Arriving soon at Platform 9 3/4

Good evening,

As reported last year, almost exactly to the day, www.railwaytouring.net announced that 5972 Olton Hall was to run a special in June before being “taken to the Warner Bros Museum for the rest of its days”. The tour sold out so quickly that they ran a second tour in July.

London Hyde Park - 5972 Olton Hall Hogwarts Express

Today it was announced that this March, Harry Potter World in Watford will be unveiling a 20,000ft² expansion, including the original Hogwarts Express steam engine and a recreation of Platform 9 ¾. The new, permanent section will offer a glimpse into how some of the films’ most iconic scenes were created, as well as give you the chance to climb aboard the train’s carriage and to pose with a luggage trolley as it disappears through the platform wall.

Officially opening on Thursday 19th March, the new, must-see section has been redesigned and will be built by many of the crew members who worked on the most successful film series of all time. Every inch of the platform’s glass roof, yellow brick walls and luggage racks, designed by Production Designer Stuart Craig, will be painstakingly reassembled by a team led by Construction Manager Paul Hayes and dressed by Set Decorator Rosie Goodwin. Special Effects Supervisor John Richardson will rig the locomotive with special effects steam.

Olton Hall photographed at London Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland 2011

Olton Hall photographed at London Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland 2011

You’ll be able to:

  • Pose with a luggage trolley on Platform 9 ¾ as it disappears through the station’s yellow brick wall and walk along the Hogwarts Express’ adjoining carriage
  • Explore the interior carriage set that was used during filming (complete with ‘windows’ that demonstrate the process used to create iconic train scenes from the films such as the escape of Harry’s first Chocolate Frog and the Dementor attack)
  • See a selection of prop luggage and find out which character owned which items by turning an interactive dial (characters include Hermione Granger, Draco Malfoy, Luna Lovegood and more)
  • Browse a wide range of goodies inspired by the Harry Potter films and, specifically, the Hogwarts Express in a train-themed souvenir shop which will be open on the platform

Many enthusiasts are upset about the possible fate of this locomotive and you can understand why – it was not something envisioned by those who saved it from the scrapyard after all.  However I am an enthusiast who returned to the hobby after purchasing the Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone train set which starred Hogwarts Express. I believe that there are certain locomotives such as Hogwarts Castle/Olton Hall, Mallard and Flying Scotsman that are so famous they inspire and stir the enthusiasm of the younger generations when they see them. I would rather see her placed in this museum where she can seen, photographed and loved by her fans (most of who aren’t steam enthusiasts) than living in Carnforth where no one can see her, making the occasional mainline trip or the National Railway Musuem which already has the likes of Flying Scotsman and Mallard. Railway preservation is entering an unknown future where the ranks of the volunteers are starting to thin out and need replacing with young blood. If this one locomotive can help inspire people to get involved on the railways, then it has done its job for the greater railway good. However I would love to know what you think of this news (comment below), I will going to the Warner Brothers studio in May so expect some posts soon.

Thanks for reading.

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5 thoughts on “Arriving soon at Platform 9 3/4

  1. I know that it will only be there for 2 years then they will change the colour to green then it will be back on railtours

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    • I would be suprised if she is there less than 10 years if i am honest. With all the trouble they had last year with the steam ban and the loses that caused having a loco that is a certain revenue earner as a static seems like a financial win for west coast.

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  2. I believe the boiler certificate expired last year so she can’t run at present anyway. In those circumstances it’s convenient for her to become part of the Warner Brothers exhibition. My guess is that the ‘appearance fee’ may well go a long way towards the cost of renovating the boiler for further service in the future when Harry Potter loses his magic – and that’s the key isn’t it – how long the exhibition remains a money-spinning attraction. Fortunately the Hall class is well represented in preservation so the loss of this one locomotive from active duty isn’t really an issue. I concur with the thought that it may encourage some interest in railways among a younger generation.

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    • Judging by the popularity of the museum it seems to be doing very well and reminds one of the UK most popular attractions. I think the lenght of her stay will depend how much money Warner Brothers agreed with West Coast for the hire of the loco. I’d be amazed if its less than £50,000 a year which would make it a real money earner for West Coast. I recently booked some tickets and it cost me £33 each, assuming they get 4,000 people per day (last year it was on average 4,300 per day) on average spending £25 per ticket they would make a turnover of £36,000,000 a year from just ticket sales without taking into account the profit from the shops, the extra features and special events. The place is a gold mine currently and they are certainly cashing in on its popularity

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  3. Pingback: Raildate: Your Free Weekly Guide… Courtesy: Howard Sprenger | Rail Tube

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