In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, why does Remus Lupin take the train to Hogwarts? I do not recall any other instance of Professors taking the train. A basic search online yielded the following, unsatisfactory answers:

  • He was exhausted from a recent transformation.

    I don't think that's it. He could Apparate, Floo, Portkey, all much faster and less exhaustive ways of travel. Dumbledore and the other Professors knew of his condition, and most were on good terms with him (seeing as several were also his professors when he was in school), it's likely they would have helped him with a quick, easy way to his new job without even his asking.

  • He wanted to see Harry in a not-teacher/student setting first.

    Again, if this was such a big deal to him, he could have approached Harry a number of ways. In fact, Harry was staying at the Leaky Cauldron for quite some time. At any point, Remus could have casually met him there or in Diagon Alley.

  • He was put there specifically to keep an eye on students because of the Dementors.

    Maybe? But if the school/Ministry wanted someone to watch the students around the Dementors, a lone, brand-new, tired-from-being-a-werewolf teacher doesn't seem like the best choice. Furthermore, we don't see any indication that any other teachers/adults were on the train (besides the conductor/train personnel).

  • 4
    The teachers take the train they just have a different compartment i think Mar 11, 2016 at 0:53
  • 21
    If he wanted to see Harry beforehand, he would probably have made a bit more of an effort to stay awake, too, rather than sleep through everything short of a Dementor infestation. Mar 11, 2016 at 0:56
  • 1
    @Janus Bahs Jacquet: I don’t think meeting Harry was his plan (he couldn’t know Harry would choose his compartment, after all), but he wakes up much earlier and only pretends to be asleep for most of the journey. Hint: Sneakoscope.
    – chirlu
    Mar 11, 2016 at 16:33
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    Why do students take the HWX? Do students from Hogsmeade travel all the way to London just to catch the train? Why a train anyway? What does the crew do the other 363 days of the year? What do they do with the rolling stock? Does British Rail have a whole magic division, and are there other fractional numbered platforms and other magic trains? Is magic actually required to operate a steam engine? Is that the real reason why we don't see them anymore? etc., and so forth, ... Mar 11, 2016 at 22:14
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    Slughorn also took the train in The Half-Blood Prince
    – Keith M
    Mar 12, 2016 at 21:55

9 Answers 9


You say he could Apparate, but this is not necessarily less exhausting than the train. Remember that Hogwarts has an anti-Apparition jinx, so Apparition would still require a little, or maybe a lot, of walking over hard ground to get to Hogwarts, whereas on the train he could--and did--sleep almost the whole time.

Could he use Floo powder? Doubtful. There was a lot of anti-werewolf prejudice at the time, and he was very poor, so it is unlikely that he had access to Floo Powder.

Portkeys? They need Ministry help to set up, and this is too much trouble, as well as hard since he is a werewolf. So it is probable that he was just exhausted or had no other means of travel. Or, though this is unlikely, Dumbledore put him on the train knowing that he would meet Harry.

I've found a quote from Slughorn's letter to Harry about the Slug Club. It proves that teachers do take the train, or at least some of them do, they just don't mix with students while on the train:


I would be delighted if you would join me for a bit of lunch in compartment C.


Professor H. E. F. Slughorn.

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    He used Floo powder to get to Snape's from his own office, where Dumbledore provided him with it. But at home, his poor living might not allow for him to buy Floo powder, and nobody's going to give him any.
    – CHEESE
    Mar 11, 2016 at 1:07
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    Do we have evidence Floo Powder is expensive? The Weasleys certainly had a lot of it. Mar 11, 2016 at 4:57
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    @Lumos: Apparently the Hogwarts headmasters don't like to have the school regularly connected to the Floo network: How many ways are there of getting to Hogwarts? Also see this question: Prior to Umbridge, could anyone simply floo to Hogwarts?
    – wyvern
    Mar 11, 2016 at 5:02
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    @Azor-Ahai ‘It’s two Sickles a scoop, people, so stop being cheap" - Rutherford Poke (from Pottermore, Floo powder is not expensive)
    – Skooba
    Mar 11, 2016 at 13:36
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    @Azor-Ahai: It’s implied in CoS that it may be an issue for the Weasleys: Mrs Weasley took a flowerpot off the kitchen mantelpiece and peered inside. ‘We’re running low, Arthur,’ she sighed. ‘We’ll have to buy some more today …’ (This is shortly after her worrying about the expensive books.)
    – chirlu
    Mar 11, 2016 at 16:44

Sirius Black had escaped and it was assumed he'd attack Harry. Lupin the defence Professor was on the train to protect the students, namely Harry so they all arrived safely at Hogwarts.

