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The Hogwarts Express is the train, a scarlet steam locomotive, that takes students to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. It leaves from Platform 9 and 3/4 in King's Cross Station, London, at the beginning of every school year and after holidays and arrives at Hogsmeade Station near Hogwarts, where first-years are met by gamekeeper Hagrid.

On the Hogwarts Express, there are several passenger compartments for all the students. There is also a witch with a food cart who comes around selling such culinary delights as chocolate frogs and pumpkin juice for hungry students.

The Hogwarts Express is where Harry made his first friends on his way to Hogwarts for the first time: Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, and Neville Longbottom, among others. It's also where he first stood up against the sniveling twit Draco Malfoy. The Hogwarts Express has been the scene of other important happenings in the students' lives, such as Harry's first encounter with a Dementor and some of Ron's heated exchanges with Malfoy and his crew.

In the movie Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, the part of Hogwarts Express is played by Engine # 5972 Olton Hall. Built in 1937 for the Great Western Railway company in UK, it remained in service until 1963. It is now owned by Procor, a railcar and engine leasing company.

I go through King's Cross station almost every day, and the scenes in the movie were actually filmed between platforms 4 and 5, since the real platforms 9 and 10 only serve regional trains, and are actually quite dull. But around the launch of the movie Warner Brothers put up signs all around platform 9 saying things like First Year Students Queue Here and No Broomstick Flying on the Platform and Owls Must Be Caged. It was cool and funny when they first did it, but it rapidly got out of hand when they plastered every available surface with it.

Incidentally, the description in the book is actually platforms 9 and 10 at Euston Station; JK Rowling confused the two, but was in Manchester while writing that part of the book, and couldn't check. That's why the book talks about walking into the barrier between the platforms, but the movie has them walking into a pillar.

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