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->''"Plot cliche #372: If your characters are walking on train tracks, you can bet your ass there's gonna be a train passing by to endanger their lives."''
-->-- [[https://youtu.be/RJAEVBf5Q_Q?t=1325 GamingSins]] on ''VideoGame/LifeIsStrange''

Any time you see railroad tracks on television, a train will appear, usually while central characters are walking across it or, even better, when for some reason or another they're stuck on the tracks. The train itself will always show up whenever it's least convenient, no matter how long the wait or what the schedule says, it's always running on-time to nearly kill you. Of course, the key word back there is "nearly"- while this kind of thing would seem to be a high risk endeavor, usually, one way or another, they manage to get off the tracks in time.

Bear in mind that it is very, very rare for someone's life to be saved because the train actually stops; this is TruthInTelevision, since a real-life train can need upwards of 2 kilometers (over 1 mile) in order to come to a full stop (unless it's a subway or light rail train, in which case stopping distance decreases to about 50 meters, but that's still risking a lot).

May be inversely linked to the prevalence of rail as a viable mode of transportation in a given country; in Japan, for example, train tracks are only rarely portrayed as something people would be stupid enough to dally upon, unless they are deliberately TemptingFate, or else [[{{Manga/Gantz}} trying to save someone else who has fallen onto the tracks]].

See ChainedToARailway for when this is done deliberately as opposed to being the result of wrong place, wrong time. May involve OneDimensionalThinking on part of the escaping individuals.

Compare TrainStopping.


* A series of television advertisements, presented by '''Operation: Lifesaver''',a non-profit group aimed at raising safety awareness around railroad crossings, often present graphic commercials urging safety and caution.
** One of Operation: Lifesaver's most memorable campaigns was the "These are the next 60 seconds of your life ... " series. Those commercials featured a central character disobeying or disregarding a basic rule, such as driving around lowered gates or driving over a set of double tracks immediately after one train passes (only to be hit by a second oncoming train) and the deadly consequences played out. A clock, on the lower part of the screen, quickly ticks away the seconds from the beginning to the grisly outcome. As such, the commercials were formulatic and predictable (someone's going to die) ... but definitely effective.\\
'''An example''': A babelicious college-aged girl, wearing a plain white T-shirt and jeans, is driving her sports car at 55 mph and texting a friend as she nears a railroad crossing with a train coming. The ominiously toned announcer reminds audiences of the warning (in this case, "You chose to text on your cell phone while driving") before stating, "These are the next 60 seconds of your life.") The scene will shift back and forth between the train and the driver -- in this case, the engineer frantically sounds the horn and the young woman just presses the "send" button on her mobile device as her car enters the crossing ... and is struck by the train. The deadly consequence shown (the dead woman, horribly bloodied and entangled in the twisted frame of the car) before the announcer finishes with "America's roads can be highways or dieways ... the choice is yours!"
** While most scenarios involve driving into the path of a train, other scenarios involving dangers around railroads -- such as young teen-agers playing on the tracks -- are presented. In that commercial, two of the three boys walking along the tracks are killed (one after he got his leg stuck after falling through a ledge on a railroad overpass, the other as he was running on the bridge), while the third just escapes and can only watch.
* The last four ''DumbWaysToDie''.

* Done repeatedly in ''Anime/TheGirlWhoLeaptThroughTime''. It's the same train every time, thanks to TimeTravel, and the main character trying to prevent anyone from dying there is a major part of the plot.
* The very first chapter of ''Manga/{{Gantz}}'' has a subway train coming just as the main characters are attempting to help a drunk who has fallen off the platform.
* The final episode of ''Anime/HaibaneRenmei'' has a scene where [[spoiler:Reki]] stands in front of an imaginary train track waiting for it to [[DrivenToSuicide run her over]]. It goes away when she gives in and [[spoiler:finally asks for help from Rakka]].
* Inverted in ''Manga/{{Trigun}}'': The bad guys are attempting to send the sand steamer (essentially, a giant track-less train) over a cliff.
* In the first ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' film, the title character is traversing a tunnel when rails appear out of the ground. The train follows soon after.
** [[Literature/ThePolarExpress "THE POLAR EXPRESS]] [[WebVideo/NarutoTheAbridgedComedyFandubSpoofSeriesShow IS TRYING TO KILL MEEEEE!"]]
* Happens in ''JojosBizarreAdventure'' during the fight against Mariah, whose Stand has made Joseph and Avdol magnetic. When they try to cross a railway track in order to get to her, they get stuck on it.
* ''Manga/TheKurosagiCorpseDeliveryService'' once came across a train crossing where a number of local sounds (the train crossing chime, a passing truck...) combined to give people suicidal feelings. A suggestion to record the sounds to sell them to suicidal people who couldn't quite take the final step was quickly shot down.
** One character lost her mother to a train when she was a kid. The colossal asshole driving gave her her mother's head in a bag as he had to get the train going again.

