Can muggles see the Hogwarts Express?

potterwotcher
March 2nd, 2008, 6:45 pm
I always wondered if the Hogwarts Express was concealed from muggles once it was out of the station. And how were Ron and Harry able to find the train while in the flying car so easily?

DeathlyH
March 2nd, 2008, 8:02 pm
I would think that they could see the Hogwarts Express. I mean, if you just saw it from the outside there would be nothnig suspicious about it. Just looks like a normal train. As for your second question, I think they knew in a general sense where the train was headed, so they went that way and eventually caught up to it. That might have been stretching it a little bit bit, but hey, it's a fiction book. Not everything is perfectly realistic. :)

Vampire_Girl
March 2nd, 2008, 8:06 pm
The only reason I can see the hogwarts express being hidden from muggles is that the track leads up to hogsmead, and even though they can't go there regardless, it would just be an extra security precaution. That's the only reason I can think of though, because it more or less is just a normal train, isn't it?

Lucybird
March 2nd, 2008, 8:28 pm
Well it's a steam train isn't it? So I expect it would be hidden, because the only steam trains are usually tourist attractions now so people would wonder where the station was, as usually it would be nearish for a tourist train. Not sure what sort of spells would conceal it though as it at least has travel through London repelling spells wouldn't work, maybe some sort of invisibility spell

DeathlyH
March 2nd, 2008, 8:31 pm
Well it's a steam train isn't it? So I expect it would be hidden, because the only steam trains are usually tourist attractions now so people would wonder where the station was, as usually it would be nearish for a tourist train. Not sure what sort of spells would conceal it though as it at least has travel through London repelling spells wouldn't work, maybe some sort of invisibility spell

But remember these books took place in the early nineties; I was very young then so I wouldn't know if steam trains were still used then. Even if they weren't, they may have been in 1990 when Jo got the idea. I don't know why Muggles would make a big deal of that, personally, or try to follow it to the station. They don't know that wizards are in there. They have no reason to follow it.

Lucybird
March 2nd, 2008, 8:40 pm
But remember these books took place in the early nineties; I was very young then so I wouldn't know if steam trains were still used then. Even if they weren't, they may have been in 1990 when Jo got the idea. I don't know why Muggles would make a big deal of that, personally, or try to follow it to the station. They don't know that wizards are in there. They have no reason to follow it.

I'm old enough to know, we went to see steam trains in museums when I was a kid and I was born 1987, definitely wouldn't have been widely used then

Oh and I didn't mean that they'd follow it but may well be intrigued, or interested in a tourist type way, enough to at least wonder about it, and the wizards may not want to risk that

Klio
March 2nd, 2008, 8:43 pm
But remember these books took place in the early nineties; I was very young then so I wouldn't know if steam trains were still used then. Even if they weren't, they may have been in 1990 when Jo got the idea. I don't know why Muggles would make a big deal of that, personally, or try to follow it to the station. They don't know that wizards are in there. They have no reason to follow it.

<sigh>

You make me feel VERY, VERY old..... no, the 1990s aren't really all that far away, and transport technology wasn't very different then from what it is now (though you wouldn't recognise the communication technology of that period! :D ). In the UK most steam trains were decommissioned sometime in the 1950's and 1960's. They have been tourist attractions *only* all my life, and I was born in the early 1970's.

So yes, a steam train would look VERY odd - especially anywhere on the main line from London to Scotland.

You'd also have to wonder whether it was somehow made to speed up magically - it makes the journey to Scotland in a long afternoon, it seems, which isn't much slower than the high speed trains that run from London to Edinburgh (5 hours, I think). But if the Hogwarts train doesn't have its very own rail line it would still have to avoid those faster trains in some way.....

LoonyMagic
March 2nd, 2008, 8:46 pm
My intial response was that it could be seen, but then thinking about secrecy and so on, I'd say that it would be kept hidden, because first of all it leads up to Hogwarts (obviously not a good thing). Also because I think a steam train would create a lot of attention.

However, saying all this, the train track was probably set out in the places that most Muggles wouldn't venture...

Lucybird
March 2nd, 2008, 9:03 pm
My intial response was that it could be seen, but then thinking about secrecy and so on, I'd say that it would be kept hidden, because first of all it leads up to Hogwarts (obviously not a good thing). Also because I think a steam train would create a lot of attention.

However, saying all this, the train track was probably set out in the places that most Muggles wouldn't venture...

Except that it would have to travel through central London to get out of Kings Cross

LoonyMagic
March 2nd, 2008, 9:33 pm
Except that it would have to travel through central London to get out of Kings Cross

*facepalm* Yeah, I completely forgot about that part :lol: Well then I would say it's invisible to prevent any Muggles from finding out :)

gipro2003
March 2nd, 2008, 9:53 pm
*facepalm* Yeah, I completely forgot about that part :lol: Well then I would say it's invisible to prevent any Muggles from finding out :)


Which I would agree with, except that Harry and Ron were able to locate it. If it was indeed invisible, then how so?


I think it would be risky for the wizarding world not to conceal it though, as it would very likely spur Muggles interest and curiousity if they did see it, and considering all the other security measures the wizarding world had in place, it would seem only natural that the train was hidden as well.

DeathlyH
March 2nd, 2008, 10:03 pm
Which I would agree with, except that Harry and Ron were able to locate it. If it was indeed invisible, then how so?

I still disagree that it would have to be invisible, but if it did it would probably be like Hogwarts, so that wizards can see it perfectly fine but Muggles can't. :)

deansboy
March 2nd, 2008, 11:05 pm
I still disagree that it would have to be invisible, but if it did it would probably be like Hogwarts, so that wizards can see it perfectly fine but Muggles can't. :)

Thats what I thought because a wizard has to be able to see it in cases of having to stop for one reason or another. I think the charm comes on once it leaves the station as muggle parents seem to have no problem with it. Like the leaky cauldron, once you get the muggles inside they can see everything.

The train is probably like the knight bus in that it'll jump pretty quick, I think Rowling gave the train the day to run so that the kids would have a chance to talk. Kinda kills the excitement of going if you say "Bye mom and dad" and then you're at school in fifteen minutes.

gipro2003
March 2nd, 2008, 11:09 pm
I still disagree that it would have to be invisible, but if it did it would probably be like Hogwarts, so that wizards can see it perfectly fine but Muggles can't. :)

Duh.. lol I didnt think of that. Your probably right though.

Tenshi
March 2nd, 2008, 11:10 pm
I doubt it was invisible, but I think that it maybe was disguised and looked like a normal train for Muggles. I can't imagine that such a huge and moving thing can be completely made invisible and then there are still the tracks on the ground.

crookshanks911
March 2nd, 2008, 11:36 pm
I've always thought of it like the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron. It really is there but muggles just walk by without noticing. Similar to the Knight Bus in my opinion because muggles just dont look close enough.

gemstarz101
March 2nd, 2008, 11:56 pm
I think if muggles can see it, they just dismiss it as nothing irregular just a steamstrain in the countryside and go about what ever they were doing.

Harry and Ron could see it because they were following it and new where it was going (well in some way) and they were wizards which I think had to do with something to do with it.

Thats just my opinion though. :rotfl:

Klio
March 3rd, 2008, 12:20 am
I think if muggles can see it, they just dismiss it as nothing irregular just a steamstrain in the countryside and go about what ever they were doing.


erm. It's just that a steam train in the countryside almost anywhere between London and Scotland is a highly irregular thing.

It's not as if they just pop up like that.... there are a few heritage' lines that have steam trains and muggles would expect to see them there - but anywhere else a steam train would look really odd. And the weirdest thing is of course how you'd disguise the steam .... the train is perhaps possible... but how do you put some sort of disillusionment charm on steam?

I am not sure whether all muggles on the route (that's millions) could be put under some sort of precautionary memory charm, or better, perhaps 'mis-perception' charm. :D

Voldemorts8thHorcrux
March 3rd, 2008, 12:24 am
They probably already knew the general direction of it so it was easier for them. however, I think that muggles probably could. It just looks normal on the outside, and even if they could look inside, it wouldnt look too abnormal. If it isn't, I think it would probably just be invisible or something

JediMasterSnape
March 3rd, 2008, 12:40 am
I would say muggles could not see them. Also, as for the steam trains, it seems that with Harry Potter, you almost step back in time. So steam trains would not be out of the ordinary. Sure, their are some modern things in the wizrding world, but look at it as a whole, it seems kind of in the past.

LeanneJO
March 3rd, 2008, 3:50 am
Muggles could see the Hogwarts Express I believe, think about the muggle parents sending their kids off to school, they would be able to see it, plus it's only running twice a year anyway so it wouldn't really bring attention to itself, there's trains running all over the UK.

Mad_Druid
March 3rd, 2008, 4:13 am
In much the same way that Hogwarts looks like a crumbling ruin, I imagine that the Hogwarts Express looks like a dirty old coal train or something similar to muggles.

Gwenhwyfara
March 3rd, 2008, 4:53 am
To those of you who think the Hogwarts Express wouldn't attract much attention if visible: You do remember this is a scarlet steam engine we're talking about, don't you? If wizards were hoping muggles simply wouldn't notice it, you'd think they would have painted it some other color.

The only explanation that makes sense to me is that it is bespelled so that only wizards can see it as it is. Perhaps it is invisible to muggles, like the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron, or perhaps it is charmed to look like an ordinary diesel engine to them. Either way, I think it would have to have its own track.

The_Green_Woods
March 3rd, 2008, 6:04 am
In much the same way that Hogwarts looks like a crumbling ruin, I imagine that the Hogwarts Express looks like a dirty old coal train or something similar to muggles.

I think so too. Or else like Gwenhwyfara said, it was bespelled so that only wizards could see the train and the muggles can't.

But I have another question. The railway tracks?(Is that correct?) Did the wizards lay them by themselves, or would they use the muggles' railway tracks? If they do, they really have to adjust their timings with that of the muggles. If the wizards prepared the tracks, then that was one impressive job, because the whole thing from KC to Hogsmeade would have to be concealed.

I personally think they used the muggles' tracks, that would be easier than laying out fresh tracks.

Klio
March 3rd, 2008, 10:50 am
In much the same way that Hogwarts looks like a crumbling ruin, I imagine that the Hogwarts Express looks like a dirty old coal train or something similar to muggles.


That's a really good idea. It must have worked like that.... I think we have somehow exhausted all the other options.

And as far as the track is concerned - I wonder whether it can use the muggle tracks and simply move out of the way somehow when another train is coming - a bit like the knight bus.

But then, it must move in some magical way anyway, because a steam train can't make the long journey in so short a time!

gipro2003
March 3rd, 2008, 11:28 am
And as far as the track is concerned - I wonder whether it can use the muggle tracks and simply move out of the way somehow when another train is coming - a bit like the knight bus.

But then, it must move in some magical way anyway, because a steam train can't make the long journey in so short a time!

It may be able to use Muggle tracks for a while, but eventually I think it would have to use wizard made tracks due to its eventual detination (Hogsmeade.) As this is a purely wizard community, I doubt there would be a Muggle train station there.

inkling7
March 3rd, 2008, 1:00 pm
We must remember that it leaves from a pretty invisible platform which most ordinary muggles can't get to so it makes me think the whole thing is in a separate dimension or something - a bit like the Knight bus. What I'd like to know is how muggleborns and their parents know how to get to Diagon Alley and how to get onto Platform 9 to see their children off. Were they given instructions or something? Harry wasn't and if he hadn't run into the Weasley's he probably would have missed the train.

If the train is seen by muggles then they might see it as a dirty old goods train or something - as suggested above - just as they see Hogwarts itself - as the ruins of an old castle.

The_Green_Woods
March 3rd, 2008, 3:08 pm
That's a really good idea. It must have worked like that.... I think we have somehow exhausted all the other options.

And as far as the track is concerned - I wonder whether it can use the muggle tracks and simply move out of the way somehow when another train is coming - a bit like the knight bus.

Can it move like that? I don't think so, because, on what would it run, when a muggle train comes along, unlike the Kinght's Bus which could move, squeeze or jump out of the way. But like the Knight's Bus, I think there is a jumping magic, advanced magic that could be at play here, so that when a muggle train approaches, it could just jump over it and continue on its way, and every time it jumps, it could jump a bit, so that they make it to Hogsmeade in time.

Also I think the parents are given specific instructions to get them to the right place. Hermione got there and so did Dean Thomas without any trouble. I gues Harry did not know because we wer not to know until later. To keep the suspense, really.

Wab
March 3rd, 2008, 3:52 pm
The Express would not need the same level of obsessive secrecy as other things. The average punter seeing the train would most likely assume that it was an outing for a historical train society or the like.

Plus the route to Scotland could easily use the Settle-Carlisle line which runs largely through unpopulated country (and is used for exteriors in the movies).

deansboy
March 3rd, 2008, 4:33 pm
The problem is getting out of London and why such an old fashion train is only ever seen leaving in the beginning of September, the end of June and certain holidays. If it's visible than a muggle who leaves near King's Cross would've noticed it year after year, maybe not every one but they'd see the pattern if they were there long enough. I go with either cloaking it so that it appear to look like a modern train or just making it invisible.

Klio
March 3rd, 2008, 8:26 pm
The problem is also the steam in King's Cross station ..... OK, platform 9 3/4 is not accessible to muggles, but I assume it is still IN the station? That much steam in an otherwise steam free station could be a problem, too.... :D


Also I think the parents are given specific instructions to get them to the right place. Hermione got there and so did Dean Thomas without any trouble. I gues Harry did not know because we wer not to know until later. To keep the suspense, really.


I am sure you are right about the literary aims here - generally, the whole set-up of the train which causes us so much trouble should be explained in this way. The train is simply dramatically useful for the story, as is platform 9 3/4, even if they are hardly possible even within the parameters of JKR's world!


But with Harry's introduction to the wizarding world we also have to think about Hagrid - who is hugely enthusiastic but keeps forgetting that harry has no notion of the wizarding world.... so in that context it can be explained that hagrid simply didn't think of telling Harry!

Tenshi
March 3rd, 2008, 8:57 pm
Muggles could see the Hogwarts Express I believe, think about the muggle parents sending their kids off to school, they would be able to see it, plus it's only running twice a year anyway so it wouldn't really bring attention to itself, there's trains running all over the UK.
But Muggles weren't able to enter the platform either.

To those of you who think the Hogwarts Express wouldn't attract much attention if visible: You do remember this is a scarlet steam engine we're talking about, don't you? If wizards were hoping muggles simply wouldn't notice it, you'd think they would have painted it some other color.
They re-introduced a steam engine here years ago for touristic attraction and which runs a couple of times a year I think. I saw it driving myself last year and while it was impressive to see, it was nothing special as I know that it frequents often.
It could be similar with the Hogwarts Express, that it was introduced as touristic attraction which runs a couple of times a year, but unfortunatelly all tickets are sold out every time. :rotfl:

LoonyLuny
March 3rd, 2008, 9:10 pm
No I don't think even a scarlet train would be very noticable. Trains aren't generally scarlet but most people would just see it and forget it.

Also, Jo tells us the Hogwarts express runs in the countryside most of the time; therefore less people, etc ...

But I was wondering if maybe the Hogwarts express has it's own line ?? Because what about other trains and crashing and it has to go through london anyway ... What do you think ??

_LoonyLovegood_
March 3rd, 2008, 9:13 pm
But Muggles weren't able to enter the platform either.
Are you sure they aren't if they're with a magical person? They mention Diagon Alley and Platform 9 3/4 as two places that Muggles can't penetrate, but Hermione's parents come to Diagon Alley in COS.
I really can't see parents sending their children through a wall and then just leaving and not seeing them again until months later.
And if they can get onto Platform 9 3/4, I can't see them sending their children off on an invisible (to them) train.

Klio
March 3rd, 2008, 9:20 pm
I would guess that muggles could get through? But who runs at a wall head-on? You wouldn't expect that it would simply let you through, so which muggle would try?

Gwenhwyfara
March 3rd, 2008, 9:28 pm
Are you sure they aren't if they're with a magical person? They mention Diagon Alley and Platform 9 3/4 as two places that Muggles can't penetrate, but Hermione's parents come to Diagon Alley in COS.
I really can't see parents sending their children through a wall and then just leaving and not seeing them again until months later.
And if they can get onto Platform 9 3/4, I can't see them sending their children off on an invisible (to them) train.

Lily's parents and Petunia were on the platform to see her off, as documented in The Prince's Tale. Perhaps the fact that one must run straight at a seemingly solid wall is all the anti-muggle defense needed, and anyone can get through if they try it. Only those in the know would try it according to the plan (though I can imagine muggle kids running around could cause a considerable amount of havoc).

_LoonyLovegood_
March 3rd, 2008, 9:33 pm
Lily's parents and Petunia were on the platform to see her off, as documented in The Prince's Tale. Perhaps the fact that one must run straight at a seemingly solid wall is all the anti-muggle defense needed, and anyone can get through if they try it. Only those in the know would try it according to the plan (though I can imagine muggle kids running around could cause a considerable amount of havoc).

Right :tu: I forgot about that, sorry. But in GoF when they're talking about the anti-Muggle protection for the Quidditch World Cup they mention Diagon Alley and Platform 9 3/4 as places Muggles can't penetrate (but they say they obviously couldn't fit the stadium in there), so I always assumed that maybe Muggles needed to be with a wizard to get onto the platform.

Gwenhwyfara
March 3rd, 2008, 9:39 pm
Right :tu: I forgot about that, sorry. But in GoF when they're talking about the anti-Muggle protection for the Quidditch World Cup they mention Diagon Alley and Platform 9 3/4 as places Muggles can't penetrate (but they say they obviously couldn't fit the stadium in there), so I always assumed that maybe Muggles needed to be with a wizard to get onto the platform.

I suppose that's still possible, and Lily's family needed her to get on the platform. I sort of took the "impenetrable" to mean that such locations were unplottable, which would just mean that they could not appear on muggle maps and no one would notice the gap of space they took up. I saw it as meaning that something as big as the Quiddich World Cup stadium and surrounding campgrounds were too big to make unplottable.

_LoonyLovegood_
March 3rd, 2008, 10:02 pm
I suppose that's still possible, and Lily's family needed her to get on the platform. I sort of took the "impenetrable" to mean that such locations were unplottable, which would just mean that they could not appear on muggle maps and no one would notice the gap of space they took up. I saw it as meaning that something as big as the Quiddich World Cup stadium and surrounding campgrounds were too big to make unplottable.

Hmm, you could be right. I don't really know. Penetrate is defined as "to pierce or pass into or through" so I always took it to mean just that; Muggles cannot enter it. But I could definitely be wrong, I guess it's just however you interpret the text.

Lucybird
March 3rd, 2008, 10:15 pm
The thing with just having a solid barrier between the platforms would be that people might lean against it (as Harry and Mr Weasley do in one of the books, I can't remember which) and so might get through to the platform, it's quite possible especially if someone was tired or had travelled far to the station

Klio
March 3rd, 2008, 11:44 pm
Gosh.... You know, I traqvel through KK quite often... how cool would it be to lean against a wall there, just tired from a lomg journey and dragging luggage around - and suddenly ending up in an extra, unseen platform....

But you are right.... we have to think of Murphy's Law here: what can go wrong will go wrong, and there must be some sort of protection against accidental muggle intruders.

Perhaps you have to approach the wall with a determination to reach platform 9 3/4. Since normal muggles don't know about its existence they could never do it - they could not even follow a wizard they see disappearing through there. Muggles 'in the know' cpould still get through, though.

This should be possible - just like Harry couldn't get into the Room of Requirement when Malfoy was in there, as long as he didn't know exactly what the room had become for Malfoy. But the ROR was open to several people as soon as they all wanted the same thing when they were walking past the door.

The platform entrance could work in the same way. That should be pretty safe, especially if you specify the platform exactly. :)

Tenshi
March 3rd, 2008, 11:59 pm
What doesn't make sense is, when Muggles can enter the Platform and could see the train (like Petunia did), but wouldn't be able to see it when it leaves the station.

It's still weird that Petunia was there as Hermione's parents weren't able to enter it. At least that's what I remember.

DeathlyH
March 4th, 2008, 12:04 am
What doesn't make sense is, when Muggles can enter the Platform and could see the train (like Petunia did), but wouldn't be able to see it when it leaves the station.

It's still weird that Petunia was there as Hermione's parents weren't able to enter it. At least that's what I remember.

I'm not sure that that was the case. The only year that Hermione doesn't stay with Ron and Harry and go on the platform with them is the first year, and that year we don't see her until they are on the train. It is an interesting point that Petunia and her parents were on the platform, though. :tu:

gipro2003
March 4th, 2008, 12:56 am
The thing with just having a solid barrier between the platforms would be that people might lean against it (as Harry and Mr Weasley do in one of the books, I can't remember which) and so might get through to the platform, it's quite possible especially if someone was tired or had travelled far to the station

Is it possible that you have to be around someone with magical abilities to make it work. Sort of like the platform having the ability to sense magic. I'm thinking though it may attract some Muggle attention if so many people have to cross on to Platform 9 and 3/4 all on the same day.

Is there maybe another way onto the platform?

insenergy
March 4th, 2008, 1:13 am
I really don't think they can see the express it wouldn't make any sense then to hide the platforms and what not, i think it is cloaked with a spell sort of like the one Arthur put on the ford that makes it invisible.

_LoonyLovegood_
March 4th, 2008, 1:25 am
I really don't think they can see the express it wouldn't make any sense then to hide the platforms and what not, i think it is cloaked with a spell sort of like the one Arthur put on the ford that makes it invisible.

Well, it can't actually be invisible, because then non-Muggles wouldn't be able to see it either (as we know they can). So if it is indeed hidden from Muggles, it would have to be a spell that allows only Magical people to see it.

HPgreyhound
March 4th, 2008, 9:46 pm
Well I think that Muggles that know of the trains existance can see it, but otherwise Muggles that have no idea it exists cant see it, or get into the platform.

Gwenhwyfara
March 4th, 2008, 11:49 pm
Is it possible that you have to be around someone with magical abilities to make it work. Sort of like the platform having the ability to sense magic. I'm thinking though it may attract some Muggle attention if so many people have to cross on to Platform 9 and 3/4 all on the same day.

Is there maybe another way onto the platform?

I don't think there is another way on. If there is, it can't be very well-publicized, or Ron would have thought of it in second year when he and Harry couldn't get through the barrier. (Though, to be fair, those boys were inordinately eager to fly a car to Hogwarts, and might not have wanted to remember any other way of getting there.)

Well I think that Muggles that know of the trains existance can see it, but otherwise Muggles that have no idea it exists cant see it, or get into the platform.

Could it be the wizarding world's biggest Secret? In DH, we learn that after the death of a Secret Keeper, the secret becomes diluted among all the people the original Secret Keeper told. If this went on for generations, would it be possible for nearly all wizards to share in this secret? The writer of the Hogwarts letters would be one of the Secret Keepers, so muggleborns would then be let in on it, and wizarding kids would have been told by their parents.

Does anyone have any thoughts on the plausibility of this idea?

inkling7
March 5th, 2008, 2:20 am
The idea of the biggest Secret and Secret Keepers for the Hogwarts Express sounds like a pretty good one to me and the writer of the Hogwarts letters to prospective students would definitely have to be one - or the only one - who passes on the job to the next letter writer when he/she retires. I think the letter writer is MCgonagall in this case but I would imagine two Secret Keeper - the Headmaster/mistress and their deputy - the letter writer. This way the Hogwarts Express is only seen by those who are witches or wizards and the people who are either their parents, or as in Harry's and Neville's case, their guardians. It also means that the parents etc of muggleborns can have access to the platform. I often wonder how many muggleborn witches and wizards never went to Hogwarts becasue the parents were a bit sceptical of the whole thing and like Vernon Dursley didn't believe in magic.

Tenshi
March 5th, 2008, 2:29 am
Could it be the wizarding world's biggest Secret? In DH, we learn that after the death of a Secret Keeper, the secret becomes diluted among all the people the original Secret Keeper told. If this went on for generations, would it be possible for nearly all wizards to share in this secret? The writer of the Hogwarts letters would be one of the Secret Keepers, so muggleborns would then be let in on it, and wizarding kids would have been told by their parents. Does anyone have any thoughts on the plausibility of this idea?
Even if they are told, I doubt it would be possible for them to enter the platform. You get to know a lot of things and it's too dangerous to use such a system. People could overhear wizards and believe in it and then they suddenly stand on the platform. I rather think that Muggle parents and guardians are given special permission to cross the barrier.

Gwenhwyfara
March 5th, 2008, 2:32 am
I think the letter writer is MCgonagall in this case but I would imagine two Secret Keeper - the Headmaster/mistress and their deputy - the letter writer.

Well, if this had been going on for hundreds of years, as each letter-writer died, the Secret would be passed on and diluted to all students to whom they had written (including the future letter-writer), for several generations. The Secret would be terribly diluted, but only wizarding folk and muggle-borns' families/friends would know.

Isla Sofia
March 5th, 2008, 2:49 am
A fascinating question. :hmm:

I would venture a guess that when looking at the Hogwarts Express, muggles see just an ordinary, everyday train due to some kind of protective charm to protect the secrecy of the school-- after all, when muggles look at Hogwarts, they see merely a crumbing, dilapidated building with a "Keep Out" sign, not a breathtaking castle full of magical children. ;)

inkling7
March 5th, 2008, 3:43 am
I think that receiving the letter from Hogwarts includes instructions how to get to Diagon Alley and Platform 9 3/4 and permission to access these magical wizarding places.

Re seeing the Express itself I doubt whether it would be included in the Rail Timetables of the UK so no provision would be made to it to safely run on the ordinary tracks and no doubt it would be running the same time as other trains from Kings Cross Station. Therefore the possibility of collisions with other trains would be increased unless they sort of slotted it in between the ordinary trains timetables. However as it only stops at Hogsmeade Station and other trains would stop at others how would it be feasible to run on the same train tracks non-stop? I think it must have it's own track somehow to run sucessfully unless a charm of some sort is put on the ordinary trains when the Hogwart's Express runs (it only runs a few times a year - term times - holidays). A charm might enable it to get a free run at those times or as I said before it runs in a different dimension somehow.

_LoonyLovegood_
March 5th, 2008, 4:08 am
I think that receiving the letter from Hogwarts includes instructions how to get to Diagon Alley and Platform 9 3/4 and permission to access these magical wizarding places.
Harry's didn't tell him how to get onto the platform.

The_Green_Woods
March 5th, 2008, 5:01 am
Harry's didn't tell him how to get onto the platform.

Yes and no one came to tell him about the magical world. Much as I like Hagrid, I think it should have been someone like McGonagall who should have told him about the new world and how he should get on to the platform to take the train.

But Hagrid came to sway him on Slytherin and tell him about Voldemort IMO.

_LoonyLovegood_
March 5th, 2008, 5:15 am
Yes and no one came to tell him about the magical world. Much as I like Hagrid, I think it should have been someone like McGonagall who should have told him about the new world and how he should get on to the platform to take the train.

But Hagrid came to sway him on Slytherin and tell him about Voldemort IMO.

Yes, it may very well be that the person who tells them about Hogwarts is supposed to tell them how to get onto the platform. My response was solely to the idea of it being in the letters. I assume if most people were informed by their letter, Harry would have been too. So, I'm assuming that wasn't the case.

The_Green_Woods
March 5th, 2008, 5:35 am
I think muggleborns would have been informed in person by someone. It is too big a thing for them to receive in a letter and understand the implications of their child being a witch/wizard and gaining admittance into a School for Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Those who would come in person would also inform them about the unseen platform and the non-existent train.

inkling7
March 5th, 2008, 5:52 am
Actually that is probably true Albus or Minerva would most likely give all Muggleborns the relevant information in person but witches and wizards would probably not need to be told and that could be why Harry wasn't as his parents were both magical folk and he was most likely accidentally lumped in with those who knew OR Albus assumed Petunia would tell him as she knew all about it. Unfortunately Albus forgot about Vernon's pigheadedness.

The_Green_Woods
March 5th, 2008, 6:03 am
Actually that is probably true Albus or Minerva would most likely give all Muggleborns the relevant information in person but witches and wizards would probably not need to be told and that could be why Harry wasn't as his parents were both magical folk and he was most likely accidentally lumped in with those who knew OR Albus assumed Petunia would tell him as she knew all about it. Unfortunately Albus forgot about Vernon's pigheadedness.

Good point! Yes; I suppose Dumbledore forgot Petunia's pigheadedness. I would not blame Vernon; he seems to be following his wife's lead as far as Harry was concerned. She was the blood relative and she never bothered, because she was jealous. And they just dropped off a 11 year old at the station not bothering to see if he got on to the platform safely, (I am assuming Petunia thought Hagrid told Harry everything). They were gits weren't they?

Gwenhwyfara
March 5th, 2008, 6:53 am
I think I do remember the books saying somewhere that Hogwarts sent someone to talk with the families of muggleborn witches and wizards to explain everything. Probably the reason Hagrid was the one sent for Harry was that he was the most impressive-looking staff member and most likely to be able to quell Uncle Vernon's (rather predictable) attempts at physical violence and (entirely unavoidable) efforts to seem superior. Not that McGonagall couldn't cope -- Hagrid just looked more fearsome and was more likely to get the Dursleys to cooperate without having to tie them up and leave them in sacks in the corner. :lol:

_LoonyLovegood_
March 5th, 2008, 7:00 am
I think I do remember the books saying somewhere that Hogwarts sent someone to talk with the families of muggleborn witches and wizards to explain everything. Probably the reason Hagrid was the one sent for Harry was that he was the most impressive-looking staff member and most likely to be able to quell Uncle Vernon's (rather predictable) attempts at physical violence and (entirely unavoidable) efforts to seem superior. Not that McGonagall couldn't cope -- Hagrid just looked more fearsome and was more likely to get the Dursleys to cooperate without having to tie them up and leave them in sacks in the corner. :lol:

I believe they say that during The Prince's Tale; Snape tells Lily that someone has to explain to the family of Muggle borns (which is what sparks the, "Does it make a difference being Muggle born?" if I'm remembering correctly).
And yes, I think you're right about that. Hagrid has a more...significant presence, I guess you could say.:lol:

Klio
March 5th, 2008, 9:27 am
..... A charm might enable it to get a free run at those times or as I said before it runs in a different dimension somehow.


... this could explain the many delays on UK railways.... I wonder. Are there more wizarding trains that keep their track free for themselves by charms? Confunced muggles would then explain their exasperated passengers that the train is delayed because of faulty signals/congestion in stations/leaves on the line and so forth.

I BET there is a regular wizard train on the line from Paddington to the west. ;)


Sorry - I couldn't help myself ;)




Concerning who came to Harry to tell him about the school.

Since Dumbledore sent letters first we have to assume that he expected the Dursleys to have told Harry about the wizarding world. After all, he expected Petunia to know enough about Hogwarts!

In the end, perhaps Hagrid was given the privilege because he had brought Harry from Godric's Hollow to the Dursley's 10 years earlier... :)

Gwenhwyfara
March 5th, 2008, 9:44 am
In the end, perhaps Hagrid was given the privilege because he had brought Harry from Godric's Hollow to the Dursley's 10 years earlier...
Agreed. I'd be very surprised if Hagrid didn't request the job. (Possibly with tearful remeniscences of how he "fell asleep as we were flyin' over Bristol.") Dumbledore wouldn't have had the heart to say no! ;)

inkling7
March 5th, 2008, 4:24 pm
If there is a Wizard Express mucking up the timetables of British Rail then there must be a whole lot of them running in Sydney NSW Australia mucking up City Rail trains every day.

Gwenhwyfara
March 5th, 2008, 7:39 pm
I wonder if they could "borrow" a muggle track when the Express needed to run? Take it from the place it normally goes (leaving, of course, a suitable diversion in its place) and put it on a course to Hogsmeade? :hmm:

Klio
March 5th, 2008, 11:39 pm
If there is a Wizard Express mucking up the timetables of British Rail then there must be a whole lot of them running in Sydney NSW Australia mucking up City Rail trains every day.

LOL.... well, the Aussie wizards have to get to school somewhere as well....

