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[[caption-width-right:350:[[VisualPun Shocking footage of a man hit by a train]]]]
These are the examples that make Casey Jones cry.

Just like works that are JustPlaneWrong, many writers just don't do the research when it comes to railways, locomotives and rolling stock.

Easily, the number one mistake is showing a steam locomotive without a tender or bunker and tanks -- which usually means that it doesn't have any fuel or water and therefore can't move. Other common departures from reality might involve a RunawayTrain's safety systems [[FailsafeFailure failing]] without any justifiable reason, or the wrong kind of train or rolling stock for the script. Whenever a train appears, it'll almost always be blasting its horn or whistle, when in real life trains are only meant to sound their horns and/or whistles at set points along the route such as at level crossings, or if there's something or someone on the track. But, hey, most viewers don't know or care what the proper train would look like.

Cases of anachronistic locomotives and rolling stock are more forgivable, for most of the same reasons given in sister tropes involving [[ArtisticLicenseShips ships]], [[JustPlaneWrong aircraft]] or [[TanksButNoTanks armoured vehicles.]] Sometimes there are simply no serviceable examples still in existence, or the surviving examples are stabled at preserved railway lines far from their original area of operation and are too expensive to transport, leaving the production team with a choice between this trope or CaliforniaDoubling. Even when you manage to make locomotive and rolling stock match the period and the location, they're often in a livery from an earlier or later period of their service lifespan, and the owners may well be reluctant to have them repainted for filming.

Compare SteamNeverDies. Contrast CoolTrain.



* [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d8EKe08BP0E This]] highly amusing advert for British Rail's [=InterCity=] services inadvertently illustrated why film crews sometimes just have to put up with anachronistic liveries, as the special Police paintjob that was supposed to wash off easily after filming failed to perform as advertised, and the locomotive had to be sanded down and repainted. As any preservationist will tell you, this process is not cheap for a small not-for-profit organisation depending upon volunteer labour.

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* SL Man and Poppo-chan from ''[[{{Franchise/Anpanman}} Sorieke! Anpanman]]''. Despite being in a fantasy land, they seem to run without a coal tender, which is required for engines like them. Also, SL Man can go underwater, which would've washed out his firebox.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* The second volume of ''Comicbook/TheLeagueOfExtraordinaryGentlemen'' has a scene in which a Martian tripod destroys Barnes Bridge along with a train crossing it. However, while the train is spot-on for the period, it's a London and North Western Railway design. Barnes Bridge was on the London and ''South'' Western Railway, and used very different locomotives.
* A story in the ''Series/DoctorWhoTitan'' comics featured the real-world Tay Bridge railway disaster from 1879. The interior drawings of the coaches were not too bad (although the side corridor was drawn way too wide), but the exterior pictures of the train were very American indeed.
* An early Creator/ChrisClaremont X-Men story has the team visit Banshee's castle in Mayo. They go by steam engine, nearly fifteen years after mass dieselization in Ireland.
* A ''Comics/BlackWidow'' book [[http://comicvine.gamespot.com/articles/exclusive-preview-black-widow-8/1100-149108/ taking place in Prague]] has her landing on and boarding a running train. The artist did their research and looked up an actual modern Czech train. Unfortunately for the artist, their reference images did not show that that particular train type's doors do not have handles at all and open only automatically, with press buttons. Unfortunately for the writer, most trains in use in the UsefulNotes/CzechRepublic nowadays, even those that ''do'' have door handles, have a safety blocking mechanism in place that prevents the doors from being opened while the train is going.

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* A ''Magazine/DoctorWhoMagazine'' Seventh Doctor story had a London suburban train stolen by evil aliens who planned to eat the passengers. The artist created very detailed and realistic drawings of the train -- unfortunately it was of a very distinctive design which was constructed for the suburban railways in Glasgow and never ran in London.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/ThePolarExpress'': Things like the rolling stock bending around a mountain peak or a 100% decline, the length of the train keeps varying from five to about a dozen coaches etc etc. And let's not start on the scene with the train crossing the frozen body of water and slithering across the ice like a snake while being steered by changing the rotation of the drivers on the locomotive.[[note]]The usage of alternating forward and reverse to control the train's sliding is actually ''more'' plausible than the most glaring issue to rail enthusiasts: that being that the violent, sudden manner in which the engineer repeatedly switched from forward to reverse and back again should have torn the running gear to pieces.[[/note]] That said, it was explicitly stated to be a "[[AWizardDidIt magic]] train."

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/MissionImpossible''
** The fight scene in the Channel Tunnel. In real-life, the Tunnel consists of two single-track tunnels (and a service tunnel for electric vehicles)
** The line is also electrified with overhead catenary throughout, which would cause big problems for both a helicopter flying in the tunnel and anyone standing on top of the train.
** The helicopter could not get close to the train in the tunnel without being hit by high-speed winds created by the train moving at high-speed.
** A regular French TGV is used in place of the Eurostar variant, even being identified as such in the CoincidentalBroadcast; in actual fact, different loading gauges and voltage supplies -- and in the case of the line between Kent and London at the time, third-rail instead of overhead electrification -- make it impossible to operate a TGV in the UK. [[note]]True at the time the film was made but not now: the high speed line from Gare du Nord to Saint Pancras is technically and dimensionally capable of taking TGV's, but they still aren't allowed in the tunnel itself because of very rigorous fire safety rules.[[/note]]
** The train is also depicted leaving [[UsefulNotes/NationalRail Liverpool Street station]] rather than the actual Eurostar terminus at Waterloo.
* The poster for the film ''Film/Creep2004'' depicts a 1972 [=Mk1=] stock Northern Line train -- the stock was withdrawn four years before the film was released.
** All but one - UsefulNotes/TheLondonUnderground keeps a single example on the disused Aldwych line, where ''Creep'' (and most other works involving the Underground) are filmed. It might well be the same train.
* ''Enigma'' features 1950s [=Mk1=] British Rail Stock (with Eastern Region numbering) in a scene that takes place near Bletchley in 1943. This is quite common due to the large number of BR [=Mk1s=] in preservation (and the large number built; they were a standard carriage used throughout the system, replacing many previous designs, and the last of them weren't taken out of service until 2005), compared to the accurate pre-war types which are in comparison quite rare. The [=Mk1s=] are also all steel construction, whereas earlier types were often wooden framed or wooden bodied, which didn't help their survival.
* ''Film/RunawayTrain'' from 1985 has quite a few errors.
* ''Film/DarkShadows'' opens with footage of a modern-day Amtrak train, despite being set in TheSeventies. This is particularly galling as the interior shot of the train perfectly replicates the time period.
* ''Film/KingKong1976'' has a scene where Kong stops and attacks a New York City subway train. One car is picked up off the tracks, properly causing it to go dark as they are electrically powered via third rail. Then when Kong tosses the train to the ground, it ''explodes''.
* In ''Film/TheLegendOfZorro'', the driver of the bad guy's train is hit by a piece of wood and falls against the throttle, shoving it forward and [[RunawayTrain causing the train's speed]] and boiler pressure to dramatically increase. Pushing the throttle forward would actually close it, making the train slow down (and eventually stop) while a rise in speed would cause the boiler pressure to decrease.
* ''Film/PublicEnemies'': The producers decided to show a train arriving in Chicago. While Milwaukee Road #261 and its cars in their orange and maroon livery could be reasonably explained, the locomotive is anachronistic to the 1933 setting of the film. ALCO did not build that particular locomotive until 1944. Also, the orange and maroon livery the cars are wearing is [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarII post-war]].
** Plus the 261 is a freight locomotive and would be unlikely to appear at Union Station.
*** The 261 was built as a dual-service locomotive during WWII, [[LightningBruiser strong enough for freight, fast enough for passenger service]], at a time the government prohibited building any purely passenger locomotives.
* In ''Film/TheSwarm'' the driver falls against the brake, shoving it forward, causing the train to speed up and crash. Pushing the brake forward applies it, and applying the brakes is how you ''stop'' the train.
** Then, when the train crashes, the unpowered coaches explode and burn instead of just the locomotive.
* In ''Savage Messiah,'' a film set in Victorian England, the protagonist at one point narrowly avoids being hit by a 1940s American-built locomotive.
* In ''Film/{{Titanic|1997}}'', in the scene at Southampton, an American switcher is briefly seen on the dockside. Not quite the glaring error it appears to be, as the Southern Railway company ''did'' operate a few [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USATC_S100_Class S100-class]] switchers bought as war-surplus from the US Army Transportation Corps, but they weren't even designed until the middle of the 1940s. Someone in the set design team was trying to be too clever for their own good.
* In the Edwardian-set ''Film/ChittyChittyBangBang,'' there is a brief shot of a train from the Great Western Railway. Except it's not, it's actually a rather poorly disguised World War II-era 'Austerity tank'.
