The first book that I was gifted was a copy of Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone. Once I got introduced to the boy wizard, there was no turning back. So much so, when I travelled to London to the first time, I visited the wall, which is marked as as Platform 9 3/4; which is located on King’s Cross Station. But there was no trace of the Hogwarts Express!
Just like many others, I, too, thought that the train, landscape and the journey was shot in a studio. Until, one day, I happen to land on the web page of the ‘real Hogwarts Express’, and not only realised that it wasn’t a gimmick, but that it also doesn’t start from London.
What Is The Real Hogwarts Express?
The black and red steam engine, is a real train which is called The Jacobite! The route to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was inspired by this train’s journey. There is a small town in Scotland called Fort William. It is known to be a popular destination for those who like to explore the adventurous side of the Scottish country.
The Jacobite is a carriage with a steam engine. The coaches have seats on either side. Though the interiors are somewhat similar to what can be seen in the movie, but the resemblance from the outside is uncanny! The steam engine powers through the Scottish Highlands, just like in the film, with the white smoke coming out and passing over the iconic Glenfinnan Viaduct.
This iconic railway viaduct which is located in Glenfinnan is located in the West Highlands of Scotland. The famous landmark has been featured in a few other films apart from the Harry Potter series, like Stone of Destiny, Ring of Bright Water and Charlotte Gray!
Where Does The Train Take You?
The train does two to and fro journeys in a day. It starts from Fort William and takes you to a small Scottish town called Mallaig. It is a port on the west coast and is known for its picturesque bay!
The Jacobite journey is counted among some of the most beautiful train journeys in the world. It passes through beautiful scenic beauty alongside Loch Eil, Glenfinnan Viaduct and Arisaig. If you are lucky to take the train on a sunny day, then you can open the window and feel the fresh air coming through. But if you are sitting in coaches closer to the engine, then there will be little pieces of coal that will be served on your table.
How Can You Book Yourself A Ticket On ‘The Real Hogwarts Express’?
I had no idea about the train’s existence until I searched for ‘things to do in Scotland.’ I was planning a solo trip and creating my own itinerary, so my schedule and the places that I wanted to cover were quite flexible. And so, the moment I found out about the Jacobite, I made sure that I booked my tickets in advance on the available dates and then started working the dates of my trip around that.
Yeah! Getting tickets to this is not easy. Since there is limited seating and it is extremely popular, it is highly unlikely that you would be able to get the tickets on the spot.
The train journey and the train itself is extremely fascinating; and if you are a Harry Potter buff like me, then riding aboard the real the Hogwarts express is the closest you will be to attending Hogwarts!