New audio tour creates immersive experience on West Highland Line

Last updated: Friday, 23 June 2023

Tourists to the West Highland Line can now benefit from a guided tour as they travel by rail through the scenic route, thanks to a partnership between ScotRail, Geotourist, and the University of Dundee.

The collaboration aims to enhance the travel experience by offering an engaging and informative audible tour that highlights the history, culture, and natural beauty of the West Highlands.

With its breath-taking landscapes and iconic destinations such as Fort William, Ben Nevis, and the Glenfinnan Viaduct, the West Highland Line is one of Scotland's most beloved railway journeys, and it’s easy to see why many of the stops along the way have featured in high profile movies such as ‘Local Hero’, ‘Trainspotting’ and’ Harry Potter’.

Recognising the importance of providing tourists, both foreign and domestic, with a rich and immersive experience, ScotRail has joined more than 20 other organisations, and teamed up with Geotourist to develop a captivating audio tour that will enhance customers' understanding and enjoyment of the route.

The audible tour, which is accessible on the ScotRail website and through Geotourist's user-friendly mobile app, provides passengers with a unique narrative as they travel through the West Highland Line.

The content has been carefully crafted to offer historical insights, local stories, and interesting facts about the landmarks and attractions along the way. Whether customers are history enthusiasts, nature lovers, or simply seeking to learn more about the area, the audio tour will cater to their interests and enrich their journey.

ScotRail, Geotourist, and the University of Dundee anticipate that this initiative will not only provide invaluable insights but also encourage sustainable tourism, further supporting the local communities and businesses along the West Highland Line.

The programme seeks to identify and assess Geotourist’s unique economic and social benefits to Scottish tourism, and its results will be released in a paper authored by Dr Keith Dinnie of the University of Dundee, an industry report co-authored by Dr Keith Dinnie and Geotourist CEO, Shaon Talukder, and an online event for Scottish tourism industry stakeholders.

The project is funded by the Scottish Inward Investment Catalyst Fund administered by Interface, an organisation who manage funding and collaborations with Scotland’s universities, colleges, and research institutes.

Alasdair Smart, ScotRail Tourism Manager, said:

“We’re delighted that customers travelling on the West Highland Line can now benefit from a more immersive experience thanks to the new audio tour.

“From the hustle and bustle of Glasgow to peaceful and picturesque Mallaig at the end of the line, it’s a side of Scotland you can only see from the train, and a magical tour of some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.

“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.

Shaon Talukder, Geotourist CEO, said:

“We are overjoyed to welcome ScotRail on board the project. Working on this project with all of our partners has been a hugely rewarding experience and we’re only really starting out.

“The partner mix is enormously compelling with many different aspects of the Scottish visitor economy ready to be explored. Every tour is special because it captures truly authentic content that showcases why Scotland is a world-class destination for any tourist.

“Now, we’re going to be able to see where they travel from and what they travel for. This project will directly inform decision making and help to make the most of tight budgets. Alongside the practical and business-focused outcomes of the project, we must not forget the storytelling experience which connects visitors to the world around them.”