* ''Literature/TheRailwayChildren'' is mostly pretty good with this trope - as it's set on a fictional railway, most inaccuracies can be [[HandWave handwaved away]]. However, the engine that nearly hits Creator/JennyAgutter wasn't built until the 1930s.
** A theatrical production of the film apparently involved a [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Rail_Class_08 British Rail Class 08]], which is a 1950s diesel locomotive. What's worse is it was apparently on loan from the National Railway Museum, who really ought to know better! However, the 08 was needed to propel the other locomotive involved, an 1870s Great Northern Railway "Single" locomotive incapable of moving on its own.
* Heroically almost-averted in ''Film/ThoseMagnificentMenInTheirFlyingMachines''. In one scene, set in France in 1910, Terry-Thomas lands on top of a train that train enthusiasts will recognize as being hauled by the Scottish 'Jones Goods.' However, while this is not strictly accurate, very similar locomotives were indeed working in France in 1910. In other words, it was as close as they could reasonably get in the late 1960s.
* ''Film/TheLionTheWitchAndTheWardrobe'' creates a very impressive representation of World War II-era Paddington Station, with the correct engine and rolling stock... and then has the engine painted in 1950s livery.
* WesternAnimation/{{Garfield}}'s movie has a scene where Garfield infiltrates a dispatcher's room and switches trains willy nilly sending them all on collision courses with one another. This would be impossible as the system would not allow the controller to switch points in front of an approaching train, and the signal system is interlocked to prohibit any movement that might cause a collision.
* ''Film/SourceCode''
** Trains do not have guns on board, as quoted by Metra's own commuter newsletter, ''On the Bi Level'', "If conductors wanted to wield guns they would have applied for a different kind of blue uniform." Conductors also don't have handcuffs or stun guns, but Metra (like most railways) does have its own police force, which is equipped with such things.
** The so called "conductor's compartment" is actually an engineer cab for remotely controlling the locomotive when the train is moving in that direction, and is portrayed on the wrong end of the train car (the engineer must be able to see the track ahead). Even more so from the outside view of the cars since it shows the windshields for the cab on the right end of the car, but the side windows of the cab on the wrong end as well. Not to mention this was a Chicago bound train, so the compartment would not have been empty, there would have been an engineer on one side of the compartment, operating the train.
*** Extra cab cars are occasionally used as coaches, and when doing so, may face either direction. Still makes no sense to keep a gun there.
** Not all cars on the train have headlights/taillights/red stripes.
** Gallery cars of the type depicted do not have a bridge over the aisle, they have stairs on either side of the aisle to reach their respective sides of the mezzanine.
*** This is a side effect of shooting the interior scenes in California's Metrolink cars, while the film itself is set in Chicago.
* ''Film/{{Unstoppable}}'' is a notable aversion. While the film is clearly a dramatization centered around a runaway train; the incident is inspired by [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CSX_8888_incident the famous Crazy Eights incident]]. The creators of the film also went to great lengths to accurately adhere to railway mechanics, physics and procedures. However, the producers do apply lots of ArtisticLicense to the road name, cab number and loco model - understandable, since which real railroad would want their brand associated with a runaway train in the first place?
** Perhaps the most egregious thing was one of the posters, mention [[WritersCannotDoMath "A Million Tons"]]. Consider that a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier weighs in at only a bit over 100,000 tons, while a million pounds is only 500 tons, or about the weight of two locomotives.
* ''Film/Super8'' featured a train which was, to all appearances, violating the existing class five freight speed limits...not to mention the fact that the most viable routing for the train (as shown in some of the viral material) was over Conrail tracks in 1979. Why is this a problem? Conrail inherited a broken down physical plant from the railroads which merged into it, meaning that there were slow orders all around. Potentially averted given who was doing the shipping...but given the number of derailments that occurred under the Penn Central in the years leading up to Conrail's formation, an incident of seriously questionable judgment.
** (Of course, it is worth giving credit to the viral team, who cobbled together a spot-on routing for the shipment (and one which would only involve three railroads, about as few as you could hope to run that train on back in 1979, as UP hadn't taken over about five other Class Is).
** [[CompletelyMissingThePoint It's highly unlikely]] that a single truck would derail an entire train in the first place.
* ''Film/BreakfastOnPluto'' generally makes a lot of effort with its 1970s setting, until the scene at Paddington station when Kitten goes back to Ireland, which has loads of clearly visible modern trains. But the budget probably didn't stretch to anything more authentic.
* ''Film/{{Speed}}'': the subway train they're on in the third act has no dead man's brake.
** That or Payne found a way to subvert it, just like he had with an elevator's emergency brakes earlier.
* ''Film/DancerInTheDark'': This [[http://www.treinfoto2000.be/Locomotieven/Nohab/Odense/GreatNorthern.jpg locomotive]] appears in the film. Great Northern never owned any of this model of locomotive, which was built by [=NoHAB=] in Sweden for the European market, but the film-makers thought it was the closest they could find to an American-style diesel.
** To be fair, this ''is'' a GM EMD construction licensed to [=NoHAB=], pretty much an EMD F7 adapted for Europe. The EMD bulldog noses should be a dead giveaway. Nevertheless, the three headlights, the cabs on both ends and the side buffers and couplings are typical for European locomotives (the only double-cabbed US carbody diesels were six-axle Baldwin shark noses).
* A shaky dance with plausibility in ''Film/BackToTheFuturePartIII'':
** In RealLife, the locomotive used, [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sierra_No._3 Sierra No. 3]], would have a hard time reaching even 65 MPH ''on a good day'', much less 88. Like electric engines, however, steam engines have the advantage of being measured in terms of pure Tractive Effort: their limiting factor is the amount of steam pressure they can generate and how long they have to build up momentum. As the engineer says, if you get the boiler hotter than Hades and have a long stretch of straight track and are willing to risk the whole thing blowing up or flying off the tracks, it's possible -- the infamous [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casey_Jones#Death Casey Jones wreck]] involved an engine with nearly identical stats pushed to an 80 mph "cannonball" run while hauling a light six-car train (with some help from a downhill stretch of track).
** Doc Brown states that the logs he has created for Marty to throw into the stolen locomotive are made mostly out of anthracite coal. While anthracite does burn much more efficiently than wood, it can also be incredibly difficult to ignite, especially when it isn't broken into very small pieces. The engine in the film was also designed to burn wood, which allow too much or too little air draft to ignite the coal even if Marty did have the time to sit there and baby it. The AuthorsSavingThrow here is the "mostly" -- if the logs consisted of finely-ground anthracite mixed with a firework-style oxidizer, it would be a rather effective way to force-feed the engine oxygen and fuel. Or blow it up like the test model.
** The last component is steam generation -- you would want as much water in the tender tank as possible, but you'd also have to make sure that it didn't flood the boiler either. [[note]]High heat + Empty boiler = KABOOM!... but High Heat + too much water = Also KABOOM! + blast wave of superheated steam![[/note]] Doc does mention that the boiler will catastrophically explode if it reaches a certain pressure, and during the last minute of the scene, rivets and seams are visibly failing and spewing vapor or jets of superheated water. Also, the train explicitly does retain the tender in the script (Doc commands the engineer and fireman to "uncouple the cars from the tender"). In RealLife, the tenders were often physically attached to the engine and could not be removed without significant effort anyway.
* The [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B57wvnwwQgk military train]] in ''Film/TheGoodTheBadAndTheUgly'' is quite clearly a Spanish steam engine (note the buffers as it pulls into the station) pulling European-style two-axle cars. By the 1860s, bogie cars were well-established in America.
* In the blockbuster film ''Film/{{The Avengers|2012}}'', at the beginning of the ComicBook/BlackWidow interrogation scene, we see an establishing shot of a Norfolk Southern freight train with American locomotives passing by the ratty looking warehouse where Natasha is [[strike:being interrogated]] conducting an interrogation. The only problem is that the scene is set in Russia, which is not only several thousand miles away from the nearest Norfolk Southern locomotive, but wouldn't even be the correct track gauge if such a locomotive happened to be imported. The producers were aware of problem and digitally [[BrandX removed the NS logo and lettering]], but the black on white NS paint scheme is nevertheless unmistakable as well as the North American railroad industrial design. The scene was shot in Cleveland (a good stand in for post-collapse Russia) and [[http://hamptonroads.com/2012/05/norfolk-southern-locomotive-has-avengers-cameo filming a passing train]] was a spur of the moment decision.
** They got the NS logo (the horse and the NS) but ''not'' the distinctive striping on the front of the locomotive. For a railfan, the easy assumption was that it was Russian mobsters in Newark (or some other Rust Belt city).