I wonder where they hide a school like that in OZ.... a crumbling ruin won't look credible... I'd hope that a lot of aboriginal magic would be involved down under :)

Concerning the Hogsmeade track - well, if they do use the muggle tracks then it would simply branch off somewhere - presumably as an invisible track, with invisible points :)

Since the railway goes up all the way past Inverness to Wick (if I recall correctly) it doesn't matter how far north the place is, there will be a muggle track it can branch off from....

DeathlyH
March 5th, 2008, 11:44 pm
LOL.... well, the Aussie wizards have to get to school somewhere as well....

I wonder where they hide a school like that in OZ.... a crumbling ruin won't look credible... I'd hope that a lot of aboriginal magic would be involved down under :)

Concerning the Hogsmeade track - well, if they do use the muggle tracks then it would simply branch off somewhere - presumably as an invisible track, with invisible points :)

Since the railway goes up all the way past Inverness to Wick (if I recall correctly) it doesn't matter how far north the place is, there will be a muggle track it can branch off from....

I think it may be one of those things designed as a perfectly normal Myggle device, but with hidden magic, like the Quidditch World Cup campsite or St. Mungo's. I mean, they may just have some wizards pretending to be Muggles setting it up as a normal Muggle train on a Muggle track, and make up a Muggle destination a little north of Hogwarts. But then they don't actually go there, but the station doesn't know that. It's kinda far-fetched, but I think it could be possible. Plus, wouldn't Muggles be a bit suspicious of they saw a train coming out of nowhere at all?

RemusLupinFan
March 5th, 2008, 11:49 pm
The Hogwarts Express is a pretty ordinary train on the outside, so I see no reason why it would have to be disguised. I'm sure Muggles can see it and I'm sure they'd make nothing of it since it doesn't draw attention to itself in any way by being obviously magical. But I suppose if need be it could be cloaked or disillusioned.

Klio
March 5th, 2008, 11:56 pm
Well, I thought we had established that a steam train isn't anything like a 'pretty ordinary train on the outside'.....

Not in the British countryside anyway... ;)

Tenshi
March 5th, 2008, 11:58 pm
The Hogwarts Express is a pretty ordinary train on the outside, so I see no reason why it would have to be disguised. I'm sure Muggles can see it and I'm sure they'd make nothing of it since it doesn't draw attention to itself in any way by being obviously magical. But I suppose if need be it could be cloaked or disillusioned.
It's a steam train and hence nothing that runs in Britain without arising attention. There are no steam engines use anymore since almost 40 years.

Graduand_Esk
March 6th, 2008, 12:30 am
Actually, there are a very small number of steam trains still in operation. I think there is one the runs on the Glenfinnan viaduct in Scotland, in fact - I would presume it was an image like this one that inspired JKR to write her particular description of how pupils travel to Hogwarts.

I would think that Muggles who happened to be in the vicinity would be vaguely aware of an old-fashioned train chugging past. No-one would really have to worry about people getting suspicious, given that the Hogwarts Express only travels once at the beginning of September and once part of the way through June. A steam train passing on a twice-yearly basis isn't going to be that noticeable.

Wab
March 6th, 2008, 2:06 am
It's a steam train and hence nothing that runs in Britain without arising attention. There are no steam engines use anymore since almost 40 years.

Not for general main line services but: "Main Line Steam trains - every weekend throughout the year. Re-creating the experience of famous expresses of the steam age. Passenger trains also on weekdays, June to August. Relax in the comfort of our classic corridor trains - steam heated in Winter. Just like British Railways in the great years of steam."

Great Central Railway (http://www.gcrailway.co.uk/)

That is just one of a number of tourist, historical and enthusiast services running all over the country.

inkling7
March 6th, 2008, 2:39 am
The Hogwarts Express would also have to run at Xmas for those students spending the holidays with family. I'm not sure about Easter though. However at Kings Cross Station they'd have to hide this Platform making it like Grim Place. The railway tracks leading away from it could also be like that - sandwiched in alongside normal tracks until they reach the country at least.

There are plenty of ghost towns and ruins of old farmhouses in the country here in Australia that could be disguised for a wizard school. I used to travel on a steam train a few times a year from a country town to attend boarding school in Sydney only we travelled overnight both ways arriving in the mornings at our destinations.

Lucybird
March 10th, 2008, 12:34 pm
Well Dumbledore was secret keeper for Grimmauld place wasn't he, so I very much doubt it was hidden in the same way, it would have had to require all the children being told where the track was so they could travel on it

inkling7
March 10th, 2008, 2:54 pm
This 'problem' was probably covered in the correspondence which ensued between the parents and children of those invited to attend Hogwarts and the keeper of the lists of children who passed the criteria to enable this attendance. Anyway they would most likely only need to know where the platform was at Kings Cross Station and how to get onto it and once on the train would be OK. I would the same would go for Diagon Alley. However as most wizarding families probably knew how to get to both these places then only Muggleborns would need to be told this secret which is only there to protect the wizarding world from ordinary muggles who had no witches or wizards as offspring.

Lucybird
March 10th, 2008, 7:30 pm
This 'problem' was probably covered in the correspondence which ensued between the parents and children of those invited to attend Hogwarts and the keeper of the lists of children who passed the criteria to enable this attendance. Anyway they would most likely only need to know where the platform was at Kings Cross Station and how to get onto it and once on the train would be OK. I would the same would go for Diagon Alley. However as most wizarding families probably knew how to get to both these places then only Muggleborns would need to be told this secret which is only there to protect the wizarding world from ordinary muggles who had no witches or wizards as offspring.

But there's only one secret keeper, every single person would have to be told once by the secret keeper (or a letter written by them) which means the secret can't be passed between families, a letter is possible yes, but it seems the only letter was the acceptance/invitation letter. Diagon alley is a bit different because you have to tap the right place on the wall (presumably not with a wand as Tom Riddle got through before getting his wand, although possibly only if you're magical).

HeRmIoNe_14
March 10th, 2008, 7:44 pm
In the scene at the train station in "the prince's tale", Lily and her family were there. I'm not sure it was mentioned precisely on what side of the barrier they were, but it was kind of obvious, because it said something about Petunia looking around and watching people exchange summer news, parents saying good byes, animals screeching and meowing...the leaky cauldron is one thing, it's on a muggle street, so it is invisible so that no muggle will get inside. But the train itself, it's already inside the platform, once you're there it is okay if you see it, either you're witch/wizard or muggle parent who knows about it anyway. It would be like making Gringotts invisible to muggles, quite unnecessary, as they can't get inside Diagon Alley in the first place. When the train is already moving, it doesn't matter anymore, it's only a train, nothing odd about that

inkling7
March 11th, 2008, 4:52 am
Isn't that more or less just what I said? There would have to be some protection on the place where you go through the wall to get to the platform or some Muggles might see the others doing it and try it for themselves. I'm surprised that this didn't happen with the whole Weasley family as Kings Cross is a very busy station and the railway official saw Ron and Harry collide with the wall in COS when they couldn't get in because of Dobby. However this protection might only be applicable when the train is running and when it is only necessary for those going to Hogwarts and their families etc plus the odd witch or wizard who want to see some friends off. Apart from that the wall may not be accessible to even the wizarding world as it wouldn't be necessary would it.

Gwenhwyfara
March 11th, 2008, 6:06 pm
But there's only one secret keeper, every single person would have to be told once by the secret keeper (or a letter written by them) which means the secret can't be passed between families, a letter is possible yes, but it seems the only letter was the acceptance/invitation letter. Diagon alley is a bit different because you have to tap the right place on the wall (presumably not with a wand as Tom Riddle got through before getting his wand, although possibly only if you're magical).

There wouldn't be only one secret keeper by this point, it would have become diluted, like the secret of Grimauld Place after Dumbledore's death. Everyone he had told then became co-keeper of the (now weaker) secret.

Lucybird
March 11th, 2008, 7:19 pm
There wouldn't be only one secret keeper by this point, it would have become diluted, like the secret of Grimauld Place after Dumbledore's death. Everyone he had told then became co-keeper of the (now weaker) secret.

Hmm I kinda see what you mean. I still think it's a bit complicated though, wouldn't all the previous secret keepers have to die before any of the new generation were able to pass on the secret?

greeneyedfairy
March 24th, 2008, 4:31 am
I don't think that muggles can see the train once it's out of the platform and that would example why Ron and Harry could see it so easily because they are not muggles.

Lorena
March 24th, 2008, 5:02 am
I dont think they can see it, I dont think they can see hogsmeade station either, but what about the tracks???

Forlong
March 25th, 2008, 4:24 am
Well we can see the Hogwart's Express in the movies.

DU-UH.



*sarcasm ends*
:relax:

GrangerHermione
March 25th, 2008, 3:26 pm
Good question. I'm not sure about that...but if Hogwarts and Platform 9 3/4 are hidden, I'm assuming the train also has similar enchantments around it so that it can't be seen by Muggles.

PureBloodGirl
March 25th, 2008, 11:10 pm
Yeah I agree. Just like St. Mungo's and Grymauld(sorry about the misspelling)Place can't me seen by muggles.

MissCapria
March 28th, 2008, 12:45 am
I think it's enchanted so muggles can't see it. And if they do see the tracks, before they really think about them they have one of those things where they remember something important and run off to see too it.

Just IMO.

Gwenhwyfara
March 28th, 2008, 2:02 am
Hmm . . . intriguing idea: There's nothing stopping muggles from seeing it, only they won't be able to remember it. I wonder if that would work? It could be the simplest solution.

inkling7
March 28th, 2008, 2:39 am
Yes that is an intriguing idea and do you know I think this happens to me sometimes so I wonder........

quidditch44
March 28th, 2008, 2:43 am
Yes that is an intriguing idea and do you know I think this happens to me sometimes so I wonder........

hmm me too! I think this is proof that the wizarding world exists!

Gwenhwyfara
March 28th, 2008, 3:26 am
hmm me too! I think this is proof that the wizarding world exists!

Or that the wrackspurt population is on the rise. :rolleyes:

demonthes
March 28th, 2008, 6:59 am
I'm not sure it would necessarily have to be concealed throughout the whole venture from 9 3/4 to Hogwarts. In HP:CoS when Harry and Ron almost fall out of the weasley's car there's no way any muggles would be around there. I would think that the whole path the train follows wouldn't have to be concealed because, like the CoS, I would assume it's all not going through muggle towns. However, it does make sense that, as others have said, there would be extra security.

chica2k8
March 28th, 2008, 12:37 pm
i would think that Muggles wouldnt be able to see the Hogwarts Express....i mean, it should be hidden or disguised in some way like all of the wizarding attractions.

My guess is that Harry and Ron found it so easily because the train is visible to wizards...and even though they still might've been in the air, they were still able to find it.

makeyoubald
March 28th, 2008, 12:48 pm
I imagine that the Hogwarts Express would only need to be concealed in either station where it departs and arrives. I mean, on the one hand there is nothing out of the ordinary about a steam engine wending it's way through the countryside - on the other hand, watching a group of students with all manner of magical pets/apparel/items would probably seem a little concerning to the average Muggle wondering by. However, it could be the case that the train is in fact concealed en route to the castle but because Harry and Ron are wizards, it never appear thus to them.

