We've more or less asserted why the Hogwart's express exists, but at some point in Hogwarts history it didn't. No problem I though, everyone just apparated with their children to Hogsmeade, no problem a long and tedious process considering luggage, and number of children. Except then I realised, how would a muggleborn student get there?

I'm assuming that despite the era (witch burning etc.) that the founders were actively recruiting and not just leaving students too far south from Hogwart's to grow up untrained. So how did they get the students to Hogwart's?

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    I'd imagine the founders/professors would help them get there until that child had learned to apparate themselves, they did come and help Harry after all. – ewanm89 Apr 29 '12 at 10:13
  • @ewanm89 Harry got a letter, then Hagrid was sent especially for him to help, from then on he had the help of the Weasley's more or less ever year...I think he was a special case. – AncientSwordRage Apr 29 '12 at 10:20
  • Why any more than any other student, yes he is the main character of the stories, but that does not mean the professors didn't have the same zeal with other students (actually it seems they helped Hermione with textbooks and stuff), why wouldn't they help all prospective students when they just simple don't have a means to travel to the school yet? – ewanm89 Apr 29 '12 at 10:26
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    Interesting. In the history of the Hogwarts Express, Pottermore gives a number of ways that children of magical families got to Hogwarts (apparation, portkeys, broomsticks, etc.), but provides no mention of how muggle-borns would get there. I'd guess (but not be confident enough to post it as an answer without canonical quotes) that the school set up portkeys, or hooked their houses up to the floo network for the muggle-borns. (If the floo network existed back then. I don't know when floo Powder was invented.) – David Stratton Apr 29 '12 at 14:01
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    Even before railways, Muggles could travel with horse-drawn carriages. That was slow and uncomfortable, so people had travelled less, but a good school is one of the few reasons why someone would still take on such a long route. – b_jonas Apr 29 '12 at 15:11

According to J. K. Rowling's article on Pottermore regarding the Hogwarts Express, originally students arrived at Hogwarts by any means available: brooms, apparition to Hogsmeade, carts or carriages, and even magical creatures. When the International Statute of Secrecy was enacted in 1692, it became vital to prevent Muggle sightings on the way to Hogwarts. At that point, the Ministry set up a complicated system of Portkeys to get to Hogwarts. That caused so many problems, Minister for Magic Ottaline Gambol eventually solved the problem by establishing the Hogwarts Express.

Nowhere does the article address how Muggleborns arrived at Hogwarts specifically, but I would imagine they would arrive there just like regular children; after all, Hermione's parents successfully found Platform 9 3/4 and got her to Hogwarts. I'm sure a Muggleborn's letter would explain all the particular's necessary to get there. Harry's didn't, but at that point, I don't think any one really realized how little Harry was aware of the magical world.

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We know that Hagrid was dispatched in person to bring Harry to Hogwarts when the Dursleys refused to make arrangements. Harry was, of course, something of a special case, but there is in principle no reason why school staff could not have collected muggle-born children individually and delivered them to Hogwarts by magical means. The staff's ability to travel magically would have made this task less onerous (and quicker) than it might otherwise have been, but presumably the advent of the Hogwarts Express still made life somewhat easier.

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  • I don't quite agree. Hagrid was only dispatched to give Harry his letter and to accompany him to London. He didn't bring him to Hogwarts. – Hendrik Vogt May 1 '12 at 9:46
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    Dumbledore also came to Tom Riddle to accompany the latter. I think at that point, there is no way knowing that TR was "special" as Harry is – gelolopez Jun 20 '15 at 17:47

I'm not totally sure, but I somehow remember reading from somewhere that they used portkeys. Even if I'm talking rubbish, it still seems like the most logical answer, as you could transport quite many children at the same time and you could do it quickly.

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I think the general rule is that someone from the faculty would be dispatch to explain the situation to the Muggle Parents. I highly doubt if Muggle Parents would just simply agree to send their Magical offspring to the unknown that is Hogwarts. So, I think here's what normally happens:

  • Magical child receives letter
  • Faculty visits home to explain the situation, ie the child is gifted etc
  • During this visit, instructions will be given on how to enroll to school (fees, requirements, matriculation, board and lodging, and also how to get there).

We know this had happened for Harry (by Hagrid) and for Tom Riddle (by Dumbledore). Well, we know they are halfbloods but they are brought up without knowledge of the wizarding world. I am not sure though what exactly happened with Hermione and other mudbloods but I think an analogue of the above will happen.

Considering such, we would now have a sort of idea how Muggleborns go to Hogwarts preHogwarts Express. A personal instruction will be given to them.

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Before the Hogwarts Express, everyone used Portkeys:

Portkeys were therefore arranged at collecting points all over Britain.

For Muggle-borns, a teacher would explain how it worked.

Source: Hogwarts Express

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    This is already mentioned in the accepted answer. You know, I might just seem stubborn, but you would benefit from registering your account! :) (we're playing cat and mouse at this point, ahah) – Jenayah Aug 2 '18 at 16:15

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