* The train scene in ''Film/{{Torque}}'' is nothing short of ridiculous. In a time when even the once-popular [=F40PH=] is being phased out, there's a single blank vintage EMD E unit on a [[http://www.movie-trains.com/torque.html train]] that would require at least two of them. The space between the coaches is wide enough for a motorcycle to jump through; also, the end doors are open, and there are no diaphragms which means that it'd be pretty windy inside the cars. And the center aisle is wide enough to ride a motorcycle through it at not really low speed. It doesn't really matter anymore that the headlights on the locomotive are off.
* A whole lot of things went JustTrainWrong in ''The Cassandra Crossing''.
** While [[http://img64.xooimage.com/views/b/9/9/the-cassandra-cro...---copie-24386f3.jpg/ an overnight train from Geneva to Stockholm]] isn't unthinkable, routing it via Paris is plain idiotic. Not only that, it travels from Geneva to Basel and then to Paris which is an even longer way than taking the direct route to Paris by entering France a few miles after Geneva. The train is zig-zagging its way through Europe. It's absolutely useless both to start in Geneva (because whoever wants to travel from Geneva to Paris would take a direct train) and to continue beyond Paris with a sleeping-car on the train (because it's not like there aren't any trains that can take you from Geneva to Brussels in ''much'' less time on a ''much'' shorter route). One could think that the American script writers picked some random European cities without informing themselves where exactly in Europe they're located, whether it makes sense to send a train that way, and whether Europe has a much denser network of long-distance railroad lines than the USA.
** Not to mention that it's impossible to let a train have Paris as a mere stopover because the six major stations in Paris are all dead-end, there is no long-distance railroad line ''through'' Paris, and trains from Basel arrive in a different station than where trains to Brussels depart. Trains can only start or terminate in Paris, but not stop. Traveling through Paris via train pretty much always involves changing stations via Métro. Unlike American transcontinental trains, a stopover in a dead-end station does not require turning the entire consist from the locomotive(s) to the last car around, European railroads would simply put another locomotive on the other end of the train and continue with that one, but in Paris' case, it'd require another massive detour to get to the right station or on the right line.
** Of five regular compartment cars, two are first class. Standard for express[=/=]intercity trains between Munich and Zürich in TheEighties, but a European overnight train would never have that much first class in comparison to the second class.
** Also, putting the sleeping-car between the two first-class coaches makes absolutely no sense. The passengers from the first first-class coach would have to walk through the sleeping-car to get to the train restaurant.
** Over such a long distance, one would expect couchette cars on the train along with at least one sleeping-car. There are none, and instead, there are way too many cars fit mostly for daytime travel.
** In the middle of a train runs a dining-car. This would make it highly difficult to shunt it out of the train, seeing as dining-cars weren't allowed anywhere ''near'' the ferry between Germany and Denmark in those days for fear of too much competition for the on-board restaurants. Also, this particular dining-car model isn't too likely to be allowed to operate in Denmark or Sweden. So it would have been removed from the middle of the train in Hamburg's busy main station where otherwise only a new locomotive would have been coupled to the other end of the train to reverse it.
** Besides, at the film's time, passenger trains in Denmark were heated with steam since the DSB didn't have diesels with head-end power yet. However, the Swiss RIC cars (the two first-class coaches, the three second-class coaches and the dining-car) didn't have steam heating, so they didn't even have pipes to run heating steam through. The Danish locomotive wouldn't have heated anything beyond the first baggage car running right behind it.
** When the train leaves "Geneva" ([[CaliforniaDoubling which is actually Basel SBB]], the train's next stop), two of the three second-car coaches are missing. The second baggage car at the end of the train is there, though.
** In Switzerland already, the train changes direction countless times. There are many scenes in which the two first-class coaches and the sleeping-car are in the rear half of the train.
** In some scenes, a train runs through the scene which doesn't have a single vehicle in common with the Europa-Express, neither the locomotive not any of the cars. One of them even contains German cars whereas the Europa-Express is an entirely Swiss consist. Since most passenger cars were green in West and Central Europe in those days, [[ViewersAreMorons it was believed that the audience wouldn't notice]].
** An infected dog is to be taken out of the train in a basket hung from a helicopter. This is impossible on tracks electrified with overhead catenary like almost every bit of Swiss railroad (and any mainline between Switzerland and Paris). However, when the basket comes near the train (and only then), [[http://www.rotaryaction.com/pages/casncros.html the catenary is suddenly missing]]. In these scenes, the train is pushed by an off-screen Bm 4[=/=]4 diesel locomotive while the electric locomotive with its pantographs down remains in plain sight.
** When the train approaches "Nuremberg", [[CaliforniaDoubling it is clearly running under Swiss catenary]].
** "Nuremberg"'s station itself is actually [[CaliforniaDoubling a freight station in Italy]]. Apparently, the American script writers didn't care because it used to be quite common for Amtrak stations especially in FlyoverCountry to have platforms not higher than the rails (i.e. you have to climb steps placed by the crew to board the train) or require the passengers to board from the ground next to the tracks. In Europe, however, passenger stations always have platforms at least high enough to reach the steps below the car door.
** The locomotive that's on the train upon arrival in "Nuremberg" is [[http://pics.imcdb.org/0is408/trainatjc9.1672.jpg an Italian E645 poorly disguised as a generic Swiss locomotive on one end]] to remotely resemble [[http://pics.imcdb.org/0is408/trainasgd8.424.jpg Re 4/4 II 11217 which was on the train all the time up to that point]] and numbered Re 4[=/=]4 III 11363 like the similar locomotive that pulls the train in some but not even most Swiss scenes. It's still clearly visible that the Italian locomotive has an articulated carbody, [[http://img54.xooimage.com/views/e/a/c/the-cassandra-cro...part-7_3-24412bc.jpg/ as are the real front windows behind the larger faux pseudo-Swiss ones]]. [[http://img.xooimage.com/files51/f/3/d/the-cassandra-cro...part-7_9-2441318.jpg The other end remained unchanged except for the green paint]]. [[http://www.imdb.com/media/rm3406863360/tt0074292?ref_=tt_ov_i This scene with this locomotive made it onto the movie poster]]. Both locomotives, by the way, would be unable to operate in Germany, the former because of the wrong current, the latter because the German catenary zig-zag is too wide.
** The sleeping-car has miraculously transformed from a modern MU to a roughly 40 years older Z, probably because the CIWL (Compagnie Internationale des Wagons-Lits = International Sleeping-Car Company) wouldn't let the film crew put those blinds on an almost new car.
** In "Nuremberg", the locomotive is replaced by a diesel. While in "Nuremberg", it's an Italian [=D143=]. A refurbished American wartime switcher which doesn't even have head-end power for the train (in fact, as a switcher, it doesn't have any train heating whatsoever) is supposed to haul it on the rest of its way. Immediately after leaving "Nuremberg" behind, the train rolls through daylight and what is said to be Poland behind a French first-series BB 66000 repainted green so that the differences in comparison with the previous Italian diesel aren't too obvious, although the BB 66000 looks nothing like a [=D143=], and maybe so that it looks more like an Eastern Bloc locomotive. (Originally and at that time still, the BB 66000 were blue.)
** [[http://pics.imcdb.org/0is179/trainayuy1.7738.jpg In one scene at a level crossing]], BB 66033 has red covers on her headlights, making them tail lights.
** Also, [[http://pics.imcdb.org/0is265/trainazpd7.6530.jpg both baggage cars suddenly run behind the BB 66000]].
** The second class is depicted as saloon cars to make it look clearly inferior to the protagonists' first class. The three Swiss RIC coaches which make up the second class are all compartment cars, though. Also, the interior shot shows a first-class saloon car with only one seat on one side of the aisle and two on the other and white headrest covers.
** When they were sealed, the two first-class coaches morphed into second-class coaches. This is very clearly visible: The first-class RIC coaches have nine compartments and a yellow line below the roof, the second-class RIC coaches have eleven or twelve compartments depending on the type.
** After "Nuremberg", there are armed guards on the roofs of the car. It's pretty hard to stand on top of the curved roof of a European passenger car, fluted or not, and even moreso when the car is moving and you're holding an assault rifle.
** According to the movie, there is a central electronic coupling control unit under the dining-car (and only there) from which all couplers on the train can be remote-controlled. In RealLife, however, European railroads still use the same manual chain-like couplings as in the mid-[=19th=] century. [[StuffBlowingUp Blasting one's way to that control box by detonating gas in the kitchen]] is just as much non-sense, for it'd rather rip the Swiss dining-car's aluminum carbody to shreds or at least blow the windows out than damage the floor.
** Besides, Swiss dining-cars have electric stoves. Where'd you get the gas then?
** What's actually blown up is [[http://images-02.delcampe-static.net/img_large/auction/000/022/013/422_001.jpg a not-so-faithful model]] of [[http://ekladata.com/iH8RhbEUk7tQQf1KPrQQStStKz0.jpg a French DEV regular steel dining-car]] that used to be all red back then. [[http://pics.imcdb.org/0is179/trainbjjr1.185.jpg The same model is eventually driven off the Cassandra bridge]].
