[[quoteright:300:[[Comicbook/{{Superman}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/trainsquashing.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:300:He's called "more powerful than a locomotive" for a reason.]]

->''"If a train traveling at 250 miles per hour is stopped dead, the passengers will continue to travel at that speed (that is, double their terminal velocity). In other words, unless you stop the train slowly, [[NotTheFallThatKillsYou they will have more chance of surviving if you had dropped them out of an airplane without a parachute]]. A safe stopping distance is several miles."''
-->-- ''TheSuperheroHandbook'' by Michael Powell

[[RunawayTrain A train is out of control!]]

It's up to a {{Superhero}} to stop it!

This trope is usually used because it doesn't need a supervillain (although sometimes one does exist to derail the train). It shows, thus, that the superhero does more than [[ReedRichardsIsUseless just fight useless battles against supervillains]], actually providing a visible good to society outside of his own rivalries.

In addition, it allows the hero to showcase his SuperStrength or NighInvulnerability, and to save the lives of innocent people. It's also a good method of comparing heroes' relative power levels or gimmicks/gadgets. {{Superman}} just holds the train until it stops, while SpiderMan has to use webs attached to lampposts. So, stopping the train is almost like a graduation for a super hero. A bit like TheWorfEffect, except Worf is a train. You're a nobody unless you can stop a large moving vehicle.

Used more in TheGoldenAgeOfComicBooks, when trains were a popular means of transportation in the US (where most {{Superhero}} stories come from), but still alive today. One could put on a [[WildMassGuessing tinfoil hat]] to mention that, if not for the supers, there would be a lot of train crashes, and it seems the train regulation committee [[NoOSHACompliance forgot OSHA Compliance]] when they noticed [[HoldingOutForAHero some dude in a cape]] always appeared to save the passengers.

Oh, also, sometimes there's just a hole in the bridge for the hero to fix. He'll usually put himself between the extremities and "act" as the missing rails.

See also ChainedToARailway, PedestrianCrushesCar, & {{Superhero}}. Do not confuse with ''Literature/{{Trainspotting}}'', which, yes, this trope's name is a pun off of.

One of the many methods for CuttingTheKnot, as noted on the page.

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'''Examples:'''

