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Hogwarts Express Secret Harry Potter theme park train unveiled

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A Swiss cable car firm has been quietly working on a reproduction of the Hogwarts Express for the Harry Potter attraction at the Universal Studios theme park in Florida.  (SRF/swissinfo.ch)

For years the Hogwarts Express that brought Harry Potter and his friends to their school of magic has only existed in readers’ imaginations and on the big screen. That is, until now. A new attraction has opened at Universal Studios in Florida.

 A reproduction of the famous train was built in Switzerland by cable car producer Garaventa. It was an unusual assignment in many ways. “It’s a funicular like any other you’d find in tourist spots taking you up a mountain,” Garaventa CEO Istvan Szalai told Swiss public television, SRF. “The special thing here is that on the outside it looks like a steam engine. It’s an illusion you want to give people.”

 The train is moved by a cable, basically like a funicular but on flat terrain. Garaventa has been working on it intensively for two and a half years. During that time the project was top secret. The train was built in Garaventa’s factory in Goldau. Around 500 tons of material had to be shipped from Goldau to the United States. That’s six coaches, two locomotives and two extra coaches containing steering components.