IT may have flashed majestically through Wigan North Western Station’s Platform Five rather than Nine and Three Quarters - but there was no doubt it really was the Hogwarts Express.
Built at Swindon works by the Great Western company in 1937 as 4-6-0 No 5972 ‘Olton Hall,’ the classic locomotive was renamed and reliveried in a hugely beneficial cash deal for owners the West Coast Railway Company, formerly Carnforth steam town.
Contractual agreements mean it is banned from steam special excursion work and isn’t seen outside of Harry Potter film duties.
However it appeared on the West Coast Mail Line without passengers working its way through Wigan from Crewe where it had been repaired en route to its Carnforth base.
And what a beautiful sight it was ...