** By the way, the dining-car interior shots (and a group shot of the actors) were taken inside a "light steel" dining-car from the 1930s. Note how [[http://pics.imcdb.org/0is225/trainankf2.7414.jpg the RIC dining-car has one-piece windows]] and [[https://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-the-cassandra-crossing-1976-ann-turkel-ray-lovelock-ava-gardner-lionel-29119935.html the one used for inside scenes has windows with sliding upper halves]].
** A more realistic way of uncoupling half the train would have been to undo the coupler underneath the footplates between the cars when there is no pulling force on them. A smarter solution would have been to simply pull the emergency brake which can't be bridged on these coaches (or at all in that time). And even if the emergency brakes had been disabled in any way, lifting one of the footplates and then opening the cock on one of the uncoupled main air line hoses or alternatively uncoupling the respective air hoses without closing the cocks would have stopped the train. But no, too easy and not flashy enough.
** If (not only) a European train is separated while running without properly uncoupling the brake hoses, the rear part will not simply roll out, nor will the front part travel on. When the air brake system is opened by ripping the hoses apart, and the pressure drops, the brakes will apply immediately in both halves of the train. In the movie, none of the two train halves brakes before one of the handbrakes on the separated rear part is used.
** It's clear from the locomotives and catenary already that only the scenes in Basel are shot on location while most of the rest doesn't even take place in the same country. Most of what should be France or Germany is actually Switzerland, Nuremberg's main station is in Italy, and Poland is actually France.
** One has to wonder who drives the train to the Cassandra Bridge and finally into the ravine. In RealLife European railroad operation, only a driver who knows that particular line and thus has a permit for it may drive that train on that line. But if he knows it well enough to be aware of the hazardous Cassandra Bridge, he'd know better than to drive an international express train with passengers aboard over that bridge, much less at such a speed. In fact, there must not be a single engineer in Czechoslovakia who doesn't know about the Cassandra Bridge.
** If the Cassandra Bridge is on the verge of collapsing, why isn't the line closed? Why do the Czechoslovak State Railways allow any train, especially an international express train with foreign (Western even) passenger coaches and passengers aboard, to enter that line and try to cross the bridge? How can they force a train driver onto that obvious SuicideMission? And no, they can't be forced by the USA because neither the CIA nor the US military could have any saying in an Eastern Bloc country.
** When the train falls off the Cassandra Bridge ([[CaliforniaDoubling which is actually the famous]] [[http://www.garabit.com/viaducgarabit/viaduc.htm Viaduc de Garabit]] in France, designed by Gustave Eiffel of Eiffel Tower fame), among the falling vehicles are the dining-car, clearly identifiable as the only red car in an otherwise mostly green consist, and two second-class coaches. Just minutes before, the dining-car and everything behind it was explosively uncoupled from the train.
** [[http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0074292/ The movie poster design used on IMDb]] clearly displays an older American GM-EMD hood unit standing in for the ''Europa-Express''.
** [[http://www.cinemapassion.com/jaquettesdvd/Le-pont-de-Cassandra--Canadienne-.php This DVD cover]] shows both the Italian [=E645=] decorated as a Swiss locomotive and the model train with the French dining-car standing in for the actual Swiss one.
* The 2012 version of ''Literature/AnnaKarenina'' features Creator/KeiraKnightley and Jude Law playing Russian aristocrats, and Great Western Railway engines at Didcot doubling as Russian engines in Moscow. Besides the difference in loading gauge, the main problem is the use of a 1920s/1930s-style [[http://www.flickr.com/photos/steam60163/7186668008/sizes/o/in/photostream/ Great Western engine]] as a 19th-century [[http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f5/Prokudin-Gorskii-26.jpg Russian engine]].
* The movie ''Film/TheIceman'' is set in the late 1960's--1970's. But a modern-day train is clearly visible in an establishing shot of the New York City skyline.
* ''Film/FlagsOfOurFathers'': At :43:05, [[http://fav.me/d414fp8 this]] [=EMD=] "F" unit can be seen pulling a train into Manchester, NH with New Hampshire hero Rene Gagnon aboard. While [=EMD=] was indeed building this style of locomotive starting in 1939, A careful inspection of spotting details reveals the lead loco to be an [=EMD=] [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EMD_F9 F9]], a post-war model not introduced until 1953. A more appropriate streamliner would have been an [[http://rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=2532908 EMD E7, preferably in Boston & Maine paint]].
** Not only are the diesels the wrong model, but their paint scheme is incorrect as well. The scene takes place in Manchester, NH in 1945 so the locomotives should be painted in the Boston & Maine Railroad's famous maroon and gold [[http://rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=2532908 "Minuteman" paint scheme]]. Instead, the engines are painted in an early 1990's Burlington Northern paint scheme. [[http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burlington_Northern Burlington Northern didn't even exist until 1970]]. This is somewhat understandable given the filming location (Glencoe, Illinois) and the almost non-existent availability of Boston & Maine diesels, however a working Boston & Maine streamliner operates at a tourist railroad in [[http://rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=3013819 New Hampshire]].
** Glencoe, Illinois stood in as Manchester, NH and the [[http://www.shore-line.org/FirstAndFastest/images/FooF02.jpg Glencoe station]] is visually similar to [[https://c2.staticflickr.com/2/1229/681099578_44c419ca8d_z.jpg?zz=1 Amoskeag Depot]], a railroad station that still stands in Manchester. However, when Rene Gagnon arrived in Manchester in 1945, he arrived at [[http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-VOqEokUbfRQ/TmDjb3ulO5I/AAAAAAAAAyU/auLeGqJYFO8/s1600/1987-49L-002.JPG Manchester Union Station]] (which was torn down in 1962), not Amoskeag Station. Plus, Glencoe is far less urban than the City of Manchester.
* The subway train scene in ''Film/{{Predator 2}}'' is set on a train in Los Angeles, or rather, a San Francisco UsefulNotes/{{BART}} train being passed off as an LACMTA Red Line train. Now, it's kinda justifiable since at the time the film was made (1990), the Los Angeles subway wasn't yet built. It was just beginning construction, and clearly not yet available for the film, which actually takes place in 1997, by which point, the line had opened in real life.
* The Shinkansen (bullet train) is powered by overhead lines, which ''Film/TheWolverine'' gets right -- the characters studiously try to avoid hitting them -- but these overhead lines power the trains by way of very large pantographs, which take up substantial space on the roof the train. We could HandWave it as the TraintopBattle occurring atop a part of the train without one, but careful watching suggests that simply do not exist on the bullet train in the film, which is shown zooming along with no physical connection to the catenary above it. Case in point: there are at least two obstacles mounted low enough to pass between the train and the overhead lines, and Logan is forced to (carefully) leap over them. The question of how they got there aside, each of these on their own would have been knocking the pantographs off every train that passed.
* ''Film/TheImitationGame'' has visible overhead wire in scenes set at Euston station. While third-rail electrification (on the Watford suburban services) has been there since 1915, overhead wire did not appear to the 1970s.
* In ''Film/{{Skyfall}}'', part of Bond's foot pursuit of Raoul Silva takes place in the London Underground, specifically on a Jubilee Line deep tube train that is trying to pass itself off as a subsurface District Line train.
** Also, due to both Temple and Embankment tube stations being cut and cover stations, both have their platforms in the same tunnel rather than separate ones.
* Because the UsefulNotes/WashingtonMetro operator WMATA does not permit the filming of TV or movie scenes involving violence in their system, the finale of ''Film/TheJackal'' where Declan Mulqueen chases Jackal into a Metro tunnel was filmed in Montreal, with a couple of stations being redressed in WMATA-type signage to look like it was done in the DC system (except for the somewhat obvious, to a metro fan, differences in station architecture and rolling stock — not the least of which is that the Montreal metro, unlike the Washington metro, ''has tires'', while the Washington Metro has conventional steel rails.)
* The rail insertion scene in ''Film/{{Sniper}}'' is shot in northern Queensland, although set in Central America. You can't hide this when your biggest clue is a train which still has Queensland Government Railways markings, when QGR has always been traditionally a Cape gauge (3'6") system, by sticking up plaques proclaiming it as the property of the Panama Railroad, which was, at time of filming, built to Old Russian (5') gauge, and therefore unlikely to have bought used QGR vehicles to re-gauge.
* The train chase in the Young Indy sequence of ''Film/{{Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade}}'' is filmed at the Cumbres & Toltec in New Mexico, which runs K-36 Mikados, not built until 1925. The scene is set in the 1910s.
* In ''Film/MurderOnTheOrientExpress1974'', the train copies the above mistake of operating a train from a low platform station (in reality a Paris freight terminal). The consist also includes a Pullman day coach, which never would have operated in the OrientExpress (in the UK and Europe, Pullmans are not sleeping cars).
