Saturday, 28 December 2013

Day 362 : 9 3/4

On the way to Titchwell I didn't have time to look around King’s Cross Station as a mysterious extra train turfed up so I thought I'd take my chances on it with all the cancellations they'd been. E(D) and LLcT were saying at dinner that the whole platform 9 3/4 has been revamped, reimagined if you will, so I was intrigued to check it out on my return journey.

Back on September 23rd 2010, and two little Leicas ago, we'd had a meal at King’s Cross Station before they headed back to Cambridge. The trolley embedded in the wall was tucked away and just led off from platform 8 or 9, just a little tiled walkway. LLcT and E(D) decided to pose with the trolley, straining to ’push’ the their luggage through the wall. You could say that my godson has a touch of a rather tall Harry Potter, bespectacled yes, but the wrong shaped glasses. His hair is slightly reminiscent but there isn't a scar. I was grabbing a few shots of both of them but several other passersby seemed particularly keen to get their own photos when LLcT was stood there. Especially a group of Japanese tourists, not sure how they explained the giant Harry when they got home with their pictures!.

I got off the train and tried to recall where the curiously mounted trolley was. The station’s been very redeveloped so nothing looked as I remembered. I wondered briefly if I should ask someone but figured immediately that they've probably made it really simple to find. And sure enough as I wheeled my case into the main part of the station I could see a fairly substantial queue of people. They've updated it and realised a way to monetarise the platform 9 3/4 experience. Now as you pose with the trolley, laden with old suitcases a ’handler’ wraps a large scarf around you, depending on which Hogwart’s house you wish to represent. He holds out the long scarf behind you to give an impression of speed and a photographer takes your commemorative photograph, for I think £8. I chose to grab my own shot whilst they were changing over would-be Harry Potters and Hermiones.

They've also built a little shop selling said photos plus memorabilia from the Harry Potter World at Watford. Ironically you can't travel by train from King’s Cross to Watford Junction for the studio tour, you have to travel from Euston Station. But at least you can get to Hogwarts from platform 9 3/4 and Paris from international platforms at the St. Pancras part of the station.

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