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I saw this in the late 80s, so it's not newer than that. All I can remember is that this train went to different planets, and then the train had to leave by a certain time, otherwise everyone would turn to stone.

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  • Welcome to SFF.SE, Sarah_UK!
    – Lexible
    Dec 9, 2021 at 1:55

3 Answers 3

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Since you say it was a movie, I believe what you saw was Galaxy Express 999: Can You Live Like a Warrior!? (1979) which was expanded from episodes 12 and 13 of Galaxy Express 999.

The movie quickly introduces the hero, Tetsuro, who catches the train on its annual visit to Earth after his mother is killed. He is taken into the care of Maetel who ensures he gets on the titular train, which travels from planet to planet across the galaxy with the ultimate goal of travelling all the way to the Andromeda Galaxy.

In the movie, the train stops on a planet where everyone has been turned to stone by a petrification cloud that recently passed through the planetary system.

The train is stopped on a jumbled rocky landscape that appears to be made of petrified people.  Tetsuro stands looking out.

They meet a warrior, last of his people, who wants Tetsuro's pass so he can travel to find a cure for his lover.

The warrior stands with his sword beside the petrified body of his lover.

There is conflict between the warrior and Tetsuro and Maetel until some bandits arrive to loot the petrified bodies.

Looters surround the body of a young woman, using tools to cut her body free from the surrounding rock.

The warrior joins with people from the train to fight off the bandits.

The warrior jumps down on one of the bandits, slashing the bandit with his sword.

The warrior is killed fighting them and laid to rest beside his lover. Tetsuro and the others board the train which leaves just in time to avoid another petrification cloud.

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I am guessing this is the anime series Galaxy Express 999, which is about a train that visits different planets (also possibly one of the anime films based on it). It is part of the continuity of anime anti-hero Captain Harlock. While "had to leave by a certain time, otherwise everyone would turn to stone" does not seem an exact fit to my memory, the series had all kinds of weird planetary encounters, involving embodiment and disembodiment of various sorts (a major theme is that most people's consciousnesses reside in immortal artificial bodies, with their own quirks—not everyone is happy with immortality), and sometimes these aspects are linked to the train's schedule in the plot.

Some images from the series and film:

Galaxy Express 999

Galaxy Express 999 Galaxy Express 999 Galaxy Express 999

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    I didn't know it was a series. That kinda explains why the movie seems to end where it should start and is all over the place the whole time.
    – Mazura
    Dec 9, 2021 at 9:53
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I think DavidW's answer is probably right, but it's also possible that you saw Night on the Galactic Railroad (1985), an adaptation of the famous novel by Kenji Miyazawa that inspired Galaxy Express 999.

In that movie, the protagonists descend an enormous staircase into an empty town:

When they return to the town later, it has turned to stone:

It starts to crumble as they rush to make it back to the train before it leaves.

I don't think it's ever stated that they would have turned to stone if they had missed the train, but one might be left with that impression.

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