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* In ''{{Kinnikuman}}'', the 21st Chojin Olympics had Train ''Pushing'' as one of the qualifier events. However, when Terryman sees a puppy has wandered into the path of his train, he immediately gets ahead of the train and stops it. Unfortunately, because the qualifier had rules about touching the train more than once, the act of heroism gets Terryman disqualified from the games.
* Near the end of the GSC arc of ''PokemonSpecial'', [[spoiler:Red makes his BigDamnHeroes return by calling out Snorlax]] to forcibly slow the runaway Magnet Train down to a stop before it crashes into a deadend.
* In ''OnePiece'' Franky [[SubvertedTrope tries]] to do this in order to rescue Tom, but he fails. [[MadeOfIron He manages to live, though.]]
* In the ''UnbreakableMachineDoll'', the two main characters pull this off in the first chapter.
* In ''PrettyCureAllStars New Stage'', Fusion launches a tanker boat down a railroad-like ramp. The SuitePrettyCure and SmilePrettyCure teams stop it, but barely... until Fusion swats them aside and sends it flying. Waiting at the bottom? [[FutariWaPrettyCureMaxHeart Cure Black, Cure White and Shiny Luminous]], who stop it ''effortlessly''.
* Multiple episodes of ''{{Franchise/Anpanman}}'' have had Anpanman and some of his other superhero friends save SL-Man, a living steam locomotive, this way.
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[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ComicBook/WonderWoman in ''More Fun Comics'' #1.
* GreenLantern's first appearance.
* {{Superman}} loves it, and was probably the TropeMaker.
** Trainstopping is the obvious way for Superman to demonstrate that he's "more powerful than a locomotive."
** In the rebooted ''ComicBook/ActionComics'' #1, the first issue of [[ComicBook/GrantMorrisonsActionComics Grant Morrison's run]], Lex Luthor causes a Metropolis bullet train to go out of control. Superman is able to stop it, but being as this is set in his early days, when he was weaker and [[InASingleBound couldn't even fly yet]], [[spoiler:stopping the train almost kills him, allowing Lex and the military to capture him]]. (Added StealthPun: Superman has to be faster ''and'' more powerful than a speeding bullet locomotive!)
** Parodied in a Creator/SergioAragones drawn ''Magazine/{{MAD}}'' strip, where Superman stops a train without moving an inch. The final panel shows the entire train derailed, with people lying everywhere, and Superman's got a OhCrap expression on his face. In a similar gag, Superman lifts an ocean liner out of the water to save it from danger. It promptly breaks apart from having all of its mass supported by only his hands, with passengers falling out of the wreckage.
* A miniseries of SpiderMan called: ''SpiderMan: Power of Terror'' introduced a new Deathlok character (Deathlok is a LegacyCharacter of [[OurZombiesAreDifferent Zombie]] {{Cyborg}}s) that at one point was chasing [[MakingASplash Hydro-Man]] down the subway system, and he met up with a metro train about to ram in another one. He stopped it in a splash page, cementing his level of strength for the book.
* There was an issue of ''Comicbook/{{X-Men}}'' in the late '90s that paired up Gambit and Bishop, and involved them stopping a runaway train. It let the writer have fun with the combination of powers, where Gambit (an Energy Maker) pumped the engine full of kinetic energy, and Bishop (an Energy Taker) absorbed all of it into himself, before riding the rails to slow the train.
** A late '80s story had Rogue (with some help from Longshot's [[BornLucky fabulous luck]]) stopping a train before it could plough into a pit made by the Juggernaut, leaving Psylocke and Dazzler to try and stop the Juggernaut on their own.
** In ''[[UltimateXMen Ultimate X-Men]]'', Colossus is ordered to do this by Wraith, even though Colossus isn't even sure he'll survive it.
* Big Bertha of the GreatLakesAvengers is shown doing this with a runaway semi. While the kids are happy to not die, the crossing guard laments being saved by such an unsexy superhero.
* In ''ComicBook/TheAvengers'' volume 1, issue 1, TheHulk is tricked into destroying a train trestle. As a result he has to hold the tracks up so a train can pass safely.
* In a 1902 strip of ''Hugo Hercules'', the eponymous character uses his Super Strength to stop a street car so a woman can get on.
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[[folder:Film]]
* In ''Film/SpiderMan2'', Octavius does this by disabling an 'L' train's brakes, and leaves Spidey to stop it. He jumps to the front of the train, and gives it three tries: First, he tries brute force via putting his foot down on the tracks to generate friction. This doesn't work, and hurts, and ruins a good number of ties. Then he tries firing weblines on either side. The train quickly breaks out when they stretch too far. Then he fires a dozen weblines on each side, to spread out the force, which eventually does stop the train, but only after nearly pulling Spidey apart, and the first car is left hanging precariously off the structure.
* In ''Film/{{Hancock}}'', Hancock saves Ray by stopping a train from hitting his car. Somewhat like the trope picture, Hancock is a FlyingBrick and straight up halts the train rather than slowing it gradually. As a result, he causes the train to derail into a messy pileup that will probably cost hundreds of thousands in damages and cleanup - Ray points out that it would have been much easier to just lift the car off the track.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheIncredibles'', Mr Incredible stops a train from riding over an exploded railtrack, although several people [[HilaritySues sue him]] for the resulting injuries.
** Somewhat played with by the directors in that Mr. Incredible visibly cringes in preparation of the incoming slam. It won't kill him, but it is still going to ''hurt''.
* Subverted in ''Film/BatmanBegins''. Batman deliberately intends to cause the train (built by his dad, no less) to crash. He doesn't take the enemy in the train with him when he leaves, apparently killing him.
* Done (in the last method) in ''Film/MightyMorphinPowerRangersTheMovie'' - "Angel Grove" (Sydney) Monorail, Giant Villain Foot breaks section of track, teens inside lead monorail car can't stop the train, Sixth Ranger mecha flies down and uses wings & back to substitute for the missing track before going off to join the others.
