Created By: jayteeAugust 16, 2011 Last Edited By: jayteeJuly 4, 2012

Cars Without Tires Are Trains

Shredded your tires? No problem! Just hop your bare rims on to those convenient railroad tracks!

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Do We Have This One? I couldn't find it, but that doesn't mean it isn't here somewhere.

Needs A Better Title.

In Real Life, rails are made for trains, roads are made for cars. In fiction, this line gets blurred.

Basically, if you've seen train tracks so far in the film, and then the hero's tires get shredded, you can bet that the car is going on those tracks. There's no explanation for why any car's rims will fit standard-gauge train track as if it were built for the task, except that it's cool.


Needs More Examples

  • In Back To The Future III, the Delorean fits perfectly onto the train tracks. This example is possibly justified, given that Doc is established as an excellent blacksmith with the capability to create Steam Punk Applied Phlebotinum, but it's not addressed in the film.
  • This happened in the James Bond movie Octopussy. This is after he drives across some "severe tire damage" spikes on the Russian/Eastern bloc border.
  • This happened to the villain's limousine in the ending of Oliver And Company.
  • Played deadly straight in the new Get Smart film.
  • In Real Life, a small number of Jeeps have been outfitted to work on railroad tracks in military service.
  • Some cars and trucks have been fitted to run on rails, used largely for railroad maintenance. These are called draisines (or "speeders" in the United States).
  • An episode of Top Gear involved a car being modified to pull a train. Hilarity ensued.

I know I've seen this elsewhere, but I need help with examples.
Community Feedback Replies: 23
  • August 16, 2011
    SquirrelGuy
    This happened in the James Bond movie Octopussy. This is after he drives across some "severe tire damage" spikes on the Russian/Eastern bloc border.
  • August 16, 2011
    Bisected8
    This happened to the villain's limousine in the ending of Oliver And Company.
  • August 16, 2011
    Kellor
    I think Doc did modify the Delorean's wheels- see here.
  • August 16, 2011
    jaytee
    ^You may be right. I just watched the movie yesterday, and there was a shot that I could swear was just bare rims on train track, but this definitely looks otherwise. I'll modify the entry to list it as possibly justified.
  • August 16, 2011
    jaytee
    I did a google search and found this, which is a few railroad enthusiasts discussing the possibility of doing this in Real Life. Turns out it's plausible.
  • August 16, 2011
    jaytee
    And as possible page image: [1]?
  • August 16, 2011
    JonnyB
    Some cars and trucks have been fitted to run on rails, used largely for railroad maintenance. These are called draisines (or "speeders" in the United States).
  • August 17, 2011
    IronLion
    An episode of Top Gear involved a car being modified to pull a train. Hilarity ensued.
  • August 17, 2011
    JonnyB
    The "train" at the end of Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome is a retrofitted truck.
  • August 18, 2011
    HiddenFacedMatt
    I think a screenshot of Sykes' car in the railroad tracks in Oliver And Company might make a good page image, actually.
  • August 18, 2011
    jaytee
    ^Do you think you can track one down for us? I haven't seen Oliver And Company in years and don't recall the scene.
  • August 26, 2011
    jaytee
    So maybe this one isn't quite as common as I thought. Still, four fictional examples is enough for a trope.

    Before this launches, any last minute additions? Thoughts on title, description?
  • August 26, 2011
    CrypticMirror
    @ Iron Lion actually it was two cars Top Gear adapted, Jeremy thought the first version was too train-like and set out to make his car-train more of a car (although, agreed on the Hilarity Ensuing).
  • August 27, 2011
    SilentReverence
    I've read somewhere that this trope is actually justified in most works in that the width or the wheel-to-wheel distance for locomotives, cars, other vehicles and even the rockets used by NASA was "standardized" long ago because of the width of a donkey's ass, or something, so the only modifications usually needed are the ones to link the vehicle's wheeling to the rails. Could this be researched and, if confirmed true (wow) noted in the article or in its Analysis page?

  • September 11, 2011
    jaytee
    Last bump.
  • September 11, 2011
    foxley
    Happens in XXX: State of the Union.
  • September 11, 2011
    depizan
    If I remember right, there's an instance of this in the 1986 buddy cop movie Running Scared.
  • September 12, 2011
    Arivne
    ^ According to the description and Laconic, in order for this trope to apply the tires have to be shredded. In Running Scared they weren't.
  • July 1, 2012
    Noah1
  • July 1, 2012
    nlpnt
    @Silent Reverence: There are several different wheel-to-wheel distances (called "gauge" in railroading and "track" or "tread width" for road vehicles); the latter can differ front-to-rear in the same car.
  • July 1, 2012
    animeg3282
    Only you can stop zero context examples. details!
  • July 2, 2012
    AgProv
    Real Life: in WW 2, the Russians had a variant on their standard heavy armoured car, the BA-10, that had both rail and road wheels. This enabled it to be driven onto a railway track, where the rail wheels were lowered into place and the armoured car then became a self-propelled railway wagon and could be sent ahead to check the track for obstrctions, enemy activity and so on. If it also triggered any mines planted by the Germans, the theory ran, it was still cheaper than losing a whole train.
  • July 4, 2012
    HiddenFacedMatt

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable