Questions We Have

Why do Hogwarts students get to school by a train?

Every year, at exactly 11am on the 1st of September, the famous Hogwarts Express departs from King's Cross station carrying students to Hogwarts. Yet, in a world of Portkeys and broomsticks why is such a non-magical form of transport used? We take a look…

The Hogwarts Express wasn’t always the way that students would travel to school. In fact, they used to travel in any way they liked. Some chose to ride broomsticks, there were those who enchanted carts and carriages and some rode to school on a variety of magical creatures. Although, these methods were hard to keep secret, and many students were often spotted by Muggles.

So, when the International Statute of Secrecy was brought in, and the wizarding world was completely hidden from Muggles, it became very important to make sure that no student was spotted on their journey to Hogwarts. However, deciding how hundreds of witches and wizards should get to the castle turned out to be quite tricky. 

 Magical methods of transport were tried first, but they were often found to cause problems of their own. Portkeys didn’t work. The Floo Network wasn’t secure enough. There just didn’t seem to be a good solution. Everyone was stumped – just how would they get these students to school?  

It was the Minister for Magic, Ottaline Gambol, that finally came up with the solution. She was very interested in Muggle inventions and thought a train might be the answer to their travel problems. So, after a few magical modifications, the Hogwarts Express appeared. Students could finally travel from one place to the wizarding village of Hogsmeade, without being spotted by Muggles.   

And that place was a secret train platform, wedged between two Muggle ones, at King's Cross station. To find it, witches and wizards just needed to walk straight through the (seemingly solid) barrier between platforms nine and ten. Once they did that, they’d find themselves on the famous Platform Nine and Three-Quarters where the Hogwarts Express would be waiting for them. 

Since then, the famous scarlet engine has been the way that all students journey to school. While some pure-blood families turned their noses up at the idea of their kids taking a Muggle mode of transport, they soon came round… once they found out it was either their kids take the train, or they don’t go to Hogwarts at all!