The magic of trains and travel in children’s stories
Additional Document Info
Railway Heritage and Tourism: Global Perspectives
Trains play a prominent role in a number of children’s stories. Sometimes
they are the main characters, such as the engines in the Reverend Awdry’s
Thomas the Tank Engine series, and sometimes they are an important
plot device, such as the train taken by pupils to Hogwarts School in J.K.
Rowling’s Harry Potter series. The use of steam trains in children’s stories
plays on the idea that steam train travel is mysterious and romantic, with
wreaths of smoke, mysterious small compartments and a loud whistle
warning of danger. An interesting paradox exists whereby most trains in
children’s stories are steam-powered, yet no one travels by steam train any
more. The exceptions are tourists. They travel on steam trains, journeying
back to the world of childhood.