How long does the trip in the Hogwarts Express take?

Science Fiction & Fantasy Asked on May 9, 2021

Firstly, we know the train leaves King’s Cross Station at precisely 11 o’clock on the morning of every September 1st and travels to Hogsmeade Station, which is somewhere in Scotland.

We also know from that in Scotland the sun sets on September 1st at 8:19pm on average. The actual time is either later or earlier depending on where in Scotland Hogsmeade is located. Since September 1st is before the winter equinox (September 22nd or 23rd) the further north we get the later the sunset is going to be (although not by much since we are fairly close to the date of the equinox).

Finally, we know the train arrives in Hogsmeade on September 1st after sunset.

So in conclusion the train ride should be at least 9 hours long, but do we have a better estimate or know the actual time?

One Answer

We can deduce much from real world trains & routes of similar type:

The Flying Scotsman, which was the first express train from London to Edinburgh, ran the trip in over ten hours.

By the late 1800s, the time was down to 8 1/2 hours. By the 1930s, when the Hogwarts Express locomotive was built, the time was down to about 7 1/2 hours. Edinburgh is in southern Scotland, and there's still quite a bit of geography to the north.

Sunset at Edinburgh is at 8:07PM and at Inverness, in northern Scotland at 8:14PM on the given day. An approximately nine or ten hour train ride using a 1930s era steam locomotive seems entirely plausible and would get the students to a Highlands location sometime after sunset. Modern trains from London to Inverness take about 12 hours, leaving one to imagine that Hogsmeade is not quite that far north, but also, there are no stops along the way. So they'd reach somewhere between Edinburgh and Inverness at around 9:00PM. Just in time for a feast!

Correct answer by elemtilas on May 9, 2021

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