|GWR 4900 Class 5972 Olton Hall|
|Olton Hall in "Hogwarts Castle" guise.|
|V - E - T - D|
Olton Hall was completed in April 1937 and initially based at Neath, South Wales, subsequently being re-allocated to many parts of the former Great Western system, notably Cornwall and the West Midlands. Lastly, the locomotive was allocated to the Cardiff East Dock shed, before being withdrawn from service in December 1963. Olton Hall was sold to Woodham Brothers Ltd. (scrapyard) in Barry Island, South Wales.
It was bought privately for preservation in 1981 and initial restoration was carried out at Procor Ltd's works at Horbury Junction, Wakefield. Moved to the former Steamtown Railway Museum and now base for main line operator, West Coast Railways, at Carnforth, Lancashire, Olton Hall returned to steam in 1997, since when it has operated throughout the British Rail network, hauling charter trains as well as filming work for the Harry Potter films, for which it is best known. It has also been displayed at the National Railway Museum in York, when not in operational service.
As of 2017, the locomotive is on static display at The Harry Potter Experience within the Warner Bros. Studios, Leavesden, near Watford and will remain there for at least another two years.
In the Harry Potter films No.5972 plays the part of the Hogwarts Express locomotive, hauling the train that takes students from platform 9¾ at Kings Cross station to Hogsmeade station (Hogwarts). For these duties Olton Hall was renamed 'Hogwarts Express', though retaining the GWR number. The locomotive also carried a 'Hogwarts Express' headboard for the filming. This role in the movies has made the locomotive famous. 200 rare gold-plated 00 Gauge Hornby Models were released of the Hogwarts Express.
Olton Hall weighs 75 tons, and its 2 cylinders are fed by a superheater. Its driving wheels are 72 inches in diameter, and its carrying wheels are 36 inches in diameter. The boiler has a maximum of 225 pounds per square inch, and the locomotive makes 27,275 pounds of tractive effort.
The tender weighs 46 long tons, and takes 4000 imperial gallons of water.
- Olton Hall is painted red, which was not a standard colour for GWR. The traditional colour for GWR was Middle Chrome Green.
- Olton Hall was renamed to 'Hogwarts Castle' for the films. This name would suggest the locomotive is a much larger and more powerful Castle Class, not a Hall Class which,of course, it is. This also led to Hornby making their model a Castle Class. There are many jokes floating around about the renaming such as, 'The Hall that wishes to be a Castle. It has confused many less well-informed enthusiasts.
- Three full-size replicas of the locomotive as 5972 Hogwarts Castle are at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Universal Orlando Resort). Two as part of the Hogwarts Express train ride and the other is a static exhibit in the Hogsmeade area.
- When it was featured in "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix", and "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" it didn't wear the 'Hogwarts Express' headboard.
- On 11 March 2007, vandals targeted the coaches, causing £75,000 worth of damage at West Coast Railway Company's depot in Carnforth.
- The Two Replicas in Universal studios Orlando, Part of the Hogwarts express ride, Are actually Funicular Rope pulled trains. Their wheels are fake.