It provides a spell-binding experience for Harry Potter fans – taking them across Scotland’s spectacular Glenfinnan Viaduct in an echo of the boy wizard’s fictional adventures.

But there were fears for the future of the Jacobite steam train – which provided the engine and carriages for the Hogwarts Express – following the announcement of environmental legislation.

Now industry bosses are breathing a sigh of relief after the threat was removed by the UK Government.

Lord Faulkner, the Heritage Railway Association president, has secured assurances that the Environment Bill will have no direct impact on his sector – and that ministers do not intend to change their policy towards it. He received wide support from fellow peers in the summer and autumn after highlighting risks the industry could face without assurances from the Government that it would be unaffected by the Bill. The latest available figures, from 2018, show steam locomotive emissions were just 0.023 per cent of the UK’s total.

Heritage rail also operates some of the most fuel-efficient services per passenger mile. It provides £1 billion to the national economy and supports over 4,000 jobs.

Lord Faulkner’s tabled amendments hit the headlines after Baroness NevilleRolfe spoke emotively in support of heritage rail in the Lords debate on July 5, saying: “... this Bill could bring about the death of Thomas the Tank Engine and his or her nautical steamboat equivalent ...” In response, Environment Minister Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist confirmed heritage vehicles would not be within the scope of the Bill. This includes steam trains, road vehicles and boats.

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She said: “We listened to the concerns raised by the heritage bodies during consultation on the measures, as well as engaging with the inquiries of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Heritage Rail.

“I can confirm that there will be no direct impact on the heritage steam sector as a result of this Bill. The Government do not intend to bring forward policy that would have a direct impact on it.”

In her subsequent recent letter to Lord Faulkner, Baroness Bloomfield made clear that “Smoke Control Area Provisions in the (1993) Act, and the amendments to them through the Environment Bill, do not and will not apply to smoke from steam trains or road steam vehicles”.

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Lord Faulkner said: “I am pleased at the overwhelming response from fellow peers for my tabled amendments, which were designed to secure the future of heritage steam. I am reassured that the significance of heritage railways has been recognised and, in particular, the need to protect the steam heritage sector from additional environmental restrictions.” He added: “I have been assured that the Smoke Control Area provisions of the Environment Act will not apply to steam trains.”

The move will be welcomed by the popular Jacobite train’s operators. However, they admitted earlier this year that it could be powered by Russian coal, shipped more than 2,700 miles. James Shuttleworth of West Coast Railways – whose owner David Smith also happens to be a coal merchant – said the problem was a lack of British coal.

The train featured in 2002’s Harry Potter And The Chambers of Secrets and Harry Potter And The Prisoner of Azkaban, released in 2004, and was filmed at the Glenfinnan Viaduct.