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* Brad Bird likes inverting this trope. In ''WesternAnimation/TheIncredibles'', Bomb Voyage's grenade destroys the El Train tracks right as a train is rounding the corner.
* ''Disney/TheAristocats'': The cats are crossing a railroad trestle. A train approaches from the front, they jump underneath for safety. One of them falls into the river below.
* In Disney's ''Disney/TheFoxAndTheHound'', Chief chases Tod the fox onto a set of nearby railroad tracks, and then they begin to cross a trestle. As their luck would have it, a high-speed train comes barreling towards them. Tod is able to duck underneath the rails and let the train harmlessly pass over him, but the locomotive knocks Chief off the trestle, causing him to fall to the rocky river below with a broken leg. The chief was actually supposed to ''die'' this way, making Copper's revenge against Tod more extreme, but Disney thought this would've been too over-the-top and intense.
* Happens to [[LoanShark Sykes]] at the end of ''Disney/OliverAndCompany''. Done ''literally'' with his pet dobermans, however (they're electrified subway rails due to the third rail, so when Oliver threw them off Sykes' car, the two are both immediately electrocuted upon hitting those tracks, and because of the third rail's voltage, the electrocution was fatal).
%%* Trev Diesel from ''WesternAnimation/{{Cars}}''.
* At the very beginning of ''WesternAnimation/{{Cars 2}}'', Lightning [=McQueen=] and Mater can be seen exploring an abandoned railroad tunnel, only to be chased out by... [[BigShadowLittleCreature ...a Galloping Goose.]]

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/LastClearChance'': A 1959 driver's education film, financed by Union Pacific Railroad, depicting the dangers posed by railroad tracks and what happens if drivers fail to pay attention or heed basic safety rules near tracks. The movie's grim ending – a young man being killed and his fiancé (presumably) mortally injured but initially surviving, after waving back at the young man's younger brother and unaware the car the young couple is in is about to be struck by a train – and two rail workers observing, "Why don't they pay attention?" would become much maligned by critics and would be ridiculed in the television series ''Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000''. However, the film itself was praised by many other critics who lauded the film's sobering message about driver safety, especially around railroad crossings.
* Union Pacific – and other railroad companies and, much later, Operation Lifesaver – came out with several other driver's education films stressing railroad safety and depicting the deadly consequences of car-train collisions. Examples:
** "Look, Listen, Live," produced by UP in the mid-1940s (circa 1948-1949). One of the dramatizations is of a family of five who, en route to a park for a picnic, are killed when their car collides with a train after the father (who was driving) neglected to look for trains before driving across the tracks, insisting "there are no trains this time of the day" - the moral, of course, being that a train can be expected at any crossing at any time of the day. The story of the ill-fated picnic trip famously also shows a terrier waiting for his masters to return home – set to the tune of "Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone" – unaware that the wait will be in vain. Film clips of three other crossings where deadly collisions had taken place are also shown, as is a re-enactment of a young, high-strung driver who barely avoids his own car-train collision, and is visibly shaken after managing to stop his car a short distance away from the tracks … wondering what might have been … and lucky.
* Creator/BusterKeaton ''[[RailEnthusiast loved]]'' this trope. An especially fine example is the ending of his short ''Film/OneWeek'', in which the DIY house is demolished by an oncoming train.
* The big-screen version of ''Film/TheFugitive'' has the bus transporting Kimble and company to death row rolling off the road and onto a railroad track when the driver is shot by a convict attempting to escape. Kimble just has time to pull an injured guard from the bus before the inevitable highballing freight hits.
* In ''Film/HomewardBoundTheIncredibleJourney'', the railway is literally the last thing they cross- and it's at exactly this point that their injuries catch up with them.
* At the end of ''Film/BackToTheFuturePartIII'', Marty returns to 1985 in the De Lorean on train tracks (since without gasoline in 1885, it was necessary to use a train to boost the car up to the needed 88 MPH) and notices a nearby crossing signal is blinking red. At first he thinks it's just because of him—but quickly discovers that he coincidentally landed on the tracks at the exact same time as a freight train shows up.
* Subverted in the movie ''Film/OctoberSky'': The boys rip up the tracks of a supposedly-abandoned spur line to sell the iron for scrap. One of the boys lampshades this trope, asking if the the tracks really are unused. Sure enough, the moment they've got the heavy rail fully out of alignment, they hear a whistle... Frantically, they try to get the rail back in place, seemingly to no avail as the locomotive bears down on them... Then at the last moment, the train turns away down the main line; and the camera pulls back to reveal that the line they tore up ''was'' inactive. As the train passes, the engineer gives them a wave and a confused look.
** For just this reason, it is illegal for US scrapyards to accept railroad ties, spikes, rails or any other part of the track. Probably wasn't the case back then though as the film takes place in the late [[TheFifties 1950s]].
* Ryan's father in ''Film/TheDustFactory'' was killed when the car he and his mother was in stalled on the tracks--his father had been following behind in another car, and [[HeroicSacrifice rammed his car into theirs to push them off the tracks]] just as the train was coming.
* In ''Film/FinalDestination1'', Carter deliberately stops on the train tracks in an attempt to prove that he "controls his own destiny". Having made his point he discovers that his car won't start and his seat belt is jammed as the train bears down on him.
** [[spoiler:Although he escapes, a piece of the resulting shrapnel means that Billy isn't so lucky.]]
* In the first act of ''Film/{{Hancock}}'', the titular character saves Ray's life after his car got trapped on the railway tracks being blocked from the front and back by a traffic jam (which leads one to think: [[FridgeLogic wouldn't an area with the risk of that happening have crossing gates at the very least, if not complete grade separation of the tracks and roadway?]])
** In as urban an area as that appeared to be, definitely; there are less urban areas that do not have gates that that could happen. Would have to be pretty stupid to get onto the tracks without guaranteed room to get off, though.
* Film/JamesBond in ''Film/{{Octopussy}}'' is chasing the baddie escaping by train when all the tyres of his Mercedes get shot off. He's in luck since the car's wheels are the exact same gauge of the track the train he is chasing is on; [[RuleOfCool so he proceeds to move the car on to the track and drive on the set of rails next to the escaping train's.]] Some skidding later, he's making good progress when another train is rushing right at him, so he wisely hops off whilst the Merc gets ploughed right through by the train.
* A similar car-on-tracks moment is in ''The Flim-Flam Man,'' using the tracks as a getaway route until the train appears.
* The beginning of the movie ''Film/FriedGreenTomatoes'' uses this trope.
* ''Film/IronWill'': A few kids lead Will to a shortcut across a railroad bridge in order to finish a race. A train approaches from behind and one of the dogs was stuck.
* ''Film/{{Inception}}'': ''You're waiting for a train...'' The first time [[spoiler: Mal and Dom lay down on railroad tracks intentionally, so they can kill themselves and get out of Limbo. Presumably, since they're creating the dreamworld, the tracks and train are there because they ''want'' them there.]] The second time... well, who even needs tracks?
* ''Film/{{Fireproof}}'' has this when a wrecked car (with people inside) is stuck on the railroad tracks. The main character (a firefighter) dispatches a message to stop all trains in the area, but guess what comes whistling around the corner?
* At the end of ''Film/{{Eraser}}'', Arnold Schwarzenegger uses a train to "erase" the bad guys, by having an accomplice park their limo in the path of a freight train, which might be a case of figurative ChainedToARailway.
* In film version of ''Film/HarryPotterAndTheChamberOfSecrets'', Ron flies the Weasleys' car over the train tracks in an attempt to locate the Hogwarts Express. Naturally, the train is right behind them, causing hijinks to ensue.
* Lampshaded in the German comedy movie ''Film/DerSchuhDesManitu'' with the mule "Apollo 13", who refuses to cross train tracks in the middle of a huge empty desert, because all of his twelve brothers were killed on train crossings. He then suddenly steps right on the track when a train approaches in the far distance and refuses to move in any way.
* Played with in ''Film/MovingViolations''. The nearly-blind old lady's car stalls on the tracks, and she refuses to get out. The other characters hastily push her car out of the way just in time. Finally aware of the danger, the old lady joins the others on the roadside to gape at the passing train, only to have her car, now empty on the street, run down by an 18-wheeler.
* Played with in ''Film/WrongfullyAccused''. In parodying ''Film/TheFugitive'', the bus holding Leslie Nelson's character goes off the road due to a banana peel (yeah, it's of those movies) and crashes on the train tracks. He comes to to find the train heading his way. After launching each and every inmate out the window, he hops out and starts to run away from the train... which ''chases him off the rails'', through a forest and right back onto the rails where it's stopped... by a rail switch, putting it on another track.
* In ''Film/LethalWeapon4'', a hitman is shown taking out a target's car by ramming them into the path of an oncoming train with his larger SUV. Later, he tries the same trick on Murdoch [[spoiler:who pushes back using reverse in his similarly sized car, and then suddenly releases shifts back into forward gear in time for the hitman to be the one hit by the train]].
* In the ''ComicBook/{{Blackhawk}}'' movie serial, one of the cliffhangers featured Blackhawk's car being forced on to railroad tracks in front of an oncoming train.
* In ''Film/{{Godzilla 2014}}'', when the female Muto attacks [[spoiler:the USM train carrying nukes, it is set on fire and nearly crushes Ford.]]
* In ''Film/GroundhogDay'', the night Phil realizes that being stuck in the [[GroundhogDayLoop loop]] made him unaccountable for his acctions, one of his crazy stunts includes driving on the train tracks...towards an oncoming train. He's able to get off before the train smashes him.
* Played with in ''Film/AntMan''. While miniaturized [[spoiler: Yellowjacket]] ends up on the tracks of a toy railroad and stands there as a ''WesternAnimation/ThomasTheTankEngine'' toy train barrels straight at him. However, when the train hits, it is a complete NoSell since the miniaturization process preserves the subjects density. The effect is the same as if a toy train hit a full sized human and the train just bounces off.
* In the 1991 version of ''Literature/AKissBeforeDying'', the villain Jonathan is shown as a little boy watching the Carlsson trains going past his house, fueling his obsession with marrying into the family. At the end, in his desperate attempt to kill his wife Ellen after she learns his secret--he's a murderous sociopath who killed her sister in order to get to ''her''--he chases her onto the train tracks. She's able to get out of the way, while he isn't.
* ''Film/TheatreOfBlood'': PlayedForLaughs of a very dark kind, combined with DeathByTransceiver: a cop hiding in the trunk of a car in an attempt to follow Lionheart ends up parked on train tracks. We hear him over the walkie-talkie to the other cops:
-->'''Cop''': I can hear a train whistle... ''(rumbling sound)'' I can definitely identify it as a train... ''(sound grows louder)'' T-R-A... '''KERRRR-UNNCH.'''

* That Creator/StephenKing novella ''The Body'', later adapted into the film ''Film/StandByMe'', has the kids discover that part of the way to get to their destination is to cross over a rail bridge. The wimpy kid, Vern, tempts fate by wondering would happen if a train comes while they're on the tracks. Of course, Vern is such a [[TheMillstone pain in the group's side]] that he has to cross the track, plank by plank, out of fear of falling off the bridge. A train inevitably starts coming down the bridge, causing both Vern and Ralphie to panic. They sprint across the boards and make it to the other side with a grand leap of faith, just barely dodging the train in time.
* ''Literature/FriedGreenTomatoes'': Idgie's brother sure picked the wrong moment to show off trying to use the railroad tracks as an impromptu balance-beam: [[spoiler: he gets stuck and is fatally run over by a train]]. Idgie and Ruth's son also [[spoiler: loses an arm]] this way.
* The second ''Literature/AlexRider'' book, ''Point Blanc'', has an incident where the annoying Fiona falls off a horse and breaks her ankle in the middle of a kilometre-long train tunnel. Alex and her make it out of the tunnel (on Alex's horse), and manage to jump off the tracks seconds before they are hit by a train.
* ''Literature/TheRailwayChildren'', as you can guess from the title, has a couple of moments, including an incident where a paper-chaser injures himself inside a tunnel he was running through, and the moment where the three children only just manage to get a train to stop before it crashes on the landslide-blocked track ahead, using flags made from their underclothes. The younger two get off the tracks, but Bobbie, the eldest, keeps standing until the train has stopped - just ''inches'' from her. She very understandably faints after it's all over.
* Like the kids in ''Film/StandByMe'', Will Tweedy, the main character in ''ColdSassyTree'', was very nearly run over by a train while he was fooling around on a trestle. He can't outrun the train and survives, with some burns and hearing damage, by lying down between the rails.
* In Creator/LMMontgomery's ''Literature/TheBlueCastle'', Valancy is crossing the tracks when one of her shoes -- previously referred to as foolish -- catches. Barney manages to wrest her free.
* ''Shortcut'' by Donald Crews.
* The children's book ''Sam and the Firefly'' by P.D. Eastman has a scene where a hot dog man is driving the titular firefly, Gus, out of town in his pickup truck for the mean pranks he has pulled with his ability to spell words out of light (he spelled "COLD" above the "HOT DOGS" sign.) The truck stalls on a set of railroad tracks just as a train is coming. Sam the Owl frees Gus from captivity, and Gus manages to stop the train in time by spelling "STOP" in big letters.
* There's a science-fictiony variation in the Creator/RobertAHeinlein juvenile ''Literature/StarmanJones'' in which the title character takes a shortcut through a railroad tunnel. The danger is not that the train will actually ''hit'' him--it's a magnetically levitated supersonic [[CoolTrain "ring train"]]--the danger is that if he's still in the tunnel when a train comes through, the shockwave in the confined space will pulverize his insides and kill him. He makes it through, but a few minutes later is suddenly knocked unconscious and temporarily deafened by a train going overhead that he never heard coming.
* In ''Seven Up'', one of the Literature/StephaniePlum novels, it looks like this is how [[spoiler:Eddie [=DeChooch=]]] met his fate when the remains of his car are found scattered around the track after a collision. As it turns out, he [[spoiler:tried to go through with it, but had a PottyEmergency while waiting and didn't get back to the track in time]].
* ''Discworld/RaisingSteam'' includes a heart-stopping moment when Moist suddenly sees two kids listening to the funny noise the rails make and realises the train is coming straight towards them. [[spoiler: He manages to save them, by dragging them ''completely'' under it.]]
* ''[[Literature/RiversOfLondon Whispers Underground]]'' opens with SnoopingLittleKid Abigail getting Peter and Lesley to investigate a ghost on the train tracks under her school (which she saw while waiting to see if the steam locomotive that passes occasionally was the one from the ''Film/HarryPotter'' films). It turns out to be a kid from the late 80s, who picked exactly the wrong time to spraypaint "[[Film/BillAndTedsExcellentAdventure Be Excellent to Each Other]]" on the sidings. Seeing him [[LivingMemory re-enact what happened next]] convinces Abigail to stop looking for the Hogwarts Express down there.
* In ''Literature/WatershipDown'', a group of rabbits with no experience of trains hear about an 'iron road'. Later, fleeing from pursuing enemy rabbits, they flee across the tracks and watch in terror as a train cuts down their pursuers.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/HappyDays'': Combined with BewareOfHitchhikingGhosts in the episode "The Spirit is Willing," which aired toward the end of the last season. Fonzie, who is restoring a 1954 Chevrolet convertible, is test-driving the newly-refurbished wheels with his ghostly friend, Nancy, when the car stalls in the middle of a railroad crossing. When the signal lights come on, Fonzie tries to escape the car but finds himself locked in with Nancy holding him back until the train strikes the car ... but at the last instant, Fonzie awakens and realizes he was [[AllJustADream having a nightmare]].
* ''Series/TheDukesOfHazzard'': Season 7 brought "Danger on the Hazzard Express," where Boss schemes with two robbers plan to steal the General Lee and, after placing a remote-control device in the engine and steering gear, use it to crash into a train carrying $2 million to the state's reserve. The trope kicks into effect when the robbers – realizing that Bo and Luke will come after them – plans to kidnap the Duke boys, restrain them inside the car and then crash the car into the train. (Boss, knowing what this means, immediately turns against his associates when they refuse to back down. And of course, the Duke boys do manage to regain control of the car and eventually defeat the bad guys.)
* Played with in ''Series/{{Sh15uya}}'', where the only way out of Shibuya is to cross the train tracks... except if you do attempt to cross them, [[FailureIsTheOnlyOption a train immediately speeds past and blocks your way]].
* In the 1st of November 2010 episode of ''Series/EastEnders'', Janine's car stalls as she is going over a level crossing. Of course, the train shows up at that moment, resulting in a very tense, panicky scene.
* ''Series/{{CSI}}'':
** In an episode, the team solves a case involving a woman whose car was forced onto the track and run over.
** In another, a group of teenagers stop on a track and serenely wait for the oncoming train while two of the other kids in the car find out that their doors have been locked and the locking bolts disabled. [[spoiler:The driver and his girlfriend were part of a suicide pact engineered by the chief villain who needed to eliminate the second couple because they knew too much.]]
* The TV show ''Series/MostShocking'' shows a few Real Life instances (see also below) of people getting their vehicles stuck on the tracks. At least twice, car drivers take a wrong turn ''onto'' the tracks and get stuck, and they are desperate to try to get the car off, so police have to intervene to keep them away. Other time, a crossing with a high rise snags trailers by the height. In all these instances, they were freight train tracks and the doom doesn't befall the people (because the police restrains the car drivers and the truckers are smart enough to bail) but the vehicles.
* Done in a third-season episode of ''Series/{{Fringe}}'' in a subway.
* The woman in "The Hitchhiker", an episode of the original ''Series/TheTwilightZone'', stalls out her car on the tracks just as a train is coming. She'd actually stopped to wait when she saw the lights flashing, but [[TooDumbToLive got scared and tried to drive on]] when she saw the hitcher.
* ''Series/{{ER}}'' used this several times. A surgical intern leaped to his death on the elevated train tracks, while its landmark 150th episode featured the mass casualty caused by a train derailment, which was itself caused by a suicidal young woman parking her car on the tracks.
* ''Series/AreYouAfraidOfTheDark'': In "The Tale of the Dream Girl", the DeadAllAlong protagonist and his love interest met their end this way, when their car stalled on a railroad and he tried to go back to fetch their engagement ring.

