As fans of Harry Potter will know, riding on the Hogwarts Express is a magical experience and is the setting for many exciting storylines. These events are fictional and take place within the books or movies. However, a family stranded in a remote area of Scotland recently were surprised to have their own memorable story to tell involving the steam train that features in the Harry Potter series of books and films.
Jon and Heather Cluett were staying in a remote cottage close to Loch Eilt in the Scottish Highlands with their four young children, aged six, eight, 10, and 12. It was a half-term treat so the family could spend some time together. During a day out canoeing, they became stranded when their canoe was swept away by a swollen river.
This left the family with a big predicament because they were miles from any means of transport. The only way back would be to cross miles of boggy land on foot and this was a near-impossible task. In the need of advice, they rang the police.
While the most obvious solutions may have been for the police to send out the mountain rescue team or a search helicopter, these are expensive options that also take time and manpower. Instead, the police came up with a magical plan.
The police realized that the area in which the family was stranded was close to the railway line that is used in the Harry Potter movies for scenes in which the Hogwarts Express steam train is in motion. The train, called The Jacobite, is used for leisure excursions for holidaymakers who want to experience riding on a steam train to see the beautiful Scottish landscape.
The train travels along the West Highland Railway Line. This passes across the Glenfinnan Viaduct which Harry Potter fans will also recognize from the films. The police decided that the best course of action would be to contact the operators of the steam train and ask if they could get involved in the rescue mission.
When Jon Cluett was later interviewed by the BBC and other representatives of the local media, he told them that he couldn’t believe it when the Hogwarts Express turned up to rescue his family. He went on to say that his children had big smiles on their faces as they saw the steam train coming along the track. While the children had previously been miserable while stranded, the excitement of the steam train arriving really cheered them up. It turned an unfortunate incident into a big adventure for the kids.
The Hogwarts Express is the train that students of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry use to get to school each year and then return home. They catch the train from the imaginary Platform 9 and ¾ at Kings Cross Station in London. It was on this steam train that Harry Potter first became acquainted with his best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione in the first book and film of the series, ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’.