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| Cinema, Kids, Things to do | 04/03/2015


Today Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter has offered a sneak peek at its Platform 9 ¾ expansion, including the original Hogwarts Express steam train. The 78-year-old red engine has returned to the series’ production home, displayed on a realistic set of tracks with steam billowing ready to greet visitors later this month.

Following the official announcement in January, work has continued to ensure this new, permanent 20,000ft2 expansion is ready for opening on Thursday 19th March. This new area will offer a glimpse into how some of the films’ most iconic scenes were created as well as give visitors the chance to climb aboard the train’s carriage and to pose with a luggage trolley as it disappears through the platform wall.

Photocall And press Launch Of Hogwarts Express And Platform 9 3/4

Mark Williams, Mr Weasley in the Harry Potter film series, enjoys a morning read of The Daily Prophet whilst sitting in the Hogwarts Express train carriage on Platform 9 ¾ at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter.

Throughout the Harry Potter film series, British steam train no. 5972, ‘Olton Hall’, was used as the Hogwarts Express. Scenes featuring the working engine – including the very last scene to be shot, in which a grown-up Harry, Ron and Hermione wave their own children off as they head to school – were filmed on a soundstage at Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden and on a track running the full length of the Studios’ 100-acre backlot.

The new, must-see section has been redesigned and built by many of the crew members who worked on the most successful film series of all time. Every inch of the platform’s glass roof, yellow brick walls and luggage racks, designed by Oscar® and BAFTA winning Production Designer Stuart Craig, have been painstakingly reassembled by a team led by Construction Manager Paul Hayes and dressed by Set Decorator Rosie Goodwin. Oscar® and BAFTA winning Special Effects Supervisor John Richardson rigged the locomotive with special effects steam.

Photocall And press Launch Of Hogwarts Express And Platform 9 3/4

Mark Williams, who played Mr Weasley in the Harry Potter film series, hosts a sneak peek of the new permanent expansion at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter, opening on 19th March.

Visitors will be able to walk along the train’s adjoining carriage and sit in the interior carriage set that was used during filming (complete with ‘windows’ that demonstrate the process used to create iconic train scenes from the films such as the escape of Harry’s first Chocolate Frog and the Dementor attack). A selection of prop luggage will be on show and visitors can find out which character owned which items by turning an interactive dial (characters include Hermione Granger, Draco Malfoy, Luna Lovegood and more). A train-themed souvenir shop will also be open on the platform, stocking a wide range of goodies inspired by the Harry Potter films and, specifically, the Hogwarts Express.


Facts and stats:

  • The Hogwarts Express was portrayed by the Great Western Railway 4900 Class 5972 Olton Hall 4-6-0 locomotive and coal tender. The numbers “4-6-0” refer to the wheel configuration: four front wheels, six central, and in this case, no rear wheels.
  • The working steam train was originally built in April 1937 at the Swindon railway works in Wiltshire, and remained in service until December 1963.
  • The Olton Hall locomotive itself weighs 75 tonnes and the coal tender weighs 46.7 tonnes.
  • The students heading to Hogwarts were going away for quite a while and required a great deal of luggage. The Set Decoration Department created luggage trolleys with personalised trunks for each of the main characters (embellished with their initials and the Hogwarts crest). The team also scoured pet shops for a animal cages in different sizes – to carry owls, rats, cats and toads.
  • The production team wanted to take advantage of the impressive architecture at King’s Cross so, as platforms 9 and 10 are not in the main building, they used platforms 3 and 4 for filming instead. Filming at King’s Cross took place on a Sunday because it was the least busy day at the terminal.

Still from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone


Sarah Roots, Vice President of Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, commented: “We’re adding the final touches to our Platform 9 ¾ expansion ready for its official opening on Thursday 19th March. Many of the original craftspeople who worked on the Harry Potter film series have created this phenomenal set and the original Hogwarts Express steam engine has rolled into place on its own set of tracks. This is a truly iconic prop and we’re incredibly excited for our visitors to see it.”

The new Platform 9 ¾ section, featuring the original Hogwarts Express, will open on Thursday 19th March and entrance will be included in the standard ticket price. Tickets to the Studio Tour can be booked here.

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