My husband and I are huge LEGO and Harry Potter fans, so this purchase was a given. The overall build quality truly does exceed expectations, there is a level of detail in the train that really makes it feel like a Harry Potter theme rather than a normal train build.
Little touches that we enjoyed were the crank motion on the wheels as they turned, the fire in the furnace, all the internal levers, and the printing of the all important Hogwarts Express logo on the front. The personnel carriage was a fun little build and adds to the playability with only one niggling point for us being the difficulty to place the piece that holds carriage wheels on the bottom (the black axel piece). I can't see how a child would have the strength to push those pieces in place. The train also comes with no tracks, which we found a bit unusual, but the optional locking of the front track alignments means it can be played with while not using any tracks.
The platform is where the set shines, with a clock with hands that can ben moved, the spinning wall between platforms 9 and 10 that minifugures with carts can go through, and probably my favourite detail, the printed newspapers in the moveable newspaper stand.
Minifigure-wise, everyone looked great, with a special shout out for the new Dementor who looks incredible. I just wish there was more than one of him in the set.
We've made some minor additions such as smoke for the smoke stack, some simple track for the train to sit on and soon a boiler plate cover the for the fire which can be moved up and down.