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Original Hogwarts Express Locomotive to Arrive at Warner Bros. Studio Tour London

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From Warner Bros. --

This March, Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter is unveiling a 20,000 square foot expansion, including the original Hogwarts Express steam engine and a recreation of Platform 9 ¾. The new, permanent section offers a glimpse into how some of the films’ most iconic scenes were created as well as giving visitors the chance to climb aboard the train’s carriage and to pose with a luggage trolley as it disappears through the platform wall.

Throughout the Harry Potter film series, British steam train no. 5972, ‘Olton Hall’, was used at the Hogwarts Express. Scenes featuring the working engine – including the very last scene to be shot, in which a grown-up Harry, Ron and Hermione wave their own children off as they head to school – were filmed on a soundstage at Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden and on a track running the full length of the Studios’ 100-acre backlot. The 78-year-old maroon engine is returning to the series’ production home this spring, displayed on a realistic set of tracks with whistles sounding and steam billowing as visitors step onto the platform.

Platform 9 ¾ is officially open on Thursday 19th March.  The new, must-see section has been redesigned and was 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 ceiling, red brick walls and luggage racks, designed by Production Designer Stuart Craig, was painstakingly reassembled by a team led by Construction Manager Paul Hayes and dressed by Set Decorator Rosie Goodwin. Special Effects Supervisor John Richardson, who won a BAFTA for his work on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, has rigged the locomotive with special effects steam.

Visitors can walk along the train’s adjoining carriage and sit in 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). A selection of prop luggage is on show and visitors can find out which character owned which items by turning an interactive dial (characters include Hermione Granger, Draco Malfoy, Luna Lovegood and more). A train-themed souvenir shop will also be open on the platform, stocking a wide range of goodies inspired by the Harry Potter films and, specifically, the Hogwarts Express.

Sarah Roots, Vice President of Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, commented: “We can’t wait to open our first expansion, Platform 9 ¾, just before the Studio Tour’s third anniversary in March. The Hogwarts Express had a starring role in the films so we’re excited that it will be taking centre stage in the new area. It’s the piece that visitors have most requested to have added and we’re expecting a fantastic response.”

Stuart Craig, Production Designer on all eight Harry Potter films, added: “The Hogwarts Express was the setting for many iconic scenes, from Harry, Hermione and Ron’s first meeting in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone to the moment the trio’s children embark on their first journey to school 25 years later. The wizarding world doesn’t really have a need for modern technology so we knew a traditional steam engine would make the perfect school train. We scoured the country and found ‘Olton Hall’ at a preservation centre in Lancashire; realising pretty quickly that it was exactly what we had been looking for.”

 

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