of train operators, including West Coast Railways.
“We are confident that the retention tanks will be installed before The Jacobite runs next year, thereby resolving this issue within the allowable time span as per the governments regulations.”
Because of the pandemic The Jacobite’s season ended this month, a week earlier than planned.
The Jacobite route between Fort William and Mallaig over the Glenfinnan Viaduct is regularly voted one of the world’s greatest railway journeys.
And it became even more famous when the steam train starred as the Hogwarts Express in the Harry Potter movies.