* Mark Dinning's 1959 hit "Teen Angel" involves a teenaged couple's car stalling at a railroad crossing with a train approaching. They actually make it out in time, but the girl is killed when she [[TooDumbToLive runs back to fetch the guy's class ring]].

* A ''Radio/LightsOut'' episode, "Taking Papa Home", has a woman taking her very drunken husband Harold home from a party. They stall on the train tracks, and she can neither push the car nor get Harold safely out (he passes out in the car). The last thing we hear is the sound of the train crashing into the car.

* In ''Pinball/TheAdventuresOfRockyAndBullwinkleAndFriends'', one of the animated sequences shows Snidley Whiplash tying Nell to a pair of train tracks, only to get hit himself when the train ends up going on ''another'' set of tracks that he happens to step onto.

[[folder:Theme Parks]]
* At the Ride/DisneyThemeParks:
** Before it was retooled, ''Mr. Toad's Wild Ride'' at the Disney theme parks ended by having the car turn onto train tracks and stare down a train in the tunnel. Kind of Dark Humor as it's the last thing before the ride ends, and this is followed by a trip through ''Hades''.
** Four Words: ''Ride/BigThunderMountainRailroad''.
* At Ride/UniversalStudios:
** ''Ride/DudleyDoRightsRipsawFalls'' at [[Ride/UniversalStudios Universal's Islands of Adventure]] features this briefly -- at one point, the log ride goes through a dark tunnel. Dudley comments that he's "lost his train of thought," only for a train light to appear at the end of the tunnel. Then the ride rockets down the first drop.
** ''Ride/RaceThroughNewYorkStarringJimmyFallon'' includes a scene where the riders end up inside the New York subway tunnels, in which they briefly collide with an oncoming train.
** Grindor in ''Ride/TransformersTheRide'' ends up losing one of his arms after he attempts to attack the riders in a subway station. Naturally, you can imagine what took his arm off.

