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The Hogwarts Express is the name of the train that makes a run between London, King's Cross Station Platform 9¾ and Hogsmeade Station. It makes this run at about six times a year, maybe more, as needed. The Express dutifully carries students to and from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry at the start and end of every term.

The train leaves Platform 9¾ without fail on 1 September at 11 o'clock in the morning, arriving at Hogsmeade Station in the early evening. Some students take the train back to King's Cross Station to go home for the Christmas and Easter holidays, but some do not, as they stay at Hogwarts. It also makes the run back again to London at the end of term in June.

In striking contrast to Britain's National Rail system, the Hogwarts Express takes the form of a large red, 4-6-0 steam engine. Originally steam fitted by the Muggles who built it, the Hogwarts Express now runs exclusively on magic.

The passenger carriages hold compartments set off a corridor, allowing each compartment to function as a self-contained stage within the larger train. During the long journey to Hogwarts, students may enjoy treats from a trolley, such as Pumpkin Pasties and Chocolate Frogs. There are usually no adults aboard the Hogwarts Express except the witch with the tea trolley and the driver. Occasionally new teachers (such as Remus Lupin and Horace Slughorn) could be found aboard the train as well. According to the trolley witch, the train "doesn't take kindly to students who try to leave when it is moving", possibly implying that it has some form of sentience.

Prefects of the school ride in a separate carriage near the front of the train. The compartments on the train appear to be lettered; in 1996, the Slug Club met in Compartment C.
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