Calling All Muggles: The Real Hogwarts Express Train Is Back in Action

Apr 4, 2019

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Accio tickets to the Scottish Highlands!

After a seasonal break, the Jacobite steam train (a.k.a. the train used as a stand-in for the actual Hogwarts Express in the Harry Potter films) is back in business, People reports. And no, you won’t have to pass through Platform 9 3/4 to get there. 

The Jacobite steam train has been in operation for over 100 years. Known originally for its scenic views of the Scottish Highlands, the old rail line only got attached the Harry Potter-verse after it was featured as the Hogwarts Express in “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” and every other Potter film going forward. If you’re not sure what we’re referencing — maybe this picture will help jog your memory:

(Photo by Darren Murph / The Points Guy)

The train itself runs two times a day from the town of Fort William to Mallaig, covering about an 84-mile stretch of land over two hours. Fort William, Scotland is about a two-hour drive from Glasgow or 90 minutes from Inverness. That 84-mile stretch covered on the train includes a healthy dose of Harry Potter Easter eggs like the Glenfinnan Viaduct — which requires a bit of a hike to reach, but according to TPG Senior Writer Darren Murph, is “totally worth it.”

“Catching a glimpse of the Harry Potter Train rolling by, steam billowing out and all, requires a hike through the Scottish countryside,” said Murph. “You’ll start at the Glenfinnan Station Museum, following a well-trodden path to the viewpoint. The train only runs a few times per day, but waiting is worth it for views like this.”

Passengers who purchase round-trip tickets for the same day should be able to take a quick trip from Mallaig to the nearby town of Glencoe, which was used as the set for Hagrid’s cottage.

Aside from the Potter-related views, the Jacobite also passes by Loch Morar, the deepest freshwater loch, and Loch Nevis, the deepest seawater loch.

Mallaig, Lochaber, Scotland, United Kingdom (Getty Images)
Mallaig, Lochaber, Scotland, United Kingdom (Getty Images)

Tickets are currently listed at $50 for adults and $28 for kids through the travel booking site TravelPirates. (Be sure to use a card that awards a bonus on travel and doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees.) Remember, the rail operates seasonally — so you only have from April to October to ride the real Hogwarts Express in 2019. (Those who can’t make it to the United Kingdom will have to settle for the Universal Studios version.)

Pack your robes, wand, spell books and … owls? After all, Hagrid isn’t going to come to get you himself.

To continue your Scottish vacation planning:

Featured image by Darren Murph / The Points Guy.

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