* ''A.P.B.'', a 1987 video game about a rookie police officer created by Atari: The player, who controls the protagonist officer's police car, must avoid – among other things – a train. Getting struck by the train simply takes time off the clock.
* ''F-Zero GX'' Captain Falcon's special movie involves him trying to save Mrs. Arrow's baby trapped in the middle of a railraod crossing. She stares in shock, but Falcon arrives and grabs the baby and jumps out of the crossing to avoid the oncoming train. He gives Mrs. Arrow her child, only to have the back of his pants ripped in the process.
* ''VideoGame/SilentHill3'' has a subway car that will ONLY roar in the moment you step on the tracks, resulting in your gruesome death if you don't immediately scramble back onto the platform. Made even nastier by a ghost haunting the area, with a habit of pushing people onto said tracks... Later, there's the Rollercoaster of Doom in the AmusementParkOfDoom.
* ''VideoGame/HalfLife2'' features a scene in which Gordon Freeman has to drive across a train bridge. Halfway across, of course, a train comes rushing out at him. Unless the player knows this is coming and plans accordingly, the only option is to drive towards the train at top speed or perform a skid turn and drive the other way at top speed in hopes of making it off the bridge in time.
** Gordon also has two near encounters with trains in the first two chapters of the game while being pursued by Combine troops. There's a third (not long after the second, at the beginning of "Route Kanal") that will always miss the player, but serves to sweep away the remaining LemmingCops who might be in pursuit.
* In ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'', you can hear the train coming on the Well maps, but that doesn't stop it from claiming victims who step on the tracks at the most inopportune time.
** Taken to extremes in one fanmade map named KOTH_trainsawlaser, which, along with [[ChainsawGood tons of spinning sawblades]] and FrickinLaserBeams, has one of these with a constant flow that will, more often than not, claim tons of victims. And if not, there's always the '''[[FromBadToWorse TRAIN]] [[DeathFromAbove RAIN]]'''.
* Tyro Station, One multiplayer level, in ''VideoGame/GearsOfWar'' is set in a train station. It is possible to cross the tracks as long as the train isn't passing through. If the train is passing through, insta-kill.
* ''VideoGame/TimeSplittersFuturePerfect'' features an interesting variation of this in the Subway arcade level. The difference being that the trains only come when someone pulls a lever in a booth overlooking the tracks. In theory you can kill an enemy with it, but the chances of it happening are slim and it doesn't count as a kill anyway (just a death for the victim).
* ''VideoGame/MarioKart64'' featured a desert track with a train which would spin you out of control if you tried to cross the tracks at the wrong time. However, if you timed it correctly and very carefully, you could also drive on the tracks through the tunnel in a valuable shortcut.
** Likewise, In ''Videogame/CrashTeamRacing'', there is a mine cart track in Komodo Joe's boss race. If you time it right and have a turbo, you can cut about 30 seconds off the course (more if you stay on the tracks past the first tunnel... and avoid the oncoming carts.)
* The multiplayer map Terminal from ''VideoGame/{{Halo 2}}'' has a pair of trains that travel at high speeds and will kill you if you are in their path. You will die even if driving a vehicle of any kind, including the tank
* ''VideoGame/MirrorsEdge'' has a level that takes place (partially) in a subway and another that starts near some train tracks. Both levels require you to run down these tracks, and one actually requires you to jump on top of a train. The train is [[CaptainObvious lethal if it hits you]], but if you time it right, you can actually get clear of the trains without one coming along.
* Old Midway arcade game ''{{APB}}'' had one of these. You ALWAYS had to stop at the train tracks (unless you were fond of getting hit by the train that's always coming by).
* ''VideoGame/SyphonFilter'' has a CorridorCubbyholeRun in an active subway.
* The [[UsefulNotes/TheLondonUnderground Aldwych subway]] in ''VideoGame/TombRaiderIII''. The trains only appear when you venture onto the tracks, and you must dodge one to access a particular door.
* The [=PS2=] release of ''VisualNovel/SchoolDays'' includes a set of endings where Makoto and Kotonoha are in the subway and Sekai attempts to MurderTheHypotenuse by shoving her rival into the oncoming train's path. This has four different outcomes: [[spoiler:she fails and falls onto the tracks herself]], [[spoiler:she fails, Makoto saves her and is hit instead]], [[spoiler:BOTH girls fall in front of the train and get splattered in front of a helpless Makoto]], and in the HD version, [[spoiler:she can actually succeed]].
** Also, in one ending of ''RapeLay'', the protagonist is pushed onto the subway tracks.
* Yukari of the VideoGame/{{Touhou}} games is well known for her control over borders and boundries. One of her specials is to open portals on either side of the intended victim... at which point a subway train barrels through them.
* ''VideoGame/StreetsOfRage 3'' has you walk through a subway station, dodging mine carts while fighting thugs and ninja. At least the thugs take an absurd amount of damage from getting run over...
* At one point in the first level of ''SoldierOfFortune'', a train threatens to run you down and you must duck into an alcove to avoid it. Later, there's a set of rails with no apparent active trains, but they are electrified, causing instant death if you touch them.
* In ''VideoGame/DejaVu 2'', trying to cross the tracks at the railroad station will unerringly summon a train to run you over.
* A good way to get to many places in ''VideoGame/EarthBoundBeginnings'' is by following the train tracks. Thankfully trains will not come by and hit you but the enemies are [[BeefGate much, much stronger]] especially in the tunnel areas.
** After the time skip in VideoGame/{{Mother 3}} there is a train that goes from the center of Tasmily to a newly build factory. The first few times you attempt to walk along the tracks a NPC looking strongly like Mr. T stops you warning you that it is a stupid idea and not to throw you life away when he walks away the dialog box then comments your life was saved. Once you seem to frustrate him to point he doesn't bother anymore you can pass through, but unlike ''[=EarthBound=] Beginnings'' there is a train and it will hit (but not kill) you. When you wake up the Mr T look alike will be there to tell you I told ya so.
* The fourth level of ''VideoGame/{{Descent}} 3'' has you fly the Pyro through the subway tunnels of Seoul, Korea. Considered the ScrappyLevel by many players.
* ''VideoGame/{{Driver}} 2'' has the "Beat The Train" level in Vegas, where you must rescue a guy trapped in a car parked on a railroad trestle.
* At the end of the ''Miskatonic Station'' level of Blood, curious players can follow the tracks outbound and into a tunnel. No points for guessing what happens, and no, you ''can't'' outrun or dodge it.
* This can happen in ''VideoGame/RedDeadRedemption'''s single-player mode, as there is always a train in operation; {{NPC}}s that get hit by it [[LudicrousGibs explode]].
* The Tundra Express map of ''VideoGame/{{Borderlands 2}}'' has frequent high-speed trains passing through several areas. Make sure you're nowhere near the rails for more than a few seconds, or ''whack''.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Vanquish}}'''s train level, after the enemy train shows up, you have a [[TimedMission limited time]] to kill all the baddies on board, or else the trains collide at the intersection and you die.
* In ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft: Warlords of Draenor'', one of the bosses in the Blackrock Foundry is Operator Thogar, head of the Iron Horde's rail network. Logically enough his arena is an active railway terminal that includes four tracks; players have to learn the pattern of incoming trains and dodge them, since being hit is instant death on most difficulty levels (Thogar himself is FriendlyFireproof). To make matters worse, some of them are troop or artillery trains with reinforcements.
* [[EpisodicGame Episode 2]] of ''VideoGame/LifeIsStrange'' includes a scene where Chloe is lounging on some railroad tracks and gets her foot caught in the switch. It's up to Max to figure out how to get her loose before she gets splattered by a train.
* ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerGenerals'': Some levels feature trains that run around the map, sometimes for plot reasons like dropping off troops. Any infantry unit will obviously get crushed if they stand in front of it, but so does any vehicle regardless of its size... even ''buildings'' can't stop the train from going about its rounds.
** Hell in some mod's maps the main engine is ''invincible''!
* ''VideoGame/RatchetAndClankIntoTheNexus'' has a train on planet Silox that you can get run over by when fighting Neftin Prog, Ratchet saved Clank from this the first time the train came by now it's up to the player to keep dodging since the train can change tracks.
* ''VideoGame/Sly2BandOfThieves'' has trains in Canada you must regular be aware of.
* ''VideoGame/FreedomFighters'' has a couple levels with trains that can't be destroyed and can kill the player.
* ''Franchise/GrandTheftAuto'' often features trains that the player must be wary of.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Infamous}}'' as powerful as Cole [=McGrath=] is, the player still must be wary of the Empire City subway that can really knock Cole far if hit as well as take some damage.
* In ''VideoGame/SaintsRow'' You can get killed by the subway but you can destroy it with explosives.
* In ''VideoGame/AgentUnderFire'' there is a multiplayer map with a subway you must watch out for.
* In ''VideoGame/SubwaySurfers'' you have to constantly change tracks to avoid the subways.
* In ''VideoGame/LANoire'' there's is a an active railyard that Cole Phelps must be wary of if he happens to chase criminals over there.
* In ''VideoGame/CallOfDutyBlackOps2'' in the multiplayer map express, there's a bullet train that can kill players.
* In the opening scene of ''VideoGame/DarkFall Lost Souls'', the Inspector wakes up in a debris-filled train tunnel. He only has a minute or so to explore before the sound of an oncoming train is heard, getting louder and louder as he searches in vain for a way through the blockage. [[spoiler: Subverted in that it's ''just'' sound: the tunnel is haunted by the noise of trains long gone, and the Inspector revives unhurt after the "collision".]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* WebVideo/NyxCrossing prominently features a set of railroad tracks. Though there's no train, the monster seems to be attracted to them.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeagueUnlimited'': Green Arrow and Black Canary are chasing the Question and the Huntress through a train tunnel. And wouldn't ya know it, a train comes in at just the right time:
---> '''Huntress''' Train.
---> '''Question''' [[CasualDangerDialogue I see it.]]
---> '''Huntress''' [[OhCrap Train!]]
---> '''Question''' I see it! *turns into an empty tunnel at the last second*
** Green Arrow and Black Canary are not so lucky...they are teleported out, leaving Canary's motorbike to get crushed.
* A common gag in the Road Runner shorts in the ''WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes'' is for Wile E. Coyote to paint a tunnel complete with railroad tracks in it. The Road Runner goes in unscathed - but Wile E. Coyote is promptly run over by an impromptu train. Of course, ''this'' use of the trope is so amusingly illogical that it goes straight through FridgeLogic and into RuleOfFunny.
** One variation is Wile E. building a fake railroad crossing to stop the Road Runner. Unfortunately, no one told the train.
** Wile E. fell victim to another train in his pairing with Bugs Bunny in "Operation: Rabbit." The coyote has taken refuge in a outhouse and filling carrots with nitroglycern, when Bugs chains the building to his tractor and pulls it into a railroad crossing. Just as Wile E. is admiring himself ("Wile E. Coyote, super genius! I looooooovvvveee how that rolls off my tongue!"), he sees the train coming ... too late!
** In ''Bosko and Bruno'', Bruno gets his foot caught in a railroad track and apparently is run over, but survives by ducking into a convenient trap door.
** In ''The Duxorcist'', at one point, Daffy tries to get a glass out of a cupboard. Since the apartment he's visiting is haunted, the cupboard can't supply him, but instead, provides him with live action footage of a train coming towards the camera. He closes the cupboard in time before the train bursts out.
* Something similar happens in an episode of ''WesternAnimation/WackyRaces'', which seemed to - ahem - borrow a lot of Road Runner gags.
* A couple of examples from the original ''WesternAnimation/ScoobyDooWhereAreYou''...
** In "Mine Your Own Business," Fred comes up with a plan to catch and trap the ghostly Miner '49er haunting the AbandonedMine. We then fade to the Miner suddenly seeing and hearing what seems like a train approaching, only it turns out to actually be [[BigShadowLittleCreature Shaggy making train noises into a speaker as Scooby runs down the track with a flashlight]].
** In "Decoy for a Dognapper," Shaggy and Scooby are sent on an old handcar down the tracks, and have to outrun an approaching speeding train (resembling an older Santa Fe passenger train) once they reach a trestle. Fortunately, Fred comes to the rescue by throwing a switch track.
* An episode of ''WesternAnimation/RockosModernLife'' featured this when Rocko was teaching Heffer's mother, Virginia Wolfe, how to drive. She manages to park the car right onto a railway crossing just as the gates go down. Luckily they were wearing their seat belts. What made this even worse is that Virginia refused to move because Rocko was yelling at her... because the train was coming.
* ''[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4EZvIpn9uVY Sly Fox And Birdie]]'' plays this straight, but this is mostly due to it being a childrens' railway safety video from 1992. Almost any time railroad tracks are present (and Sly Fox is trespassing on them in some way), a freight train always shows up. Sly Fox even gets ''run over'' by the train at one point, to which he comments [[NoFourthWall "If I weren't a cartoon character, I'd be dead as a doornail!"]]
* In an episode of ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'', the brother of a boy who grew up to be one of Gotham's top mob bosses lost his leg when his foot got caught in the rails of a train track at the wrong time. Said brother grew up to become a priest and convinced his mob brother in the present day to finally turn himself into the police so he could begin the atoning for the crimes and guilt he'd built up over the years.
* ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'': In the episode "Three Kings," there is a parody of the train scene in ''Film/StandByMe'', with Joe's legs taking the impact of the train.
** Which is immediately followed by another train.
-->'''Joe''': (''as he's being run over by the second train'') [[LampshadeHanging What an odd clustered train schedule!]]
* In ''[[WesternAnimation/ClassicDisneyShorts Mickey's Trailer]]'', as the trailer, with Mickey and Donald inside, detaches from its car and careens down a steep mountain road, it approaches a crossing with an oncoming train. It just beats the train across, and the two barely have time to sigh in relief when the trailer approaches the train ''again'' further downhill, this time just missing the back end.
* ''WesternAnimation/KingOfTheHill'': Hank's old pickup was destroyed when it stalled out at a grade crossing and was eventually run down by a train.
* This has been used in WesternAnimation/ThomasTheTankEngine, to other trains. In 'Percy Runs Away,' Percy fails to warn a signalman that he is on the main line, and so finds Gordon bearing down on him with the Express. Later, Emily saves Oliver from a similar fate when he stalls on a diamond crossing.
* In one episode of ''WesternAnimation/BudgieTheLittleHelicopter'', Budgie is following a railway to find his destination. He decides to go through a tunnel... just as a train is coming through. Luckily he manages to dodge the train by backing out of the tunnel.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/AdventuresOfSonicTheHedgehog'' episode "Full Tilt Tails" the deuteragonist Tails wants to race a train, but he gets his foot caught in the train tracks as the train is barreling towards him! Luckily, [[spoiler:Sonic the Hedgehog quickly builds a new set of train tracks over Tails so the train avoids him altogether.]]