* The 2013 thriller ''The Last Passenger'' is deliberately and clearly set in 2004 to get around the rolling-stock issue i.e. using a slam-door train, but the director turned the electric unit into a diesel one for artistic.
* ''Film/TheGirlOnTheTrain'':
** [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KkoEE1i0CX8 The teaser trailer]] for the 2016 film adaptation, which swaps the book's London setting for the more picturesque environs of the Metro-North Railroad's Hudson Line in New York's Westchester County, suggests the filmmakers used both the Hudson Line (along that river; the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ardsley-on-Hudson_(Metro-North_station) Ardsley-on-Hudson station]] can be seen in some scenes) and the New Haven Line (along Long Island Sound going into Connecticut, as its name suggests). In real life, the red-trimmed M8s of the latter (seen in one shot from above) would never be used on the Hudson Line, where Emily Blunt is shown on the interiors of what appear to be the M7s that are actually used. Also, there are no pedestrian tunnels under the Hudson Line's tracks; the one shown is on the Harlem Line in White Plains.
** The finished movie uses no shots of the red cars; averting the trope there. But ... at the end, we see Rachel from the outside of the train, talking in voiceover about how her life is different now, just as she does at the end of the book. An aerial shot of the train shows it is headed towards Bear Mountain and the Hudson Highlands. However, the train car she's sitting in is an M7 ''electric'' multiple-unit passenger car, while the train shown going north is headed by a dual-mode GE Genesis locomotive, which Metro-North operates purely under ''diesel'' power outside of the Park Avenue Tunnel north of Grand Central Station[[note]]since New York City bans the use of diesel locomotives in rail tunnels[[/note]]. In fact, the tracks at that point have no third rail, so she wouldn't have been sitting in an M7, and the interiors of the passenger cars used with Metro-North's diesel trains look completely different.
* Similarly, ''Film/EternalSunshineOfTheSpotlessMind'' passed off New Haven Line trains as their UsefulNotes/LongIslandRailRoad counterparts by putting a large logo over the red stripes.
* ''Film/WakeInFright'' begins around a halt named Tiboonda on the way to Silver City. This features a schoolhouse (borrowed from the NSW education department), a pub (a hollow prop) and a pipeline clustered about the halt, which doesn't even have a shade roof. The schoolhouse being in the middle of what was a wye gives a clue that this is actually Horse Lake, on the way to Broken Hill. The halt platform had to be rebuilt with a fake sign, as there hadn't been passenger services there for decades. A train even stopped there before filming, to allow the driver to lean out and call out "Where the $%^&$%^ am I?"
* ''Film/SpiderMan2'' has the traintop fight between Spidey and Doc Ock on top of a speeding elevated train in Manhattan. While the New York City Subway does have elevated routes, none of them are in Manhattan save for parts of the '''1''' train in the upper part of the peninsula. And no active NYCS trains have folding doors; they all having sliding doors. The entire scene itself was actually shot on the UsefulNotes/ChicagoL.

* A ''Series/ThomasTheTankEngine'' tie-in book (''not'' a proper ''[[Literature/TheRailwaySeries Railway Series]]'' one by the Rev. Awdry) has Gordon call Emily [[https://twitter.com/bengoldacre/status/696379488893018112 a tank engine]]. The author apparently thought that was just another word for steam engine, rather than specifically referring to one without a tender. Emily has a tender. It also has her say that she prefers to go "slow and steady", when she's based on a Sterling Single, specifically designed for speed.
* In ''Literature/TheLaundryFiles'', a number of statements are made about the railway system which wouldn't be true of the real one--for example, that East Grinstead is on the London to Brighton line. This has led to {{fanon}} that in the Laundryverse, the railway builders had a lot of trouble with DugTooDeep.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Some railway-related scenes from ''Series/DowntonAbbey'' have rather glaring errors. These include using LNER coaches on SR stations (two railway companies whose stock would likely never meet) and using a 1950s vintage steam locomotive in a 1920s show.
** One or two teak coaches in a rake of SR stock may be forgivable as through coaches and entire trains did run across the company boundaries, using coaches from whichever company. A train from Penzance (GWR) to Aberdeen (LNER) for example, which took 14 hrs even after the railways were nationalised and singing from the same songbook.
* "Body 21" from ''Series/WakingTheDead'' features a slam-door train.
* A fun game to play while watching ''Series/TheBill'' is spotting railway trains that have livery you would never see in East London, due to the South London filming location -- South West Trains for example.
* ''[[Series/TopGear James May's]] Toy Stories'' plays with this trope during the model train episode. In the episode, he revived a decommissioned piece of railroad in Britain using model train tracks. He and [[Series/OzAndJames Oz Clarke]] got into arguments about which model trains they should run based on historical accuracy.
* On ''Series/TheWildWildWest'', the characters are able to move between cars while the train is in motion even though there are only couplings and not walkways of any sort between the cars.
* Creator/TheHistoryChannel produced a documentary called ''Series/TheMenWhoBuiltAmerica''. Naturally, railroads need to be and are involved. Unfortunately, many of the scenes of steam locomotives feature many ''European'' locomotives and trains, most of which are anywhere from 30 to 60 years too new. It's particularly glaring in the episode featuring a major RailroadBaron. Either the producers decided to cut costs and use stock footage, or they couldn't be bothered to obtain footage of available North American locomotives, some of which would have even (mostly) looked the part for the scene being depicted.
* Another show that makes this mistake is ''Series/MurdochMysteries'', which has twice depicted Canadian trains using stock footage of British and Swiss trains.
* A notorious historic example occurred in ''Series/EdgeOfDarkness'', involving the symbolic nuclear waste trains that repeatedly appear. The creators weren't allowed to film a real nuclear waste train for security reasons, so they mocked one up by putting a wooden replica of the body of one of the medium-sized diesel locomotives used to haul nuclear waste trains on top of a small shunter. The results were cringeworthy to anyone who was at all familiar with the real thing.
* The shortlived [[TheSeventies Seventies]] show ''Series/{{Supertrain}}'' was basically made of this trope. It was a broad-gauge rail that went for three thousand miles, it was BiggerOnTheInside by a long shot, and despite being billed as a bullet train, a quick calculation puts its speed as less than 80 MPH. That's just the tip of the iceberg of a show that nearly took NBC to Bankruptcy Junction.
* The ''Series/{{Sherlock}}'' episode "The Empty Hearse" made the limitations of what filming locations London Underground make available [[http://www.buzzfeed.com/jimwaterson/the-london-underground-lines-in-sherlock-are-all-wrong painfully obviously to anyone who knows the network]]. They summed it up by saying, "the shape-shifting London Underground network is an even bigger mystery than working out how Sherlock survived his fall":
** The train [[spoiler:that one car disappears from]] is supposedly on the District Line (a full-size line), but the [=CCTV=] shots are very clearly filmed with 1996 Tube Stock at the disused Charing Cross station on the Jubilee Line (a tube line).
** The disused station that Sherlock and John explore is recognisably Aldwych.
** The exterior of the car they discover is the 1972 Bakerloo Line Tube Stock train that's parked there for filming, but the interior of the car is a 1978 D Stock car of the kind used on the District Line (as of writing, said D Stock is now being retired and replaced with S Stock trains).
** Sherlock concludes that the “five minute” journey between Westminster and St James’s Park must have somehow been made to last ten minutes. The journey takes less than two minutes in real life, and with 28 trains per hour on that line, there's little room for delays and no room to divert a train without a significant backup.
* An episode of ''Series/AgentsOfSHIELD'' set in Italy shows multi-track electrified track in stock footage... and single track non-electrified in the footage featuring the actors on the track.
** However, the train was running from Italy to Croatia, so unless the footage was interspersed, it could be explained as the train crossing into Eastern Europe. (There are vinyards in Croatia) Less forgivable, is the presence of a GM 'A' unit at the head of the train, when they could have just about got away with an SD40, a version of which was built in Yugoslavia.
* The ''Series/DoctorWho'' episode "Flatline" features, in modern day Bristol, two Class 117 multiple units - withdrawn in the 1990s - in BR Green!
** However, First Great Western have started to paint their units green with white stripes sort of kind of similar to the British Railways DMU livery so it might almost convince in the future. However, the headcode is for a trainload of ballast empties via Mountsorrel.
* In the first episode of season 2 of ''Series/HouseOfCardsUS'', Zoe Barnes is killed by getting shoved in front of a UsefulNotes/WashingtonMetro train at the Cathedral Heights station. Although there is a neighborhood in Washington DC called Cathedral Heights, it doesn't have a WMATA station, although the Red Line does service the nearby neighborhoods of Tenleytown, Cleveland Park and Woodley Park. The station also lacks the vaulted ceiling present at all inner city Washington Metro stations. [[https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/9d/MTAMaryland178.jpg The train]] also looks nothing like [[https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/ea/Alstom_6024_at_Branch_Avenue.jpg a real]] [[https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/db/Metro_7000-Series_railcar_debut_3.jpg Washington Metro train]]. The reason for all this is that, because WMATA doesn't allow scenes with violence to be filmed in their system, the scene had to be shot at Charles Street station on Baltimore's subway line. Averted with an earlier scene where Frank Underwood has a covert meeting with Zoe in the Archives - Navy Memorial station on the Yellow and Green Lines, which was filmed on location.
