# How big is Hogwarts Express?

How big is actually Hogwarts Express or actually how big should it be so that all students fit in it?

In the books there is always someone who complains that everything is full but the Trio usually doesn't have to share a compartment with anyone else.

Even in Harry Potter and The Philosophers Stone Harry and Ron are alone.

• Are the lego sets canon? They only have one carriage for passangers. – b_jonas Dec 11 '16 at 8:08
• There's full and there's "full". I suspect the people complaining that everywhere is full actually mean "There's no compartments that don't contain people I don't know or don't want to sit with." – Anthony Grist Dec 11 '16 at 14:17

To the best of my knowledge is never stated directly, but it is implied that the students are sorted into roughly equal numbers in the 4 houses at Hogwarts. There are 7 years and each house has about 10 students per year, or 280 students at the school at any one time, assuming constant class sizes and no dropouts.

If all of the students ride the Hogwarts Express and the cars are standard size, then it has 9 compartments per car, each of which can hold at least 4 students. In this case, the train only needs 8 passenger cars to hold everyone comfortably (at 4 passengers per compartment.) In order to space people out to the degree that we see in the books, you'd want 12-15 cars.

When we see the Hogwarts Express in the movies it only has 3-4 passenger cars, each of which has 8 windows, and presumably 8 passenger compartments per car as a result - far too few for comfortable seating unless it is magically larger inside than outside, such that compartments are possible on both sides of the train, unlike a normal compartment car. Even then, the train would be right at the capacity for students. (4 cars x 16 magical compartments per car x 4 students per compartment = 256 students)

• Um, folks. It is called magic .... – MikeJRamsey56 Dec 11 '16 at 10:23
• The number of students is wildly inconsistent throughout the series, but as far as I know the intended number was in the region of 800+ (there were a few hundred Slytherin mentioned during at least one game of Quidditch). Compartments on the Hogwarts express are also shown to be capable of holding considerably more than 4 students. – Anthony Grist Dec 11 '16 at 14:16
• @AnthonyGrist There are major problems with the size of the wizarding population in the HP world. JK Rowling is on record saying that there are 600-1000 students in Hogwarts, but also only 3000 wizards in all of England. However, that is enough to require a massive government ministry, independent criminal system, support a thriving economy in multiple locations, and populate an entire sports league. I just went with what we actually see in terms of student numbers in Harry's class. – Jason Patterson Dec 11 '16 at 20:43
• Compartment trains I have used on British Rail held up to 6 passengers. I imagine that is what JKR had in mind. – Blackwood Sep 13 '19 at 2:49

The train has undetectable extension charms on the passenger cars, and the majority of sources say there are 3 cars when it runs in the Christmas and Easter, and 5 on the end/beginning if the year (this is including the baggage/prefect car).

• ”majority of sources” - could you edit your answer to include at least one of these to back it up? – TheLethalCarrot Sep 13 '19 at 8:05