MoonStarRaven
March 31st, 2008, 5:44 am
I always assumed it would operate in a similar manner to the night bus. "Those muggles don't notice nothing do they?" Or perhaps like the enchanted car the trains conductor can make the train appear and disappear by the push of a button and it jumps from one unused stretch of track to another?

Or else it has its own track that is squeezed in between whatever is on either side. Like Grimauld Place, as the train approaches what ever is on either side it moves out of the way to reveal the track and then gets pulled back to normal after the train has passed? The reason Ron and Harry could see it is because they were lucky enough to find it at the right place and time and were there after able to stay within the trains visible wake. (or something like that, trust me it makes sense in my head even if I can't describe it right. lol)

As for platform 9 3/4, I got the impression from Dolby being able to seal it that it can be opened and closed. In which case maybe the entrance to the platform is only open on the days the train will run. Wasn't there mention somewhere of someone standing near the gateway on the 9 /34 side? if so maybe any muggles that happen in that aren't accompanying a student receive a quick memory charm and are sent on their way.

Adetayo
April 9th, 2008, 1:14 pm
I think it's like a magical concealment, where muggles can't see it. Like the Leaky Cauldron where it's there but the muggles just ignore it really.

TheLastHorcrux
April 9th, 2008, 6:50 pm
I can't imagine muggles being able to see it. It might cause some suspicion if a steam train was seen going through London. It would look very out of place in modern times. While it is never expressly stated in the books, my interpretation always was that the train has some sort of concealment charm on it which makes it invisible to muggles.

PureBloodGirl
April 9th, 2008, 11:45 pm
I can't imagine muggles being able to see it. It might cause some suspicion if a steam train was seen going through London. It would look very out of place in modern times. While it is never expressly stated in the books, my interpretation always was that the train has some sort of concealment charm on it which makes it invisible to muggles.
That's what I thought. It must be like the charm that was put onto Grimauld Place and St. Mungos.

shaylee_ann
April 11th, 2008, 5:41 am
I always kind of thought it could for most of the journey. The platform is obviously hidden, but I think once it gets out of the city it becomes completely visible to Muggles - but I don't think there were many around the area the train took to Hogwarts.

The_Green_Woods
April 13th, 2008, 11:10 am
I don't think it would be visible to muggles. The train would probably have the Hogwarts Express written on it and it would look suspicious.

I think it would have concealing charms on it, so that the muggles would not see the train at all.

dobbysfriend
May 6th, 2008, 3:45 am
I do not think that muggles could see the Hogwart's Express either. We don't just have people in the country that might see it, but there are planes too that might catch a glimpse of it, and a red steam train is bound to attract some attention wherever it is found. If a muggle saw the train and decided that they wanted to ride on it and started checking train schedules, someone might become suspicious. They had to keep the train hidden the entire way for safety reasons.

LoLee
May 7th, 2008, 9:48 pm
I think it would be dangerous for muggles not to be able to see it at all. It passes through villages and stuff so if the train and the track were invisible what would keep muggles from building houses or parking cars right on the track. Also that would have to be one very massive, very powerful disillusionment charm to make a whole train invisible, not to mention an incredibly long track.

I think it's charmed to look like an ordinary train to muggles passing along on an ordinary track. Also they tend to hide things from muggles by placing charms on them to change the appearance or to make them unassuming; not by making them completely invisible.

nymphadora_nat
May 8th, 2008, 4:52 am
i think muggles can still see the hogwarts express... only with the use of enchantments so that muggles can't go babbling around telling other fellows muggles that they have seen a train with all those students...

gracepotter
May 14th, 2008, 9:28 pm
maybe they cant see it.. maybe the ministry of magic put some muggle repel charms there..

nymphadora_nat
May 20th, 2008, 11:08 am
a normal train possibly...

Mundungus Fletc
May 20th, 2008, 11:29 am
a normal train possibly...
It doesn't have to be - there are an awful lot of heritage railways running steam trains in Britain as well as companies running excursions on the mainline (though sadly not out of Kings Cross because the smoke corrodes the overhead wires). If I saw a steam train in the country I might wonder who was running it but I wouldn't be surprised. Even a red engine wouldn't be surprising since that was the colour used by one of the big railway companies and most steam trains now run in their old liveries.

nymphadora_nat
May 23rd, 2008, 3:53 am
haha... it's quite hard to guess whether the hogwarts express can be seen by muggles or not...

LumosPatronus
May 30th, 2008, 11:02 am
Muggles wouldn't see it at the station, and for definate, go on it. The Express travels to a place that no muggles can see, so maybe the train is enchanted like the school is - Muggles are unable to see it. Andthey'd Probably be unable to hear it, a a train isn't the quietest thing in the world. Maybe
1) only Wizards and wizarding creatures (Dementors, house elves .etc. ) can see, hear and go on the train or
2) people who have been on the train before can see itbecause of the enchantments on the train.

Only JKR knows.

Dandinigirl13
May 31st, 2008, 2:10 am
Possibly. But I assume that it appears like an average muggle train to them...

nymphadora_nat
May 31st, 2008, 6:49 pm
why don't we ask jkr about this though? i agree with lumos patronus...

only jkr knows...

Raven_Girly
June 1st, 2008, 10:17 am
I tend to agree that it probably is visible to Muggles but just appears to look like any other normal train. I doubt it would attract too much attention if it did not look different at all. I'm no expert on the geography of Kings Cross Station in relation to London and the surrounding area but I see it has been mentioned above that the train passes through cenral London city itself and probably a few villages and stuff so it would be difficult for this to happen if the train was invisible. The train stops at Hogsmeade Station though so I'm not sure how they would deal with that. The train can't really just suddenly disappear.

Rons_Twin_Sis
June 1st, 2008, 1:38 pm
I expect it looks like an ordinary train to them. In the countryside if a muggle saw the Hogwarts Express as it is, I don't think it would bother them too much - they would just assume it was a tourist thing. But it would attract too much attention in London, so I reckon it looks like a normal train. Also, I expect it takes a route that avoids towns and areas where muggles go a lot, so they probably just wouldn't see it.

Beatifically
June 1st, 2008, 7:53 pm
Correct me if I'm wrong, but weren't Harry's grandparents (Lily's parents) and Petunia near the Hogwarts Express in The Prince's Tale? :hmm:

If they can see it maybe other Muggles that see it outside of the station just think of it as an ordinary train?

inkling7
June 2nd, 2008, 4:10 am
As they were Lily's relatives and therefore guardians I would imagine that somehow these people could gain access to the platform and see the train but that others not connected with witches and wizards in any way can't.

nymphadora_nat
June 5th, 2008, 6:30 am
if muggles can see the train, there is the possibility that they'll do, want to have a ride on it, don't they? if it's just a normal train...

sirius_lee_G
June 8th, 2008, 3:12 am
You know how Hogwarts was hidden? Well maybe something like that is the same with the train. Or maybe if they come too close to the tracks they forget what they came for (Like the spells on the Quidditch worlld cup.

TheBurrowers
June 8th, 2008, 7:25 pm
Yes i do beleive muggles can see the train because aunt petunia goes to see off lily the first time she was going to hogwarts and it would be really difficult to cover this up, and i think in the end that most people would put 2 and 2 together and realise the train was the source of transport

The_Green_Woods
June 8th, 2008, 7:43 pm
Petunia was inside the station, after crossing the barrier, so she could see the train. She would not notice it had she been outside in the country somewhere and the train had whizzed past her; or she would have seen only a normal train instead of a magical one IMO.

But your post brings another thought; how do the muggles manipulate the magic and actually cross the barrier to King's cross. How did the Evans, the Grangers and other muggle parents and families actually cross the magical barrier when they had no magic in them at all?

Lucybird
June 8th, 2008, 10:01 pm
Maybe if your with someone magical then you can get through, like they act as an escort, the other option is that the barrier is only open around the time a train is due, and they just hope muggles who don't know about the magical world don't accidently get in

TheBurrowers
June 8th, 2008, 10:05 pm
Yes this is what i thought as as soon it hits 12 the barrier automatically seals.

The_Green_Woods
June 9th, 2008, 6:43 am
Maybe if your with someone magical then you can get through, like they act as an escort, the other option is that the barrier is only open around the time a train is due, and they just hope muggles who don't know about the magical world don't accidently get in

I think you are right; the muggles could probably get in, because they were with someone magic, who would drag them inside the barrier, which would be enabled for the muggles to enter for that morning only.

rigdoctorbri
June 10th, 2008, 2:58 am
I am in agreement that muggles could get on the platform if they go with a wizard or witch. Now, I have not consulted my copies of SS/PS or CoS, but I seem to recall that Hermione's parents joined her in Diagon Ally, and the entrance to the Leaky Cauldron is plainly visible to those who "know where to go." I am quite certain Muggles could board the train if led aboard by those who "know where to go", too.

xMeaganx
June 10th, 2008, 3:02 am
Probably. I have also wondered this: What would the muggles see if they followed the Hogwarts Express? wouldnt they be a little befuddled when they saw that it went to a broken down old castle?

sllagnire
June 12th, 2008, 11:27 pm
Probably. I have also wondered this: What would the muggles see if they followed the Hogwarts Express? wouldnt they be a little befuddled when they saw that it went to a broken down old castle?

It doesn't actually go straight to the castle though, it really goes into Hogsmeade. I think they might be a bit befuddled by Hogsmeade, though. I mean, it's an all wizarding villiage. Though I bet Hogsmeade has some anti-Muggle spells like the ones around the World Cup stadium. How they suddenly remember something they have to do whenever they get to close. That should work. They wouldn't be able to follow the train all the way then.

Spirit
June 14th, 2008, 9:02 am
I think that it is definitely visible to Muggles when it is at a halt. We know that the parents of Muggle-borns often go onto the platform, and Lily's parents were described as "drinking in the scene" when they were with her when she was about to board the train. I'm thinking that they probably saw the train. As for once it gets moving and it's out in the open, I think that it's probably invisible, along with the tracks it takes to Hogsmeade. It's so easy for Wizards to make things invisible to Muggles; I don't see why they wouldn't take this extra precaution despite the fact that there are many trains in England.

inkling7
June 14th, 2008, 10:07 am
Well you certainly wouldn't want any curious muggles following the express would you and since there aren't that many steam trains running these days you might get a muggle trainspotter trying to follow to see where it went. So enchantments of some sort would be really necessary.

arithmancer
June 14th, 2008, 5:01 pm
The only reason I can see the hogwarts express being hidden from muggles is that the track leads up to hogsmead, and even though they can't go there regardless, it would just be an extra security precaution. That's the only reason I can think of though, because it more or less is just a normal train, isn't it?

