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We know students aren't allowed to do magic during the school holidays, but when does that prohibition start and end? Does the journey between Hogwarts and London count as term-time or holiday? Are students allowed to cast spells on the Hogwarts Express?

The only canonical example I can think of is Hermione casting spells on the train before the start of her first year, when the ban on magic isn't yet in operation because she hasn't even enrolled at the school yet. I haven't got the books to hand, so can't search for other examples.

marked as duplicate by Valorum Sep 6 '15 at 23:31

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  • There are at least two instances of Harry and friends attacking Draco and friends on the way home (GoF and OOTP). Draco also attacks Harry in HBP on the way there. I would imagine it would be, because they're in an all witch/wizard environment now. No muggles for the statute of secrecy to apply to – Au101 Sep 6 '15 at 23:28
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    In short (see Metamaterial girl's answer for more); I don't think there's any explicit canon statement one way or another, but there are lots of canon instances of magic being used on the train and nothing is ever said or done about it. There doesn't seem to be a particularly strong reason not to allow it and at least some reason to. Witches and wizards, when in the magical world, tend to rely on their magic quite a lot. On the other hand, the logic behind the 'no magic in the corridors' rule of Hogwarts seems like it could apply to the train – Au101 Sep 6 '15 at 23:34
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    If the HE has the same 'no magic in the corridors' rule (which seems plausible, Au101) then it seems to be enforced at about the same level--i.e. 'No magic in the corridors, wink wink, nudge nudge.' – Metamaterial girl Sep 6 '15 at 23:41
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There are several other canon instances of students casting spells on the Hogwarts train, such as Ginny casting the Bat-Bogey hex, or Draco casting a Full-Body Bind on Harry Potter. The mere act of casting magic thus doesn't appear to be prohibited on the train, though malicious magic can of course be punished.

The prohibition on students casting magic during the school holidays seems more a function of a). secrecy from Muggles, and b). keeping half-trained wizards and witches from getting themselves into trouble away from the protection of trained professionals.

In that light, though teachers don't usually ride the train, prefects do, so there is at least SOME supervision by responsible people. Also, there are no Muggles. Therefore it makes sense for the Hogwarts Express to count as 'safe territory' and be exempt from the underage magic prohibition.

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In my experience with more formal schools similar to the British system on which Hogwarts is based, Holiday begins once the school day finished, and doesn't resume until the day classes begin. It's not a stroke of midnight kind of thing. But presumably they'd take the train back on the last day of holiday which would mean that they could not. I'm happy to be corrected by someone who went to an actual English boarding school.

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