* In the ''Series/{{Monk}}'' episode "Mr. Monk and the Buried Treasure," there's one scene where Monk, Natalie, and Troy Kroger's friends are trying to decipher a map whilst parked near a grade crossing. Then a Metrolink train, which can only be found in Los Angeles, roars by, when they're supposedly somewhere in the East Bay like Niles Canyon.
* The season 3 opener of ''Series/RipperStreet'' features a train crash involving two locomotives not even of Victorian design and a character coming from Manchester Piccadilly station (which wasn't called that at the time).
* In episode 6 of ''Series/{{Cuffs}}'', the opening sequence involves the rescue of an elderly woman with dementia from a heritage railway. Where this trope comes in is that in between two shots, the steam engine flips around so that it's facing backwards rather than forwards.
* ''Series/StellaUK'' has one character make his way from the Welsh Valleys to London in about three hours, a bit of a stretch... but its Season 5 finale, going for a ''Film/BriefEncounter'' homage via a kitchen fire, gives Pontyberry a direct service to Middlesbrough on a two-coach Sprinter multiple unit, a journey that takes over seven hours in real-life with four changes.
* "Crazy Train", in the seventh season of ''Series/ModernFamily'', takes place on the Amtrak ''Coast Starlight'', which the family takes up to Portland for Didi's wedding. At one point Phil and Mitchell go back through the entire train to the caboose. American trains have not been required to have cabooses since the early 1980s, and have thus long since stopped using them, and in any case, passenger trains never had cabooses to begin with, only freight trains.
* ''Series/BetterCallSaul'': "Five-O" opens with Mike Ehrmantraut arriving by train into Albuquerque, New Mexico, ostensibly having traveled straight from Philadelphia after killing the two corrupt cops that set up his son's murder. However, 1) he's shown getting off a New Mexico Rail Runner train, which is the commuter railroad that connects Albuquerque to Santa Fe to the north and Belen to the south. In reality, Mike should be getting off Amtrak's ''Southwest Chief'', as that passes through Albuquerque. 2) [[AnachronismStew The scene takes place in 2002. The New Mexico Rail Runner didn't begin service until 2006.]]
** This is actually a common goof, as during season 2, New Mexico Rail Runner trains can be seen in the background of a few shots when Mike is working the booth at the courthouse parking lot, again in scenes set before 2006.
* ''Series/MissFishersMurderMysteries'', from the first season episode Murder on the Ballarat Train onwards. Victorian Government Railways of the time used Old Irish (5'3") gauge track, and the trains in the series are Cape gauge (3'6"), as they - and, for that matter, a lot of Australian productions needing a steam train - are shot on the [[http://bellarinerailway.com.au/ Bellarine Peninsular Railway]], which is Cape gauge. The trains are mostly very un-Victorian, given that they come from all over Australia, in a variety of liveries (ignoring, for the moment, the hapless tank engine roped in to play Thomas yearly) including distinctively Tasmanian, Queensland, and Western Australian types and some from industries such as a Broken Hill smelter and a Queensland sugar mill. The railway is a preservation line that doesn't go anywhere near Melbourne or Ballarat, beginning at Queenscliffe and travelling to Drysdale.
* ''Series/TheDefenders2017'':
** When Matt Murdock, Luke Cage and Jessica Jones take the subway to return to Midland Circle after staging a jailbreak from the 29th Precinct, they are clearly on a UsefulNotes/PortAuthorityTransHudson train passing for a UsefulNotes/NewYorkSubway train.
** When Luke is watching White Hat pick up Cole and some other men, he's supposedly in Harlem, yet he's standing under the BMT Jamaica Line in Brooklyn.
* ''Series/JessicaJones2015'':
** The same above-mentioned error of a PATH train posing as an NYCS train happens in the second episode when Jessica is taking the subway to go see the paramedic who picked up Kilgrave on the night of Reva's death.
** Later, PATH's 33rd Street station stands in for Lower East Side - Second Avenue for the scene where Jessica threatens Jeri Hogarth's ex-wife Wendy and drops her onto the tracks.
* ''Series/Daredevil2015'': In "Rabbit in a Snowstorm," Mitchell Ellison tells Ben Urich to do a worthless fluff piece about the subways ("Rumors Bubbling: Will Hell's Kitchen Finally Get a Subway Line?"). He tells Ben to take a poll on what color people in Hell's Kitchen might like, saying "Y'know, we've got a blue line, we've got a yellow line, we're running out of colors." New York City's subway lines are not referred to by colors, but by a letter or number. The line colors, aside from the G train and the shuttles, are based on which trunk line they use in Manhattan. Furthermore, Hell's Kitchen already has a subway line in the form of the IND Eighth Avenue Line and the Hudson Yards extension of the IRT Flushing Line.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Even to a person with little knowledge of steam locomotives, the artistic licence taken by ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSpiritTracks'' is quite glaring. First of all, the trains in the game are ''tiny'' compared to those in real life, secondly, the Spirit Train has no tender or supply car (Instead sporting a ''cannon'' of all things, which would likely be top heavy enough to tip the entire train over.) The spirit train is also very clean, with no sign of ash or smoke anywhere save for the pretty white puff-balls discharged from the chimney (Which appears to work as a whistle despite a separate whistle being clearly visible on the engine.) The train has no visible infrastructure, never runs out of water or coal, and the tracks have green ties and yellow rails and are insanely narrow. Also, the ties are arranged in a zig-zag pattern. That's several problems found without even having an in-depth knowledge of how locomotives are constructed.
** Aside of the fact that it's a [[AWizardDidIt Spirit Train]], the game does try to justify the flaws in locomotive design by having Anjean, who entrusts the Spirit Train to Link and Zelda, state that the train, a symbol of the spirits, doesn't normally transport ordinary people around.
** This is actually all justified by the story. Well as much as it can be justified by AWizardDidIt. The tracks aren't really tracks, they are magic shackles binding a demon lord that just happen to look like train tracks. And the Spirit Train is outright said to be magic.
* Sid Meier's Railroads is the last game in the ''VideoGame/RailroadTycoon'' series and completely omits tenders from all locomotives. Most players dislike this dumbed-down version of the game and some have created their own mods to restore the tenders.
* The 'Train Simulator' series usually places a strong emphasis on accuracy, but when the rights agreements aren't there, there can be issues. The biggest, as Dovetail Games had no deal with Virgin Trains, is the Class 390 Pendolino... in BR Intercity livery, which was only used before it was ordered.
* ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedSyndicate'' seems to get some of it right, but there are a few glaring errors. These include [[PaletteSwap the right locomotives but in the complete wrong livery]], [[AnachronismStew said locomotives being used too early]], and having London Victoria as a through station instead of a terminus.
* ''VideoGame/MiniMetro'':
** Many of the non-realistic elements can be forgiven for catering to the RuleOfFun. Passengers will accept any destination station corresponding to the icons that represent them, trains can only hold up to six passengers at a time with carriages adding six more each, trains can be easily removed from, added to, or relocated within the system with little delay, and so on.
** However, one particular element stands out: The game refers to the high-speed trains you can get in Osaka as ''Shinkansen''. ''Shinkansen'' is the name of the ''network'' of high-speed railways in Japan, not the term used for an individual train.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/ThomasTheTankEngine'' has some examples. Whilst the author of the books, Wilbert Awdry, was a railway buff who made a point of getting the details right in his books, there are many examples of unrealistic railway operation in the TV series, particularly in later seasons.
** Crane tank engines (such as Harvey) are not capable of locomotive salvage (they are used mainly for lifting and loading cargo).
** A Japanese engine such as Hiro, or an American locomotive like Hank, would not be able to run on traditional British rails. US engines have a much larger [[http://douglas-self.com/MUSEUM/LOCOLOCO/loadgauge/loadgauge.htm loading gauge.]] than on British lines, and so would collide with the first bridge or platform it encountered. Whilst Japanese steam engines are a similar size to those in the UK, they were built for a narrower track gauge, and changing the gauge would make it too wide (as the cylinders, the widest point, would have to move out).
** Engines cannot switch tracks of their own volition, as the pointwork is controlled from levers, either as an open frame or in a building, beside the line and not from aboard the engine. The sole exception are tramways.
** It would be impractical, if not impossible, to build a railway line over a dam.
** It's dangerous to push trains that aren't designed to operate that way. It's extremely dangerous to push trains in a snowstorm. It's even more dangerous to push trains in a snowstorm without a brakevan.
