Passengers on The Jacobite Famous Steam Train were left slightly baffled yesterday when there was no steam to be seen on the first trip of the season.
Due to the dry weather on the west coast, and temperatures tipping 18C, the owners of the train decided it would be best to stick to the diesel engine for the trip.
By using the diesel engine to power the train, owners West Coast Railways tried to minimise the risk of causing a fire as it wound its way through some of the rural countryside of the west Highlands.
While the company used the diesel engine to pull the train it still had the steam engine attached – but it was not letting out its regular puffs of smoke as it went over the 21-pillared Glenfinnan Viaduct.
>> Keep up to date with the latest news with The P&J newsletter
James Shuttleworth, of West Coast Railways, the operator of The Jacobite, said: ” We ran the engine 5407 leading, with the 37 at the rear due to the dry conditions. Our fear would be that something from the steam train would ignite and a fire may be unintentionally started.
“People on the trip still get to see the steam train, but on a day like today – after a dry spell there is the risk of a wildfire. That is something that no one wants.”
A spokesman for Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said: “It was a sensible precaution taken by the operator – as anything, including a smoking ember can cause a fire.
“People should be particularly vigilant in making sure any naked flame including camping fires, cigarettes and camping stoves are guarded and fully extinguished.”