When the Hogwarts Express was set for scrap

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Image copyright Robert Tarling
Image caption Olton Hall was delegated rust at Woodham’s scrapyard in between 1964 and 1981

Emerging from the clouds of steam engulfing platform 9 and three-quarters, the shining Hogwarts Express commands an unique location in the hearts of Harry Potter fans.

Yet there was a time when the only location this engine might call house, was a south Wales scrapyard where it lay decaying amongst the hulks of a bygone period.

That is since the engine that mesmerized countless Potter audiences and now sits happily in Warner Brothers Studios, was when allocated to be taken apart for the heating system.

Written off, deserted and forgotten for 17 years, this lowly engine’s last fate was initially far from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

But the story of modest GWR 5972 Olton Hall, is as bewitching as any informed by JK Rowling.

Interactive The Hogwarts Express prior to and after





” It remained in a hell of a state after being sat for almost 20 years in a scrapyard, “remembered James Shuttleworth, of West Coast Railway, the heritage rail operator that saved the engine.

“As restorations go, it was absolutely nothing uncommon. Then Warner Brothers came along.”

Built more than 80 years earlier, GWR 5972 was amongst the work-horses of the rail network in the commercial heartland of south Wales in the 1940s and 1950s.

In a golden age for steam train travel, Olton Hall was a routine function on among Great Western Railways’ mainline paths to London Paddington.

But in the middle of the relocation to diesel and electrical, the engine’s days were numbered.

After a spell in Plymouth, it went back to south Wales in 1959 prior to lastly being withdrawn from Cardiff East Dock shed in 1963.

Set for scrap

When it was purchased by the owners of a scrapyard in Barry Docks, more typically referred to as the “engine’s graveyard”, in the Vale of Glamorgan – the future looked bleak.

Image copyright Peter Brabham
Image caption More than 80% of steam engines on heritage trains in the UK today can be traced back to Woodham’s

“British Rail began eliminating steam in the ’60s, so when an engine required any sort of work, they got rid,” described Mr Shuttleworth.

“Almost all of the 22,000 steam engines were sliced up for scrap, either for the Far East or numerous to sustain the heating systems of south Wales.”

Woodham Brothers, a pebble’s toss from Barry Island satisfaction beach, quickly ended up being a gold mine for rail lovers.

But Olton Hall’s reincarnation was to show special.

Image copyright Valerie Macon/Afp/Getty Images
Image caption Olton Hall was very first re-steamed in 1997, the exact same year JK Rowling released Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Purchased in 1981 by David Smith, now the owner of West Coast Railways, it took a little army of volunteers 16 years to bring back the express to its previous magnificence.

Yet there was to be another twist that saw 5972 increase from the ashes like Prof Dumbledore’s faithful phoenix Fawkes.

Hollywood called

“There had actually been a great deal of wear and tear because time so it took a great deal of work,” stated Mr Shuttleworth.

“You cannot simply include some water and fire up the boiler or you would have gone skyward really rapidly. You nearly have to begin all over once again.

“But we had it working charter journeys on tracks in the north of England.

“It had not done anything amazing, however then we had a call from Warner Brothers.”

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Renovation work occurred at Horbury Junction near Wakefield, West Yorkshire, and Carnforth, Lancashire

When the very first Harry Potter book – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – was to be become a motion picture, film-makers were desperate for a genuine steam engine to represent the Hogwarts Express.

“Hogwarts was embeded in Scotland and Warner Brothers understood we ran on the West Highland Line,” stated Mr Shuttleworth.

“They desired an engine that was quintessentially British and JK Rowling had actually obviously seen one on a journey from Edinburgh to London.

“When the creative director revealed me an image of exactly what they desired, a Hall class engine, I responded, ‘That’s simple, we’ve got among those’.”

Hogwarts Express in movie

Image copyright Getty Images
  • GWR 5972 Olton Hall was integrated in Swindon in 1937 and created by Charles Collett
  • Appeared in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001 ), taking trainees from King’s Cross to Hogsmeade Station
  • Hogwarts Express appears in all 8 movies, that earned $7.7 bn (£ 6bn) Vandals triggered £ 50,000 worth a damage following shooting of Order of the Phoenix. Filming of the Prisoner of Azkaban was likewise postponed due to harm The engine functions in the last
  • scene of the series, Deathly Hallows Part 2, when the brand-new generation -consisting of Harry Potter’s 2 kids-leave for Hogwarts.
    Image copyright Getty Images > Image caption The Glenfinnan Viaduct was the setting for the flying Ford Anglia scene in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

    ‘Upset the perfectionists’

    The more difficult job ended up being calming trainspotters over the option of colour when Warner Brothers firmly insisted the livery was red, in keeping with Rowling’s initial text.

    “Since the earliest day, Great Western Railway was constantly’green till I pass away’, so the choice to paint it red actually upset the perfectionists, “stated Mr Shuttleworth.

    GWR 5972 would play a leading function in all 7 of the subsequent Harry Potter movies and today takes pride of location amongst the destinations at Warner Brothers Studios in Hertfordshire.

    Yet the 6,000 everyday visitors to Leavesdon would not have the ability to admire the Hogwarts Express if not for a passionate group of rail lovers and an opportunist Barry scrap merchant.

    “At his soul, Dai Woodham was a business owner,”stated Mr Shuttleworth.

    Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Rail lover Mark Williams played the character of Arthur Weasley in the Harry Potter movies

    “He handled to get the guideline rescinded that avoided engines being re-sold after they were ditched,”stated Mr Shuttleworth.

    “As an outcome he offered some 220 engines that primarily went on to be brought back.

    “I question conservation was his prime inspiration, however he unintentionally conserved the steam engine nearly solitarily.”

    Millions of Harry Potter fans will be permanently grateful that he did.

    Related Topics

  • Harry Potter
  • Rail transportation


Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-45303331

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