  • I think this is a very good point that wasn't mentioned in any of the other answers.
    – lfurini
    Jun 11, 2016 at 12:53
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    But as mentioned in other places, he wasn't doing a very good job protecting anyone by being asleep.
    – chewie
    Aug 3, 2016 at 13:57
  • @chewie pretending to sleep, you mean... Nov 8, 2018 at 11:35

I know that some of the teachers (Trelawny for example) live at the school in addition to teaching there, so they probably wouldn't be on the train.

It's also possible that many of them get to the school earlier than the students, so they can prepare for the year. Perhaps Lupin was hired very last minute, necessitating that he take the train.


Professor Slughorn did ask Harry at one point to join him in his compartment on the train. It could be that the teachers take the train and have separate cars and compartments from the students, and that Lupin did not want to take the teacher car, as he didn't want to reveal too much about himself to other teachers or felt that he didn't fit in because he was a werewolf, or nervous because he was new. It could be a school policy for all or most teachers to take the train to Hogwarts to watch over the students.


Remus is a long standing member of the Order of the Phoenix. The members, and others in the community (ex: Mrs. Figg) take direction from Dumbledore and are specifically guided throughout his teen years to watch over and protect Harry. In this case Dumbledore has Lupin follow from onboard the train on his way to the post at Hogwarts where he continues to watch Harry (see meeting with Snape in corridor after hours) until he is relieved by the School board.

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    The order isn't ordered to follow harry until book 5
    – CHEESE
    Mar 12, 2016 at 11:56
  • @CHEESE the order is always ordered otherwise it would be a disorder Nov 8, 2018 at 11:41

I think that all new teachers go on the Hogwarts express which is why lupin went on the express in the third year, which was his first year being a teacher and Slughorn came in the 6th book, although, it wasn't his first year being a teacher, he hadn't taught in a number of years.

  • 2
    Lockhart? Moody? Umbridge?
    – Alex
    May 31, 2018 at 15:21
  • Can you offer any evidence to back up this bold assertion?
    – Valorum
    Nov 8, 2018 at 11:07

I think he took it out of nostalgic feelings. Back in his school time everything was great with his friends. I think he wanted to ride the train one more time and remember how he, Sirius, James and Peter took the train to Hogwarts talking about about their summer break and what they could do as soon as they were back at Hogwarts.

  • 1
    Can you offer any evidence to back up this bold assertion?
    – Valorum
    Nov 8, 2018 at 11:06
  • Oh @Valorum, of course she can't. Beware, you're discussing Lupin's presence on the train and in the meantime Palpatine is just about to take your position as a Chancellor - sorry, I had to. Nov 8, 2018 at 11:49

He was probably there to keep an eye on Harry because of the danger from you-know-who and the Death Eaters. Not just a coincidence that the only space in the student compartments was next to Lupin.

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    Not a coincidence? "Harry, Ron, and Hermione set off down the corridor, looking for an empty compartment, but all were full except for the one at the very end of the train". It seems to me they were a bit late, because Arthur wanted to talk with Harry. It they got on the train earlier, they could have chosen another compartment.
    – Oriol
    Mar 12, 2016 at 16:37

I would guess that teachers often arrive on an earlier train journey, but Lupin couldn't or didn't want to because the timing coincided with a full moon.

  • Do you have any evidence that (a) teachers arrive on an earlier train and (b) Lupin couldn't make that earlier train?
    – Null
    Jul 29, 2016 at 14:56
  • 1
    @Null No, but this is a highly speculative question. Jul 30, 2016 at 17:29

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