‘Hogwarts Express’ rescues family stranded in Scotland

The Jacobite trains, like the one used in filming of Harry Potter movies, are used for excursions on the West Highland Railway Line. Photo courtesy of West Coast Railways

Oct. 15 (UPI) — A version of the ‘Hogwarts Express’ steam train used in the Harry Potter films rescued a stranded family of six in Scotland.

Jon and Helen Cluett and their four young children — 6, 8, 10 and 12 — were stranded Thursday when their canoe was swept away by a swollen river in Locaber.

“We were all in the bothy, warm and fed — all was good — but we’d moored the boat in a little burn behind the bothy [shelter], tied it to a wall, pulled high out of the water,” Jon Cluett told the BBC. “My daughter woke up yesterday and says ‘Daddy, Daddy — the stream is massive’.

“The burn was overflowing. The entire area was underwater. The rocks I’d tied the boat to were pulled apart and the boat was gone.”

The called police when they faced a 3-mile walk to their car.

The police contacted the coast guard, which arranged for them to be picked up by the train, called The Jacobite, which is used for excursions on the West Highland Railway Line. It runs for 41 miles each way and crosses the iconic Glenfinnan Viaduct as featured in the movies.

“The amazing thing was it wasn’t just any train,” Jon Cluett said. “The next train that was passing was the Jacobite steam train — the Harry Potter, Hogwarts Express steam train that goes up and down that line.”

The family hurriedly walked about 1,300 feet to the unscheduled stop.

“We threw all our stuff into some bags and boxes and ran out of the door of the bothy at the same time as the train is coming around the tracks,” the father said. “The train is getting closer, we’re running down, stuff bouncing everywhere, big smiles on the kids faces. It all started to be fun at that point.”

The family was dropped off at the next stop, at Lochailort, and from there they hitched a ride to retrieve the car.

“I’m slightly sad because I’d lost my boat — but the kids, when they saw the steam train coming, all sadness left their little faces and was replaced by excitement and fun — just the real joy of having an adventure and having the train stop right next to them,” Jon Cluett said.

The boat still hasn’t turned up.

“I think it will still be bobbing around in the loch somewhere,” he said. “A big red canoe — so if you see it, that would be helpful. That would make the last part of the story even better.”


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