Nothing to do with the end scene of Back To The Future Part 3! I'm trying to remember a novel I read when I was a child, so it was from the 1970s or earlier. It was in English and set in England. It was about a boy who discovered a disused platform at his local railway station, from where he got on a steam train which took him to exactly the same place but in the past. On his first trip he saw himself as a baby in a pram. Later on in the story he was able to travel back to before he was born by "lodging" in the mind of an older man.

1 Answer 1


The Old Powder Line by Richard Parker

Brian goes for a ride on a mysterious steam train that takes him back into his childhood.

From Alice to Harry Potter: Children's Fantasy in England:

...Richard Parker's The Old Powder Line (1971), a story of journeys from a strange extra platform in a station, where a steam train takes people to their pasts. On one trip teenage Brian meets himself as a baby, and finds his mother half-recognising him.

The School Librarian, Volumes 18-19, 1970:

The time traveller cannot cross the frontier of his age and remain bodily whole, a problem faced when Brian, as a thought-shape, goes back to rescue Arnold from the 1920s and then returns for someone old enough to go back physically. This scientifically arranged chronoclasm is supplemented by astral-plane projection: the comatose body of Arnold, in hospital, shows the very symptoms of Arnold-in-the-past trapped in a tunnel.

  • That's the one! I was a member of The Puffin Club (a children's book-reading club run by Penguin Books) when this book was published, so I probably got a copy through that at the time.
    – Wallnut
    Jan 29, 2018 at 9:17

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