This question is related to Is the Weasley's residence "the Burrow" in the magical or non-magical realm? and explores an apparent inconsistency, given only the Harry Potter movies as source material.

The Hogwarts Express line seems to have an inconsistent existence between magical (invisible to ordinary humans aka muggles) and non-magical (muggle) realms; platform 9-3/4 is clearly hidden from muggles, but in Chamber of Secrets, when Harry and Ron take the car (in the muggle world) to catch up to the train, they make no explicit crossing into a magical realm, suggesting that the train is traveling the muggle world despite its departure from a magical platform.

In which realm (magical or muggle) does the Hogwarts Express exist? How is this apparent inconsistency resolved?

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    A bunch of the places you mentioned in the other questions are not part of a magical realm but protected by spells that prevent muggles from seeing them and I would guess that is the exact same for the hogwarts train where muggles just can't see it.
    – Joe W
    Dec 1, 2019 at 23:41
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    There is no separate "magical realm." Wizards use spells to keep certain locations hidden from muggles, but these locations all physically exist on Earth. That way wizards can have secret places where they can openly use magic without muggles being observed. Platform 9 and 3/4 is probably hidden because it'd draw attention with all the weirdness (kids wearing robes and carrying owls), but once the Hogwarts Express is going, it looks normal and therefore they don't bother hiding it.
    – Kai
    Dec 2, 2019 at 0:07
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    Perhaps muggle dó see the Hogwarts Express, but simply assume it's a railfan excursion train. People are, after all (muggle and wizard alike) prone to not seeing what's actually there!
    – elemtilas
    Dec 2, 2019 at 1:17

1 Answer 1


The correct answer to your question is “mu ”; in other words, the question itself is based on invalid assumptions. There are no separate magical and muggle realms; some things are hidden from muggles via spells, but everything just exists on Earth.

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    It might be worth mentioning that there are spells to make spaces larger on the inside; Moody's trunk and Hermione's handbag are the obvious examples, but this may also explain how Platform 9 and 3/4 fits into Kings Cross Station. Dec 2, 2019 at 0:58
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    @InvisibleTrihedron, I think that was built on a perfectly normal piece of land, but had at some point been made indetectable to Muggles. Dec 2, 2019 at 3:58
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    @InvisibleTrihedron, not all that different, I think. But the fact that it has an ordinary street number (12) rather than being 11 and 5/8ths or something suggests that it was originally a Muggle property rather than something inserted into the street after the fact. (The special effect showing the other houses moving aside was meant to represent the subjective effect of Harry being given the ability to see past the Fidelius Charm.) Dec 2, 2019 at 4:31
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    @InvisibleTrihedron, I'd wondered about that myself, might make a good question. But my guess is that this is because Grimmauld Place only has houses on one side - I've just checked the relevant scene in the movie (Order of the Phoenix, somewhere around the 10:20 mark) and you can see that the other side of the street is a park. I don't think the book is quite as clear about this as the movie, but it does mention a grassy area IIRC. Dec 3, 2019 at 8:11
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    @InvisibleTrihedron, and on a randomly chosen London street bordering Regent's Park, if you zoom in you can see that numbers 20 and 21 are consecutive. If we choose a street with houses on both sides, there are even numbers on one side and odd numbers on the other, just like you'd expect. I think that backs up my guess. :-) Dec 3, 2019 at 8:19

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