** A "grabber" style crane would not be used in the scrapping of a railway locomotive.
** Steam locomotives do not have "engines", they '''are''' the engine.
*** Actually a matter of semantics. The term 'engine' is generally accepted in Britain, at least for steam power. And locomotives do have engines, as in a pair of pistons driving a mechanism. Articulated locomotives have two of them.
** The entire climax of ''The Great Discovery'':
*** Standard gauge locomotives are not allowed to work in mineshafts.
*** It's physically impossible to suspend railway tracks in such a way to support a steam locomotive.
*** There's no water current strong enough to propel a locomotive down a river.
*** The infamous RampJump scene is impossible in itself.
*** Thomas shouldn't have had any steam left at all, it should have gradually leaked out.
*** You can't just move coal from one engine to another and expect it to start a fire -- especially one whose firebox was previously flooded.
*** It's impossible to operate a steam engine without a water injector.
** The general weirdness of the Misty Island railway: The [[NoOSHACompliance zipline and the Shake Shake Bridge.]]
*** Diesel wouldn't have been able to outrun Thomas, as Class 08 shunters have a max speed of 15 or 20 mph.
*** Diesel would never have been able to keep his balance on the edge of the bridge. His spinning wheels would have caused the rails to bend, making him fall.
*** It's unsafe for steam engines to travel underground over long distances. The smoke and steam would make the air toxic and suffocate the engine's crew.
** A steam locomotive running out of water wouldn't stop like a car out of petrol: its boiler would explode.
*** If it was short of water in the boiler the fire would be put out to prevent such a thing happening (and are designed to let water from the boiler into the fire if the level gets too low); such a scenario occurred in an early book, and whilst unpleasant the engine could continue with a reduced fire.
* ''WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes'' and ''WesternAnimation/MerrieMelodies'':
** Any WesternAnimation/WileECoyoteAndTheRoadrunner short involving a train as one of the gags. One short had Coyote placing a set of fake train tracks and signal to try to get at the Road Runner ... except that Wile E. gets hit by a real train that comes out of nowhere! In another short, Wile E. chases Road Runner into a train tunnel and is scared back by the lights of an approaching train ... only to find it is the Road Runner wearing a miner's helmet; it traps the Coyote into a false sense of security when he chases the bird back into the tunnel and he refuses to budge because he thinks this train is a fak ... OOF! And don't forget the time Wile E. painted a train engine, complete with tracks ... and even going so far as to place fake tracks in front of the "tunnel"; after starting another chase, the Road Runner races into the tunnel as though it was there ... but guess what comes bursting out moments after the Coyote runs smack into the side of the tunnel and he walks off in a daze.
** In "Wild and Wooly Hare," Bugs and Yosemite Sam are charging each other, playing chicken with locomotives. Sam chickens out first, before Bugs pulls a lever lifting his train up on extenders. Except.. aren't all the wheels still on the same rails? RuleOfFunny.
** 1937's ''WesternAnimation/PorkysRailroad'' has Porky's tiny, very old fashioned (even for the late 30's) steam engine being powered by a measly ''candlestick'' sitting in its boiler.
* {{The Iron Giant}} features a cross between a Norfolk & Western J-Class steam locomotive and a New York Central Dreyfuss steam locomotive, when in reality a Maine Central diesel locomotive would be more fitting for coastal Maine in 1957.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Chuggington}}'' has taken a lot of artistic licence with regard to railway operations:
** The steam locomotive characters lack tenders (one had one, but it wasn't used and rusted away), and apparently take on water directly into the boiler.
** Locomotives are much more dynamic that any real locomotive, and can ''jump off the rails'' and bounce back down ''perfectly''.
* The film adaptation of ''The Little Engine that Could'' featured several steam locomotives that for some reason do not have tenders.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheIllusionist'' generally does a brilliant job of capturing early-1960s Britain... apart from some very French-looking railway carriages in the background at Kings Cross station.
* The engine pulling the train in the revised intro for ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' has neither a tender nor a bunker and onboard water tanks. The coal is carried inside the cab. The train in "Over a Barrel" is similarly lacking in any of these features, and even has ponies pulling the train while still having enough steam for the whistle.
** In [="MMMystery on the Friendship Express"=] there's a scene involving the fireman (fire-pony?) shoveling coal into the engine's firebox. Pinkie Pie calls this pony a conductor. Conductors do not shovel coal, that's the fireman. This one's easy to HandWave as Pinkie not knowing what she's talking about, however.
** Since season 4, any scene taking place at the train station is accompanied with the background sounds of a diesel locomotive idling despite there only being steam trains in the show.
** In "Three's A Crowd", one scene depicts a [[CoolTrain streamlined steam locomotive]]...with four wheels, a giant funnel, and no cylinders or ''axles''.
* A common error in many cartoons is for steam engines to be operated by only the driver (engineer in American terms), with the fireman being mysteriously absent. Slightly TruthInTelevision: smaller tank engines used for shunting or short lines were able to be operated by one person most of the time, but not large mainline tender engines.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheTransformers'': Astrotrain's locomotive form has no tender. More forgivable in this case than in others, because of the whole "really an alien robot" thing, but it still ruins any chance of him passing as a proper locomotive. A little less forgivable in his spotlight episode "Triple Takeover", set in 1985, where he tries to assemble an army of trains at a busy station -- and almost all the trains look like 1930s' diesel locomotives, including a few experimental models (one of which resembles the Burlington Pioneer Zephyr), scrapped or retired decades before events of that time.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* The Soviet Union used a broader rail gauge than the rest of Europe, posing some potential logistics problems for UsefulNotes/NaziGermany which they solved in typical Nazi fashion by using slave labor to change captured rail lines in former Soviet territory from Russian gauge to Standard gauge. They also transshipped loads and even regauged cars by the simple expedients of swapping the car bodies to a new set of bogies (trucks in American parlance). While this worked well as a stop-gap it was uneconomical for long term use since changing rail gauge is so simple -- just unspike the rail, shift it three and a half inches, and spike it back down--that a relatively small crew could regauge an entire line in a remarkably short period of time. When the Russians recaptured an area they simply set the track back to Russian gauge, unless the Germans had also cut off or replaced the crossties, in which case they had to be replaced.
** On the other hand, when the Soviet Union captured the previously Japanese held Southern Sakhalin, they found it uneconomical to regauge the Japanese-built railways, as they were built to the narrow Cape gauge (1067 mm) and with the light ballasting and loading gauges incompatible with the much heavier Soviet standards, so adapting the network to them essentially boiled down to rebuilding the whole railway anew, which they simply hadn't had the resources after the devastating war. Though they eventually widened the loading gauge and used the Soviet-made rolling stock with the Cape-adapted bogies, only after the TurnOfTheMillenium, when the island's oil industry overloaded the railway, the project to regauge the Sakhalin network took off in earnest, and it's projected to lag a fair bit into the New Twenties.
* Runaway trains just do not happen in normal operation, due to the entire braking system being designed in a fail-safe manner. Any loss of pressure in the brake line or command authority in an electric control system will automatically apply the brakes on any set of wagons built after the 1870s, and most heavily-laden trains had a brake van/caboose at the rear before that. Almost all passenger and many freight locomotives contain alertness features that sense if there is a live operator and stop the train if there is not.\\\
That said, the fail safety of the braking system can be disabled by accident [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ciurea_rail_disaster as in the 1917 Ciurea train disaster]], which leads to a number of runaway incidents every year. However, in modern times, due to brake test requirements, runaways are usually just parked cars or trainsets that get loose from a yard.\\\
Improper handling of long freight trains can lead to a complete loss of braking air resulting in a runaway. Overloaded trains can also have insufficient braking force to stop the mass. Some freight locomotives are not equipped with crew alertness (Deadman) devices, and some that are can be circumvented either deliberately or accidentally during the course of a HollywoodHeartAttack.
** Though this is almost always true now, there are things that ''can'' go wrong to result in a runaway train. In a particularly infamous incident during the 1950s, a GG-1 locomotive wound up parked in what is now the Washington Union Station food court after some valves on the brakes malfunctioned and others were accidentally left closed, leaving the brakes released. With that said, the whole affair was surprisingly free of drama (the relevant parts of the station were cleared in an orderly fashion, while most of the passengers just thought they'd had a rough stop), and incidents like that are hardly long enough for even a TV episode. This was the incident that inspired the finale to ''Film/TheSilverStreak''.
** Rather than a train's brakes being out of commission, as usually happens in "runaway train" scenarios in fiction, RealLife accidents can and do happen if there's a ''sudden'' and unplanned need for a train to stop. Vehicles stalled out on the tracks are a common reason why a train might crash into something, simply because it takes a long time for even perfectly-functional brakes to halt anything so heavy.
* If it is required to blow a train up in a UK drama plot, expect the train to be an Electric Multiple Unit or Diesel Multiple Unit of the Mark 1 slam-door stock variety. These were withdrawn from mainline service in 2005, although a number run on heritage lines. Train companies don't like you blowing up their Desiros or Pacers. Although there are plenty of enthusiasts who would enjoy that a lot.