Isn't it an old-fashioned steam-type train? I'd say that is a reason to conceal it from Muggles. My guess would be that it is not strictly invisible, but just hard to notice. :)

Mundungus Fletc
June 14th, 2008, 5:25 pm
Isn't it an old-fashioned steam-type train? I'd say that is a reason to conceal it from Muggles. My guess would be that it is not strictly invisible, but just hard to notice. :)
It's probably not that great a problem - there are heritage railways (http://www.heritagerailways.com/ukmap.html) all over Britian. The only time I see a problem is returning after Christmas when most of them are closed.

inkling7
June 14th, 2008, 5:35 pm
Did you read my post #125? I talked about this possible problem since I don't think it may only relate to the times you mentioned. Trainspotters could have become a problem any time if they were really fanatical about where and to where trains were going.

Mundungus Fletc
June 14th, 2008, 5:55 pm
Did you read my post #125? I talked about this possible problem since I don't think it may only relate to the times you mentioned. Trainspotters could have become a problem any time if they were really fanatical about where and to where trains were going.
Obviously there would be charms to distract trainspotters :p and unless the line is running alongside a road (not that common) it would be difficult to catch up with the train

DeathlyH
June 14th, 2008, 6:01 pm
Obviously there would be charms to distract trainspotters :p and unless the line is running alongside a road (not that common) it would be difficult to catch up with the trainI think there are a few instances where the train is going through all sorts of fields and countrysides. Most likely not very many busy roads there, so much less opportunity to be seen.

padfootrules
June 14th, 2008, 8:39 pm
I think we can.... we are just not looking for it in the right places :lol:

inkling7
June 15th, 2008, 5:50 am
If they saw the train they could follow the tracks. We used to do that in the country when I was a child. We were curious as to where the trains were going so wandered along the tracks when the trains weren't running. Curious children or avid train spotters just might want to do that. Train spotters in particular like to know where trains are from and where they are going to etc and if they could find no official record of the Hogwart's Express then they might just want to follow the tracks to find out more about it. This is why I think some enchantments are necessary to prevent the risk of nosy train spotters finding out something.

nymphadora_nat
June 15th, 2008, 5:24 pm
If ever they'll be able to follow the train, perhaps a blast of memory spell would do as a punishment for Nosy ones.

inkling7
June 15th, 2008, 5:33 pm
Something like that would have to be essential for the safety of the wizarding world and Hogwarts. Ah but MI5 might be involved........:lol:

chmpgnrose
June 15th, 2008, 8:28 pm
I don't think the train is invisible to muggles.

AliceLongbottom
June 15th, 2008, 8:37 pm
Well, they might have put a spell on the outside of the train, to make it look like an old steam engine. They might have also put spells around the tracks like they did around the castle to make them look like old train tracks that have been long since out of use, or something to that effect.

Lorraine10
June 24th, 2008, 3:55 pm
I think once the train leaves the station it's surrounded by spells and enchantments so that muggles cannot see it. Like the Quidditch World Cup area was protected by spells and what not to make sure that the muggles didn't get into that area. As far as Ron and Harry finding the train, I think they found it because they are wizards. This is a really good question. Haha. I really don't know what Ron and Harry found the train. If muggles can't see the train once it leaves the station because it's surrounded by spells, then why could Harry and Ron find it? Shouldn't they have not found it? But Ron and Harry did find the train, so that could mean that muggles could find it after it leaves the station.

goldensphinx
July 10th, 2008, 10:49 am
I think that it is invisible to Muggles and because Ron and Harry know what it is and what is looks like not to mention the fact that they are wizards made it easier for them to find it.

L1keAstaRRxx
August 1st, 2008, 4:33 am
Probably .

lil_snuffles
August 1st, 2008, 6:12 am
I would probably say yes because there are students that are half-blood and, of course, their parents, one of them being a muggle, would like to see their child off. So they probably made it to where muggles are able to see the Hogwarts Express.

SquiggyDralion
August 1st, 2008, 9:48 am
As Hermione explains in GoF, if a muggle comes across the castle all they see is a crumbling ruin with signs warning that it is condemned. It also is unplotable. Aside from that, I'm sure that it has every other muggle repelling spell known to wizardkind.

inkling7
August 1st, 2008, 12:20 pm
I think the parents of muggleborns and their families - eg Guardians - could see the Express due to an exemption placed on them by the Hogwarts officials. I even think that if the Dursley's had decided to see Harry off they could have had access as his guardians. However no other non-connected muggles could have this privilege.

goonie102
August 7th, 2008, 5:35 am
I Don't Think It Can Because In The First Book/Movie Harry Asked A Man At Kings Cross If He Knew Where Platform Nine And Three Quaters Was And He Said Are You Joking Son Which Means That They Probaly Can't See It

LordV
August 7th, 2008, 7:25 pm
i dont know, i also wonder if muggles can see when wizarss go through the barrior?

lily_potter73
August 7th, 2008, 7:56 pm
I think it's hidden like Hogwart its self, because what if muggles try to follow it by Helicopters, it's a ridiculous idea, but it might happen, it will lead them to nothing other than Hogsmead. The reason why Harry and Ron were able to see it is I think that they're wizards.

goonie102
August 7th, 2008, 8:08 pm
i dont know, i also wonder if muggles can see when wizarss go through the barrior?

You Have Got A Point There

Sophietje
August 8th, 2008, 8:55 pm
Weren't the Dursley's at the station in one of the books? When the kids leave Hogwarts for the summer?

Wizard_waker
August 10th, 2008, 9:58 pm
Weren't the Dursley's at the station in one of the books? When the kids leave Hogwarts for the summer?

I was always under the impression that they were simply waiting IN King's Cross and not on Platform 9 3/4. They knew that was where he had to go in September to take the train, so they must've figured that was where to get him.

We've got to remember that they (meaning wizards and witches) took a barrier that got them onto the Platform. It wasn't like the Leaky Cauldron that was in the middle of a muggle area that only wizards could see.

Adreniline
August 12th, 2008, 8:25 am
I'm sure they could see it to an extent, but when it gets closer to Hogwarts, some sort of cloak is enacted and the train tracks stop perhaps?

Sophietje
August 13th, 2008, 1:42 pm
I was always under the impression that they were simply waiting IN King's Cross and not on Platform 9 3/4. They knew that was where he had to go in September to take the train, so they must've figured that was where to get him.

We've got to remember that they (meaning wizards and witches) took a barrier that got them onto the Platform. It wasn't like the Leaky Cauldron that was in the middle of a muggle area that only wizards could see.

Ah, I see. Thanks!!

Amortentia11
August 14th, 2008, 12:20 am
i would think that the train would be disguised to muggles as a regular train... or perhaps it's invisible to them. either one would make sense, seeing as trying to ignore a scarlet train with the words Hogwarts on it, would be quite hard. :)

MrSleepyHead
August 14th, 2008, 2:33 am
I'm sure they could see it to an extent, but when it gets closer to Hogwarts, some sort of cloak is enacted and the train tracks stop perhaps?
I think this would lead to awkward questions and investigations by the Muggles. If they could see a train and its rails, yet they mysteriously disappear once they reach a certain point, the Ministry of Magic would be breaching its own decrees. Even if the entire train was visible to Muggles, I believe it would still violate the Statute of Secrecy. The Muggles would have no record of that train, which would, again, lead to an inquiry. Thus, I think, unless the Hogwarts Express violates the Ministry of Magic's laws, Muggles (unless linked to the magical world, like Hermione's parents) cannot see the train.

wingardium713
August 14th, 2008, 3:43 am
I think this would lead to awkward questions and investigations by the Muggles. If they could see a train and its rails, yet they mysteriously disappear once they reach a certain point, the Ministry of Magic would be breaching its own decrees.

They could make the train disappear in a tunnel. People would see it going in one side but wouldn't realize that it didn't come out the other.

The Muggles would have no record of that train, which would, again, lead to an inquiry.

That reminds me. There are a number of hobbiests in the UK that like spotting trains (trainspotting). They hang out at train stations and major crossings to spot trains. They are kind of like bird watchers. Sooner or later, one of them would end up monitoring the Hogwarts track and spot it if it was visible. I'm sure such an interesting engine/cars would cause a bit of excitement within that community.


Thus, I think, unless the Hogwarts Express violates the Ministry of Magic's laws, Muggles (unless linked to the magical world, like Hermione's parents) cannot see the train.

I think you are right. Either the train is invisible from the time it leaves the station (and it would be pretty difficult to leave the station without being spotted if it were not) or there is some other sort of muggle defense. Or maybe it just looks like a rusty old coal train of no importance.

dobbysfriend
August 28th, 2008, 12:10 am
The Hogwarts Express leaves from a platform which can only be seen by wizards or witches. It is under the same charm so that it cam not be seen either. It must be charmed in a similar way as the bus, because they do not seem to run into any cars at any railroad crossings.

bellatrix93
September 4th, 2008, 11:16 am
I think it's hidden and invisible to muggles like Hogwarts. I agree with dobbysfriend

muggleborn168
September 24th, 2008, 12:10 am
I disagree, I think the platform is for only wizards to see BUT when the train leaves the station, it can be seen by muggles. Muggles won't suspect anything. I mean, it's just a train...nothing could make them suspect that there are wizards in that train. I think the platform is secret so no one can see the huge HOGWARTS EXPRESS sign. lol

vampiricduck
September 24th, 2008, 3:35 am
Probably. But what's to distinguish it, realistically? Although, having said that, if it only runs two days a year it wouldn't even be worth hiding. If it runs during the holidays, people might just assume it's an extra train chartered on for the period.

I just don't think it's special enough to merit being kept hidden. It is, after all, just a train, and that's likely why a train, as opposed to brooms or whatever, is used. Carries everyone and everything, but in a muggle way.

TheHallows
September 29th, 2008, 10:40 pm
To answer your first question I think yes, muggles can see the train from a certain point once it has left the station to a certain point near Hogwarts. I mean, to them it would just look like a normal steam train, nothing like a train to a school of Witchcraft and Wizardry (which most would think was balderdash, anyway).

And to answer your second question, I am guessing that Ron and Harry can see the track of the Hogwarts Express (being wizard, and all), so they just needed to follow that out of King's Cross and across the countryside until they found it.

eaglestreasure
September 29th, 2008, 11:01 pm
I always wondered if the Hogwarts Express was concealed from muggles once it was out of the station. And how were Ron and Harry able to find the train while in the flying car so easily?

well, firstly I think we can all agree that generally no Muggles can get onto the station (Platform 9 & 3/4).:agree: *nodds of heads in agreement*

Now on to the questions. Like many others here, I suspect that Muggles could probably SEE the Hogwarts express, but there's probably at least some kind of general charm on it that would stop them from seeing that it was magical. Not that there would be anything magical on the outside, but what if, for example, a chocolate frog flew out the window and hopped along on the top of the train?

About the flying car: good question. I'm sure it said in CoS that it was fairly cloudy up where they were. But, it also says that Harry and Ron would have to take the car down every once in a while to make sure they were going in the right direction. The noise probably helped as well, or so I'd imagine.:hmm:

TerrierMom
September 30th, 2008, 1:27 am
I don't think most Muggles can see the Hogwarts Express. No more than they can see the Knight Bus or the Ministry Of Magic cars that Mr. Weasley borrowed a couple times. Or get to Platform 9 3/4. The Muggle parents of Muggleborn young witches and wizars most definitely CAN see the train, though. And get onto Platform 9 3/4 It was in DH, in the Prince's Tale. Lily and Petunia's parents were at Platform 9 3/4 to see Lily off, looking around in wonder at all the sights. They weren't just at King's Cross, they were at Platform 9 3/4. As for the Flying Ford Anglia, its Invisibility Booster was faulty, which is why Harry and Ron were seen. Ron himself says that the booster was faulty in COS.

EnglishRose
September 30th, 2008, 2:18 am
And, after all, the train ends at Hogsmeade, not Hogwarts, and muggles can probably see Hogsmeade, though not the Wizard-only shops.

Eh. This is confusing, really.

tuer3ssuci0
September 30th, 2008, 3:18 pm
I personally don't remember if the Hogwarts Express is magically enchanted or not, but I think it must be. The entrance to Platform 9 3/4 is definitely a portal. I doubt the platform is right under King's Cross. And there can't be that many railroads going from England to Scotland that muggles wouldn't notice a scarlet train and wonder where it came from. This leads me to believe that the train, and the track itself, are invisible or have muggle repelling charms. So while muggles may be able to see the train, they would never get the chance to.

Schlubalybub
September 30th, 2008, 3:25 pm
Perhaps the Hogwarts Express uses a line available only to magic, and so muggles wouldn't see it because it would be enchanted so that they can't see it. Although this wouldn't count always because I assume that muggleborns go to the platform for the first time with their parents, so then the muggle parents would be able to see the train that their child or children are boarding

Tenshi
October 10th, 2008, 1:32 am
And, after all, the train ends at Hogsmeade, not Hogwarts, and muggles can probably see Hogsmeade, though not the Wizard-only shops.

Eh. This is confusing, really.
Whole Hogsmeade is wizard-only and platform too, and no muggle repelling or hiding charm for the town is mentioned.

I don't think most Muggles can see the Hogwarts Express. No more than they can see the Knight Bus...
Well actually they would be able to see the bus, but they don't pay attention. I think it's the same with the train.

To answer your first question I think yes, muggles can see the train from a certain point once it has left the station to a certain point near Hogwarts. I mean, to them it would just look like a normal steam train, nothing like a train to a school of Witchcraft and Wizardry (which most would think was balderdash, anyway).
Still even a "normal steam train" would cause a sensation in this times. There are hardly any left.

Probably. But what's to distinguish it, realistically? Although, having said that, if it only runs two days a year it wouldn't even be worth hiding. If it runs during the holidays, people might just assume it's an extra train chartered on for the period.

I just don't think it's special enough to merit being kept hidden. It is, after all, just a train, and that's likely why a train, as opposed to brooms or whatever, is used. Carries everyone and everything, but in a muggle way.
I can see how you can distinguish the train, but not the whole tracks. I don't think there is a need to hide the tracks anyway as they are part of the muggle world and there are trains going to Scotland. Maybe they use muggle tracks anyway.

Luna_Lovegood12
October 10th, 2008, 3:04 am
It is probably only seen by magical people, but muggles can probably see it if they are really looking for it :D

vampiricduck
October 10th, 2008, 4:19 am
Hang on, hold the phone. What if it's like the Knight Bus? As in, the muggles never see it because they don't look hard enough, even though it is there for them to see as such. It would also explain why the train could run on the tracks that the muggles also use- but it doesn't go as fast and isn't as jerky as the Knight Bus either. Personally, I'm still willing to go along with, for the most part, the fact that muggles can see both train and tracks, but there's nothing weird about a train so it's acceptable.

It's also mostly muggle behaviour that goes on in there anyway, so I suppose it's low risk. After all, who stops a train in motion?! Even if someone did get on, they're not likely to get away without the ministry arriving to do a quick modification of memory.

TheShley
October 17th, 2008, 6:20 pm
I would think that they could see the Hogwarts Express. I mean, if you just saw it from the outside there would be nothnig suspicious about it. Just looks like a normal train.

Actually, it doesnt look like a normal train. There were not steam trains in the 90's. And I think that there would be a muggle replelling charn om it.

MrSleepyHead
October 17th, 2008, 6:32 pm
I can see how you can distinguish the train, but not the whole tracks. I don't think there is a need to hide the tracks anyway as they are part of the muggle world and there are trains going to Scotland. Maybe they use muggle tracks anyway.
I agree that the tracks could be visible, since they could have been old Muggle tracks that are no longer in use (much like how St. Mungo's is in a broken down department store). However, I would think the train would be invisible, since King's Cross would likely think those tracks unusable for many years, so if a train was spotted on them it would lead to questions.

I do not think the Hogwarts Express would use tracks that Muggle trains currently use, since I doubt any Muggle train passes through Hogsmeade (unless Hogsmeade is invisible/seen as an old ghost town, like Hogwarts is seen as an old relic, and the train tracks simply pass through; however, I doubt this since I think it would have been commented that a Muggle train passed through Hogsmeade).
Personally, I'm still willing to go along with, for the most part, the fact that muggles can see both train and tracks, but there's nothing weird about a train so it's acceptable.
I cannot agree. As others have said, a steam train would be highly unusual if seen by anyone in the UK. Also, since King's Cross has no record of the Hogwarts Express, Muggles who watch trains would wonder why an undocumented, unknown steam train is leaving King's Cross. It is also likely that Muggles cannot see Hogsmeade (or else are repelled from it), so a train disappearing would cause some inquiries.

JJFinch
October 17th, 2008, 6:34 pm
Actually, it doesnt look like a normal train. There were not steam trains in the 90's. And I think that there would be a muggle replelling charn om it.

Operational steam trains still exist, actually, if only for show. But I think that any muggles who could get onto Platform 9 3/4 would be able to see it (like muggleborn's parents - we definitely see Hermione's on there at some point). I don't think there would be any need for a muggle repelling charm on it, because no unwanted muggles would be able to get onto the platform anyway.

eaglestreasure
October 17th, 2008, 7:39 pm
Operational steam trains still exist, actually, if only for show. But I think that any muggles who could get onto Platform 9 3/4 would be able to see it (like muggleborn's parents - we definitely see Hermione's on there at some point). I don't think there would be any need for a muggle repelling charm on it, because no unwanted muggles would be able to get onto the platform anyway.

Well, yes. So I don't think it needs a repelling charm on it if no muggles can get onto the station to see it leave or enter.

It would probably just look like any normal train to them. It would most likely be charmed that way.

And, like posted above, we're pretty sure that Hermione's parents have been on to the station, because Hermione's a witch. So they probably saw the train too:)

JJFinch
October 17th, 2008, 8:29 pm
Yes, that's what I mean. :) But it is a normal train - it's just a steam train - so I don't think it would have to be charmed in any way. Something would only have to be charmed if it could otherwise risk breaching the Statute of Secrecy, and seeing as anyone on the platform already knows about the magical world and Hogwarts, there is no need to disguise it. Even if other muggles could see it, I still don't see why it would have to be disguised, except for the fact that it would not be on any of the timetables and is advertising Hogwarts - I mean, why would the sight of a steam train lead you to believe that a magical world exists? So I don't think there are any charms on it. :)

EDIT: Ohhhh, I've just realised - you're talking about outside the station, i.e. en route to Hogwarts. Mmm...I suppose, yes, it might have some muggle-repelling charms on it. It couldn't stay visible, because muggle train-spotters would try to find out about it. Maybe it's exactly like the Knight Bus? I mean that uses muggle roads but doesn't cause any problems, and is never seen or heard, so perhaps the train is like that?

EDIT2: I really should read previous posts before posting, because I've just realised that everything I've said has already been said. :rolleyes:

vampiricduck
October 18th, 2008, 4:41 am
I cannot agree. As others have said, a steam train would be highly unusual if seen by anyone in the UK. Also, since King's Cross has no record of the Hogwarts Express, Muggles who watch trains would wonder why an undocumented, unknown steam train is leaving King's Cross. It is also likely that Muggles cannot see Hogsmeade (or else are repelled from it), so a train disappearing would cause some inquiries.

You have me converted! I now figure that this was just something JK Rowling did not think through, so perhaps it counts as an inconsistency. Surely if there was some kind of spell we would have been told, in some small way?

But again, with the train running twice a year, maybe it would be seen, but just be good for ghost stories in the muggle world, which would be a fun side story! :D

Harry852
October 18th, 2008, 9:43 pm
I think they can, they just wouldn't think anything of it, I see trains all the time.:tu:

mrfutterman
October 18th, 2008, 10:41 pm
A steam train is noticeable so I would say - no; muggles can't see it.

To me, it's one of the irritations of Potterworld. Would parents really put a little 11 year old, going off from home for months, on a train journey which takes many hours (it's dark when they get to Hogsmeade, in September) with only sweets and other rubbish to eat? Especially as we know that there are other, faster and more convenient means of magical transport?

Better not to think about it, really.

MasterOfDeath
October 19th, 2008, 12:14 am
A steam train is noticeable so I would say - no; muggles can't see it.

To me, it's one of the irritations of Potterworld. Would parents really put a little 11 year old, going off from home for months, on a train journey which takes many hours (it's dark when they get to Hogsmeade, in September) with only sweets and other rubbish to eat? Especially as we know that there are other, faster and more convenient means of magical transport?

Better not to think about it, really.

I think they do have proper meals served on the train too, if I'm not mistaken. We never read about the entire train ride in any of the books....

The train is the best way to organize the transportation of hundreds of students to school. Floo powdering all of those kids at once would be a hassle, and side along apparition would be messy as well.

I think it's just an old magical tradition to use the train. It gives students a chance to meet and bond before they get to school.

To answer the thread's question, no I do not think muggles could see the Hogwarts express. Ancient spells are probably in place to disillusion any muggle who looks.

mrfutterman
October 20th, 2008, 9:18 pm
I think they do have proper meals served on the train too, if I'm not mistaken. We never read about the entire train ride in any of the books....

I can't recall proper meals being mentioned.


The train is the best way to organize the transportation of hundreds of students to school. Floo powdering all of those kids at once would be a hassle, and side along apparition would be messy as well.

I don't buy it. The school isn't that big, judging from the meagre number of teachers (we've discussed this many times). Apparition to Hogsmeade would be straightforward: one year group arriving in an hour's slot and being transported up to the castle, with special arrangements for large families.


I think it's just an old magical tradition to use the train. It gives students a chance to meet and bond before they get to school.

It also gives them the chance to bully and be bullied!

eaglestreasure
October 20th, 2008, 10:56 pm
I think they do have proper meals served on the train too, if I'm not mistaken. We never read about the entire train ride in any of the books....