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Sadly, this trope is TruthInTelevision, particularly at locations where highways and railroads meet at grade or at busy passenger stations. For some reason, an alarming number of people don't seem to realize a train can come at any time, or that on a double-track railroad (or in some cases even a single-track one), another train can come as soon as the first one clears.
** Train engineers have support groups for this. If you've been driving a train for more than two years, you likely have killed at least one person.
** A recent ''Series/{{Today}}'' report discussed the growing trend of people taking pictures on railroad tracks. Nearly 600 people have been struck, more than half of whom have died. All because they have wrongly assumed that will see and hear a train with plenty of time to get off the track before it hits them. As it turns out, trains are surprisingly quiet, often not audible until they are right next to you (at which point it is far too late to jump to safety), and they move incredibly fast, covering the length of a football field in three seconds. This is hauntingly demonstrated in one of the pictures shown, in which three teenage girls are posing. Visible in the background are the headlights of an oncoming train, which the girls are clearly blissfully unaware of, given their happy expressions. Within seconds of the photo taken, they were struck and killed.
** It's not just hazardous to the driver of the car, either. The [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selby_rail_crash Selby]] and [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ufton_Nervet_rail_crash Ufton Nervet]] crashes in Britain saw express passenger trains derailed and several passengers killed or badly injured in the ensuing wrecks.
* Railroad tracks aren't even safe if there's no train nearby. The track switches are controlled in a nerve center ''miles'' away... if you happen to be walking along the tracks and you happen to be stepping between the rails at a junction when the track switches over, you are going to be '''stuck there''', screaming in pain until the train [[strike: arrives]] passes and runs you over, possibly derailing itself. So.... if you're trespassing on railroad tracks ''stay away from the junctions''. You may as well go step on a BearTrap.
* However, if for some reason your car is stopped on a railroad track and a train is coming, it is at this point that one should remember that cars come standard with inventions known as "doors". Furthermore, when you are running away, run ''towards'' the train (a safe distance away from the tracks, obviously), as in that direction you are least likely to get hit by the flying wreck of the car.
** And if you're on foot and ''not'' stuck, [[ScreamingWoman stepping off is actually possible, regardless of what Hollywood has told you.]] And if you push aside someone who doesn't get that... remember to ''keep moving'' [[TooDumbToLive instead of being hit yourself.]]
* "Touching wires causes instant death. [[ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill $200 fine.]]"(sign on Newcastle Tramway)
* In West Seattle, there's a crosswalk [[NoOSHACompliance leading right into a railroad track]] with no legal crossing. EpicFail.