* During filming of ''Film/HarryPotterAndTheChamberOfSecrets,'' they ran into this trope while filming the Hogwarts Express in Scotland - the engine used was built by the Great Western Railway, which had a wider loading gauge than was normal in Britain. This meant that the engine fouled station platforms when being driven to filming locations. Slightly ironic, given that most on-screen railway inaccuracies could have been satisfactorily resolved by saying that AWizardDidIt.
* One which turns up in real-world news reports and many fictional works is the belief that severing a coupling between two vehicles in a moving train inevitably leads to a huge crash. Passenger trains in developed countries since the early 20th century, and freight trains since after World War II, have automatic continuous braking systems that will automatically safely slow and stop a train if a coupling breaks. In earlier times, it was possible for a part of a train that broke off to run away unbraked and derail or collide with something (including possibly the front half of the train). However, even then breaking a coupling would not immediately cause the whole train to leap off the tracks and [[EveryCarIsAPinto explode]].
* Most cartoon trains are actually six-wheeled steam locomotives without tenders that cannot decide whether they should be a 0-4-2, a 0-6-0, a 2-2-2, a 2-4-0, or a 4-2-0. It may or may not have drive rods.
* It's commonly said that train engineers on the job for any reasonable length of time will kill somebody, due to the sheer ignorance of your average person about trains. Police and emergency personnel sometimes are trained to simply restrain a person and drag them off the tracks, since that's easier than explaining that the train they see 100 feet away has already applied the brakes, and it is still going to destroy their car.
** At least German journalists haven't understood this yet. When a car crossed a closed level crossing and was hit by a train, they write about the train speeding into the car. Seriously, if a 1.5-ton sedan with five meters of hydraulic brake lines running rubber tires on asphalt takes 35 metres to stop from 100[[superscript:km]]∕[[subscript:h]], that doesn't mean that a 400-ton regional train or a 600-ton Intercity with 200 or 300 metres of pneumatic brake lines running steel wheels on steel tracks can do the same.
** This is an ongoing issue is parts of Australia, with public idiocy regarding train line crossings semi-regularly appearing in the news (to the point where Melbourne's Metro railway [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJNR2EpS0jw made a video and ditty about it to emphasise how stupid messing about the tracks is]]).To demonstrate the point, one new presenter was put behind the controls of a training system to show just how little he could do, even with a kilometer's notice, to prevent [[NightmareFuel gradually bearing down closer and closer to a car stopped on the tracks until the train hit with enough momentum left to crush it like an aluminium can.]]
--> ''"That's not a simulator, that's a horror movie."''
** In the UK, this is even more serious because on at least two occasions, collisions with a vehicle on the tracks has actually ''derailed a passenger train''. Network Rail eventually threw up their hands and began the long and expensive process of replacing level crossings with bridges over the railway.
** In Russia the engineer who ran over someone is given a mandatory leave and psychologic counseling, because the authorities recognise that engineer ''cannot'' do anything about something or someone suddenly appearing on the tracks. ''It is on the books'', and there's a rumor (probably being spread by Russian Railways to educate the public) that engineers are trained ''not'' to apply the brakes if something appears on tracks within stopping distance. This is probably untrue, as it risks derailment, but is ''does'' work somewhat as a tactic to ScareEmStraight.
* Swedish locomotive builder, Nohab, built locomotives under license to [=GM EMD=] for European railroads. [[http://classicstreamliners.deviantart.com/gallery/40506998#/d4se3da This]] is a decent example. The Santa Fe never served Europe, so why is [[http://classicstreamliners.deviantart.com/gallery/40506998#/d28n2ug this locomotive]] painted in ATSF's Warbonnet scheme? The same could be said of [[http://www.treinfoto2000.be/Locomotieven/Nohab/Odense/GreatNorthern.jpg this]] locomotive, which was repainted for a role in ''Film/DancerInTheDark''. Perhaps it's the Nohab's understandable and uncanny resemblance to [=EMD=]'s ubiquitous F-Units of the 1940s and 50s.
* After a train derailed in the UK, the a spokesperson for the train company praised the heroic driver for "staying at his controls and helping to keep the train upright and prevent more casualties". Some media even took this as far as saying that he steered the train to safety. As anyone, even a small child, with any knowledge of how railways works knows, trains cannot be steered and go where the rails take them, and once they are off the rails there is nothing anyone can do beyond throwing in the emergency brakes and holding on.
** With the same accident, there was also praise about how well the at the time new train had stood up with just superficial damage and just one fatality. It was said to be "built like a tank", and there were many comments about "if it had been one of the old trains this would have been much worse". This was ironic and wrong in two ways. Firstly modern trains, like modern cars, are designed to crumple in accidents to reduce the impact forces on passengers (unlike older trains and cars that often really were built like tanks), and the fact that there was little damage showed that really the forces on the train had been very little. Secondly the "old trains" that had been replaced had been involved in many accidents during their nearly 30 years in service, many far more serious (including 4 100mph + head on collisions) yet all had involved far less casualties than would be expected, and that had led to praise for their strength and tank-like construction.
*** A train crash does not "work" like a car crash. Maximum decelerations are much lower, and the main danger to passengers is being crushed by the carriages deforming. This was particularly evident with the old-style body-on-chassis construction where carriages would "telescope" into the end of each other with the chassis of one destroying the body of the next along with the people inside. Modern carriages - such as the BR Mk 3 introduced in the 70s and subsequent designs based on it - are designed to resist crash loads, especially end loading, ''without'' deforming. This is very evident when comparing photographs of severe crashes of old-construction trains, with mangled piles of wreckage, to photos of high speed crashes of modern deformation-resistant stock, where the carriages are scattered about the landscape but remain more or less intact. See for instance Hatfield, Great Heck, Esschede; most of the carriages are little damaged apart from one or two that broke their back against an OLE mast or that were crushed by a bridge falling on them, and it is in those damaged carriages that the majority of deaths and serious injuries occurred.
* Subverted by "fireless" steam locomotives that had neither a fuel bunker nor a water tank. These operated where the risk of fire or explosion was great (often inside certain factories), and the steam was replenished from an outside source. Some outlasted steam engines in regular mainline service for many years.
* Random articles about Indian Railways on various news portals and possibly some printed newspapers often show ''the same morphed picture'' of a locomotive of an Australian trans-continental train called Indian Pacific, whose name appears on the locomotive- only for ''Pacific'' to be shopped into ''Railways''. One such news portal was twice guilty of this trope- after this, since the article was on Southern Railway of India, put up a picture of a locomotive that belonged to Southern Railway in the United States, whose design and livery are nowhere present in India, where the names various Railway Zones are not painted on locomotives, but on coaches.
* Read any given English language article on UsefulNotes/HighSpeedRail and look for the mistakes. It's fun! Classics include mixing up average and top speeds ("UsefulNotes/{{China}} runs trains at 300 km/h whereas hours only average 50 mph"), calling it "the" or "a" high speed rail, as if the rail itself was somehow high speed (no it's not, "high speed rail" is shorthand for "rail vehicles and technology that allow operation at high speed" the physical line is called [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin a "high speed ''line''"]]), getting usual ticket costs wrong, weird notions on what a "profitable" rail line means and of course lots and lots of misconceptions on how trains work. No, high speed rail will not simply use the existing single track infrastructure, no there will be no level crossings with trains passing at 200 mph, no high speed rail does not use Diesel, no high speed rail does not usually share track with freight. Some of this can be excused by HSR simply not existing in most of the Anglosphere.
* Unrealistic scale is common in rail modelling. For example curves are usually much tighter compared to the width of the track than on a real railway, simply because a true scale curve would be enormous, and wheels and rails are usually thicker-than-scale for sufficient strength. Most modellers don't mind this, but "fine scale" modellers strive for greater precision. Indeed, the availability of closer-to-realistic model railway equipment has increased dramatically since the 1990s.
** The most common gauge used in UK modelling, OO (1:76[[LudicrousPrecision .2]], or 4mm to the foot), is a "bastard scale" that's technically an example of this trope, with 4mm-scale models running on 3.5mm-scale track. It was originally designed to allow more room for clockwork mechanisms inside models of UK locomotives (which were slightly smaller than their European and American counterparts), but still running on the same HO (1:87, or 3.5mm to the foot) track. This means many models have a slightly "narrow-gauge" look when viewed head-on. EM gauge, and the even more precise P4, are "finescale" variants, with (usually) handbuilt track at true 4mm scale.

* Though difficult to classify, this listing of scenic US train rides has a miss-matched [[http://www.msn.com/en-us/travel/tripideas/the-most-scenic-train-rides-across-america/ss-BBAwS4g#image=1 front page image]]. With a selection of railroads to choose from, they chose a non-US train?