I'm not sure if that's canon, but I agree that this is very probable:agree:
Seeing the nice trolley Witch who does candy, we might assume she serves some sort of meal or else a few light snacks. We know that they board the train around 11, and if they arrive at Hogwarts after sundown, then it makes sense to me.
Ron's mum might have just known that Ron would get hungry in the meantime and packed him a sandwich. Sounds plausible:tu:

The train is the best way to organize the transportation of hundreds of students to school. Floo powdering all of those kids at once would be a hassle, and side along apparition would be messy as well.
I also agree here; can you imagine Snape trying to handle ten or fifteen children (or 7th years, for that matter,) at once by flooing, getting them to the proper meeting place, etc.?:lol: Apparition doesn't sound even remotely efficient either. Assuming there are maybe 12 or so first years per house, it would be horribly difficult for the adult to try to take them all at once, and it would be painful and tiring for them to do them one, or even two, at a time.

I think it's just an old magical tradition to use the train. It gives students a chance to meet and bond before they get to school.
Yeah, pretty much:)
That, and who DOESN'T want to ride a magical train across a country?:tu::p

To answer the thread's question, no I do not think muggles could see the Hogwarts express. Ancient spells are probably in place to disillusion any muggle who looks.

I'm sure that's pretty much the point. I suspect that if Muggles saw the train at all, it would just look like any old train the them, leaving them non-suspicious about the people on it. However, at the same time, I'm sure that the Ministry and Hogwarts Board of Executives or whoever were very careful to just have the train do two things. First, they probably made sure that the train route was particularly out of the way of anything near Muggles. Next, they probably put a repelling charm on it, just for good measure (or just to be paranoid, if it was Fudge's idea:lol:):relax::tu::tu::tu:

mrfutterman
October 20th, 2008, 11:14 pm
Apparition doesn't sound even remotely efficient either.

What could be less efficient than a completely unnecessary nine hour train journey! And there is, in addition, getting to King's Cross for families who live outside London, which actually, most people do.


Assuming there are maybe 12 or so first years per house, it would be horribly difficult for the adult to try to take them all at once, and it would be painful and tiring for them to do them one, or even two, at a time.

Logically, their parents could take them by side-along apparition, to Hogsmeade and then they could be conveyed by carriage up to Hogwarts. Teachers don't pick kids up and take them to school hundreds of miles away: why would they?

That, and who DOESN'T want to ride a magical train across a country?:tu::p

But how is it magical? Even British railways can manage to get customers from King's Cross to the Highlands in less time than this "magical" train (7 - 8 hours actually).

eaglestreasure
October 20th, 2008, 11:23 pm
What could be less efficient than a completely unnecessary nine hour train journey! And there is, in addition, getting to King's Cross for families who live outside London, which actually, most people do.
Well, it's just a fun tradition:) I would imagine most of the students enjoy it? Besides, it's much more organized that way, because you CAN'T be late for the train. If tons of students just appeared whenever, Hogwarts would be a wreck. Those families (who don't live near London) could just floo to the station as well. The key reason is organization, and the key means of that is having everyone leave and arrive all at once. That's why just flooing the whole way would defeat the purpose; there would be no way anyone would be "late".

Logically, their parents could take them by side-along apparition, to Hogsmeade and then they could be conveyed by carriage up to Hogwarts. Teachers don't pick kids up and take them to school hundreds of miles away: why would they?
What about Hermione's parents? That wouldn't work for Muggleborns. And the Ministry would have to go through a lot of hassle to set up floo locations and make sure they're working. Besides, that would just be another great way to get a child lost, wouldn't it?:hmm:

But how is it magical? Even British railways can manage to get customers from King's Cross to the Highlands in less time than this "magical" train (7 - 8 hours actually).
I meant that figuratively, 'magical' as in fun, or traditional.:)

mrfutterman
October 20th, 2008, 11:53 pm
Not many people enjoy ten hour train journeys. And people are late for trains all the time. If they can floo to King's Cross, they should be able to floo to Hogsmeade.

Whatever....

I think we had better move on.

Harry852
October 26th, 2008, 6:09 am
No, I realy don't think they can, now! Platform 9 3/4 is hidden. Unless you are a wizard, and run full blast in to the wall.:lol:

Tenshi
October 26th, 2008, 11:17 am
No, I realy don't think they can, now! Platform 9 3/4 is hidden. Unless you are a wizard, and run full blast in to the wall.:lol:
Technically, that's not true. Lily's parents were described to be on the platform. So Muggles seeing the Express is not impossible.

TerrierMom
October 26th, 2008, 7:03 pm
I don't think it's that the Hogwarts Express only offers sweets on the trolley. It's just that sweets are likely what the kids actually buy! I've traveled in England and Scotland by train; they offered sandwiches on the trains. Remember, in PS/SS, when Harry sees the food trolley, he wants as many Mars bars as he can carry. But the trolley doesn't have Mars bars, it has Pumpkin Pasties, Cauldron Cakes, Bertie Bott's etc, AND a number of other strange things Harry had never seen in his life Perhaps these strange other things include foods that are not sweets

As for the Hogwarts Express taking longer than modern Muggle trains to reach Scotland,perhaps it has something to do with it being a steam train. I am not sure they can travel faster than diesel or electric trains. Certainly they can't travel as fast as the high-speed trains in Europe and Japan. If the Hogwarts Express travels slower, it will take longer to reach Scotland. I don't know enough about trains to be sure, though. But if the Hogwarts Express can travel at a similar speed to Muggle trains then the movies may have it all wrong depicting the train arriving after dark. I don't recall if the books specify if it's dark when the train arrives. It shouldn't be dark at 7 or 8 in the evening on Sept. 1. I was in Scotland in Mid may, in the exact area Hogwarts is supposed to be located. It didn't get fully dark until closer to midnight. Sept 1. IS farther out from June 21 (longest day of the year) than mid-May,but not so much so that it would be pitch black at 7:30 PM. Here's a list of Sunrise and Sunset times for Aberdeen, in Scotland. http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/astronomy.html?n=305&month=9&year=2008&obj=sun&afl=-11&day=1
The sun doesn't even set until around 8pm, it would not be pitch dark until closer to 9 PM. Then again, there is still more of Scotland north of Aberdeen. If Hogwarts is located in the very tip of Northern Scotland, it would be dark earlier.

dobbysfriend
November 25th, 2008, 4:52 am
Technically, that's not true. Lily's parents were described to be on the platform. So Muggles seeing the Express is not impossible.

Muggles can't see Diagon Alley either, unless a wizard aids them. Mr and Mrs. Granger went to Diagon Alley with their daughter. They probably saw her off at Platform 9 3/4 too. So muggles can see it if they really want to.

Ginny_Spinner
November 25th, 2008, 11:26 am
As for the Hogwarts Express taking longer than modern Muggle trains to reach Scotland,perhaps it has something to do with it being a steam train. I am not sure they can travel faster than diesel or electric trains. Certainly they can't travel as fast as the high-speed trains in Europe and Japan. If the Hogwarts Express travels slower, it will take longer to reach Scotland.

I have always had a theory that the Hogwarts Express takes a different amount of time every year to reach Hogwarts.
If you think about it;
It is always the day after they reach Hogwarts that they start lessons. And they always have the weekends off.
This would mean that every year the Hogwarts Express reaches the castle on a Sunday.

But i also just thought while writing this thread that it may arrive on any weekday, and they just do whatever day there are left in that week eg. arrive on Tuesday and do classes on Wed/Thurs/Fri than have Sat/Sun off.

Tenshi
November 25th, 2008, 12:17 pm
Muggles can't see Diagon Alley either, unless a wizard aids them. Mr and Mrs. Granger went to Diagon Alley with their daughter. They probably saw her off at Platform 9 3/4 too. So muggles can see it if they really want to.
no idea if this was meant to be a correction, but I agree with you and my post too. :lol:

Lucybird
November 25th, 2008, 2:18 pm
I have always had a theory that the Hogwarts Express takes a different amount of time every year to reach Hogwarts.
If you think about it;
It is always the day after they reach Hogwarts that they start lessons. And they always have the weekends off.
This would mean that every year the Hogwarts Express reaches the castle on a Sunday.

But i also just thought while writing this thread that it may arrive on any weekday, and they just do whatever day there are left in that week eg. arrive on Tuesday and do classes on Wed/Thurs/Fri than have Sat/Sun off.

The Hogwarts express always sets off from the King's Cross on the first of September, so yes sometimes they would have arrived on a weekday. In OOTP they arrive on a Sunday I know because Ron complains about how bad their Monday is for lessons the next day

Ginny_Spinner
November 26th, 2008, 3:41 am
The Hogwarts express always sets off from the King's Cross on the first of December...

That's the 1st of September, not December...sorry :D

Lucybird
November 26th, 2008, 4:43 pm
That's the 1st of September, not December...sorry :D

:lol: yes oops, I was sure I'd typed September...maybe I was thinking of Christmas

JamesxProngs
August 11th, 2009, 4:48 am
It is possible that Muggles can see the Hogwarts express, there a many boarding schools in England. So the occasional muggle might just think that it was just another boarding school that was really expensive. There might be a point were there are no more muggles.

lilamedusa
August 11th, 2009, 11:17 am
Don't know i this had been said, though I'm sure it has, but couldn't it work just like the Knight bus?

ronweasleysgrl
August 15th, 2009, 1:55 am
if muggles CAN see it, it probably looks like just a regular train to them.

amanduhrae
August 15th, 2009, 3:06 am
But i also just thought while writing this thread that it may arrive on any weekday, and they just do whatever day there are left in that week eg. arrive on Tuesday and do classes on Wed/Thurs/Fri than have Sat/Sun off.

I wonder if they ever arrive on a Friday... then they'd get there, have two days off, and then start lessons. =P

ActingDude17
August 15th, 2009, 3:57 am
It is possible that Muggles can see the Hogwarts express, there a many boarding schools in England. So the occasional muggle might just think that it was just another boarding school that was really expensive. There might be a point were there are no more muggles.

Really? Ever heard of a Muggle school with a name like "Hogwarts"?

Rich
August 15th, 2009, 4:20 am
I don't think Muggles can see the Hogwarts Express. They can't see platform 9 and 3/4, and I don't think they can see the train either. I think Harry and Ron found the Express so easily because...

1) They knew the general way that the train took to get to Hogwarts
2) They are wizards; they can see Platform 9 and 3/4 and can see the Hogwarts Express.

snapes_witch
August 15th, 2009, 4:55 am
I wonder if they ever arrive on a Friday... then they'd get there, have two days off, and then start lessons. =P

JKR doesn't pay any attention to a real calendar; the 1st of September is always on a Monday.

canismajoris
August 15th, 2009, 4:58 am
If Muggles couldn't see the Hogwarts Express there would be no reason whatsoever to disguise it as a train.