In Pottermore, J. K. Rowling mentioned a possible international train like the Orient Express traveling to European wizard communities. Possibly leaving London at Platform 7 1/2.

How would such a train get across the English Channel, prior to the construction of the Channel Tunnel?

  • 1
    Historically one would board the train in London, then debark at Dover to be shipped to Calais aboard the "boat train"; seat61.com/OrientExpress.htm. On a few occasions they experimented with loading the sleeping cars onto a boat but discontinued it when it turned out to be a really stupid idea.
    – Valorum
    Jan 3, 2017 at 22:35
  • 13
    How would a magical train cross the English Channel?  Umm, magically? Jan 3, 2017 at 22:36
  • 2
    You might also want to note that the Orient Express doesn't go to what we would now consider to be "the Orient" (China, etc), it only went as far as Istanbul.
    – Valorum
    Jan 3, 2017 at 22:38
  • In fact there is an actual land connection between Europe and UK, but Dumbledore (or Voldemort, if you like it better) did hide it to shield England from foreign influences...
    – SJuan76
    Jan 4, 2017 at 8:00
  • @PeregrineRook - I think the question is, how does the magic work ie underwater, on the water, flying, teleportation, by ferry, starting in France, ... Jan 4, 2017 at 19:38

3 Answers 3


My vote's with an international magical train flying across the English Channel.


We know that Hagrid flew across part of the sea in Philosopher's Stone, to collect Harry from the hut on the rock, and as far as mass goes, Hagrid is a heavy load. Yet, he is able to fly:

‘How did you get here?’ Harry asked, looking around for another boat.

‘Flew,’ said Hagrid.


‘Yeah – but we’ll go back in this. Not s’posed ter use magic now I’ve got yeh.’

They settled down in the boat, Harry still staring at Hagrid, trying to imagine him flying.

Philosopher's Stone - Chapter Five, Diagon Alley - Pages 50-51 - Bloomsbury

Now Quidditch Through the Ages says no spell has been invented that allows for unaided human flight (QTTA, page one, chapter one).

However, a train is not a person, and we see many examples of objects flying in Potterverse: brooms, Golden Snitches, Christmas ornaments, certain magical beasts, etc.

Furthermore, both Voldemort and Snape can fly in human form, using an unknown form of magic, which contradicts Quidditch Through the Ages.

We know that items enchanted to fly can also carry humans (the broom is the obvious example), so it's entirely possible a train -- a vehicle -- could be enchanted to fly across the English Channel while carrying humans. This fits most nicely with the rules of flying in Potterverse: while there are exceptions, the law of flying seems to favor magical objects ferrying human witches and wizards.

I do like the idea of a giant Floo fireplace in Platform 7 1/2, and seeing that train go from 0 to 200 with a bang and hurdling through a cascading fall of Floo powder, and reaching Europe in the blink of an eye! I'm less sure of the practicalities of Flooing, though. Quidditch Through the Ages mentions that transcontinental Apparition is very risky and should be attempted only by the most skilled wizards. Pottermore discusses Portkeys, but, again, Portkeys are an imperfect form of magic. They are highly sensitive objects, and wizards using Portkeys are often plagued with motion sickness after using a Portkey.

So, canonically, I'm voting for FLIGHT.


Because magic.

I can think of two likely scenarios here:

  1. The "international train" does not actually go to England, just on continental Europe.

  2. The train crosses the Channel through magic, which is prevalent throughout the Harry Potter universe. For example, it might fly, as a car did once in book 2, or might cross the Channel through some other type of magic. Or, it might just never have existed before the creation of the tunnel, might be a new idea now.

One might also do what @Valorum said in his comment above:

Historically one would board the train in London, then debark at Dover to be shipped to Calais aboard the "boat train"


The magical train goes underwater

We saw a ship from Durmstrangs arrive by emerging out of the Black Lake. If a magical ship can go underwater, then why not a magical train?

The train would leave Dover (or perhaps King's Cross Station), submerge into the channel, and arrive at France.

  • 2
    It's Durmstrangs boat, Beaubatons came by flying horses.
    – Don_Biglia
    Jan 4, 2017 at 8:13
  • @Don_Biglia Thanks, I fixed the name in the question.
    – RichS
    Jan 4, 2017 at 16:42
  • You're welcome :)
    – Don_Biglia
    Jan 4, 2017 at 17:37

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.