* A rare villain example occurs in ''Film/HeroicTrio''. TheDragon takes over a station and sends the train [[RunawayTrain out of control]]. The heroes fight him until the train plows through the station wall, heading right for him. He tries to stop it a la {{Superman}} but ends up getting pinned to a wall.
* Inverted in ''Film/{{Unstoppable}}'', where NORMAL PEOPLE have to stop the train. Furthermore, it's (mostly) TruthInTelevision.
* The imagination portion of ''WesternAnimation/ToyStory3'' plays with this: Woody fails to save the runaway train filled with Trolls before it falls over a destroyed bridge... only for Buzz Lightyear to fly up from the ravine, train, Trolls, Woody and all.
* In ''Film/{{Superman}}'' (1978), the title character does the "replace the rails with his body" bit to save a train from derailing after an earthquake rips a hole in the tracks.
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[[folder:Literature]]
* ''Discworld/RaisingSteam'': Constable Bluejohn, a troll even bigger than Detritus, stops a runaway train he's on (while going up a mountain, the locomotive is separated from the train) by reaching out a hand and grabbing the cliffside.
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[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* In ''TabletopGame/SentinelsOfTheMultiverse'', one of the hazards in Megalopolis is an out-of-control train. One of the heroes has to take damage to stop it, or it deals enormous damage to ''everyone'' on the team.
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[[folder:Video Games]]
* Subverted in ''VideoGame/WarioWare Touched''... Wario as Wario Man tries to stop the train, then gets smashed halfway across the horizon and into a sewer.
* In the strength-test arcade game ''Sonic Blast Man'', one of the scenarios that has to be resolved by punching things as hard as you can is stopping an out-of-control train.
* Jonathan and Charlotte must team up to do this to a ghost train at one point in CastlevaniaPortraitOfRuin.
* Subverted in ''VideoGame/StarFox64''. How do you stop the gigantic Forever Train? You blow it up. Starting at the back.
* Subverted in ''VideoGame/{{Uncharted}} 2''. Perhaps to highlight Nate's accidental action hero status, the train he happens to be on at first starts off unscathed, until you are attacked by a Hind-D attack chopper, at which point the explosions start. The entire back end of the train is cut off, and the only reason you survive is because you go under a tunnel at the last second. The train gets stopped for good later when Nate shoots some propane tanks in a last stand, blowing the train up off the tracks, and it ends up dangling over a thousand foot deep Himalayan valley.
* In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI'', Sabin suplexes the Ghost Train. Or [[ReviveKillsZombie throws some magic bird feathers at it]].
* You have to shoot a runaway subway train into scrap in at least one ''MetalSlug'' title.
* According to its Pokedex entry, Hariyama from ''{{Pokemon}}'' actually has this ability.
* In ''VideoGame/SonicShuffle'', the fourth stage's final game has Sonic and his friends stop a train with their bare hands. They're in a dream-like world, so it works.
* Villainous example in ''[[{{Contra}} Contra: Hard Corps]]'' against the blue mecha, one of the bosses. It [[RacingTheTrain outruns the train]] then pushes it to a halt. A similar instance also occurs with another blue mecha boss in ''Shattered Soldier''
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Mr. Mighty in ''EverydayHeroes'' [[http://www.webcomicsnation.com/eddurd/everydayheroes/series.php?view=single&ID=78476 has to do this]] to protect a BusFullOfInnocents.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Happened in ''TransformersAnimated''.
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyond''.
* ''CaptainPlanet'' used this one, with the Captain saving a runaway monorail car.
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'' uses this in the episode "Christmas With The Joker". Being {{Bad Ass Normal}}s, Batman and Robin are forced to stop the train through the relatively mundane method of disconnecting the carriages from the engine, then leaping off the train with the engineer in tow.
** On another occasion, Batman is forced to stop a runaway tram, using the Batmobile. He manages to stop the tram, but also totals the car and has to continue his RaceAgainstTheClock to stop a TimeBomb on foot.
* ''JusticeLeagueUnlimited'' : Sinestro destroys a bridge so a train full of gold is forced to hit the brakes. It doesn't stop in time, but Sinestro creates a replacement set of tracks to divert it to a nearby mountain cave where he can rob it blind. Hey, he has a [[GreenLanternRing Yellow Lantern Ring.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/SupermanTheAnimatedSeries'': Surprisingly, Supes himself never full-on stops a train in this manner [[note]]Without Batman/The Batmobile's help at least.[[/note]], but the villainous Metallo intentionaly ''does'' to show his power, causing a huge pile-up. There's also another variation in "My Girl" when terrorists misfire their BFG s and destroy a railroad bridge and Superman uses himself as the tracks.
* In a ShoutOut to Spider-Man 2, ''{{The Spectacular Spider-Man}}'' does this. [[IncrediblyLamePun Spectacularly.]]
** In that case it was an 18-wheel semi.
* ''TheIronGiant'' has a variation, where the Giant must fix the rails... that he himself broke. [[spoiler:Then he spends so long making sure the fix is perfect that the train ends up crashing into his head.]]
* In his first theatrical cartoon, {{Popeye}} saves Olive Oyl, who is ChainedToARailway, by ''punching out'' the train at the last second.
** In another cartoon, Bluto pretends that he's {{Superman}} and can stop a train with his own strength. The train actually stopped of its own volition - they're standing just outside the train stop and the train had slowed to a stop right before reaching his hand.
*** At the end of that cartoon, Bluto ties Olive to the railroad tracks and ''Popeye'' has to stop the oncoming train. He stops it exactly the same way he did in his first cartoon.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'' Bumblebee is forced to stop a subway train train before it reaches a certain destination, or a bomb will go off [[spoiler: She doesn't stop the train, but she did manage to stop the timer on the bomb]]
** Same episode, Más Y Menos have to keep a train from going over a broken bridge. They don't stop the train, but they do pull the switch so it goes onto another (not broken) track.
* Subverted in ''{{X-Men Evolution}}''. Two trains, one carrying fuel, the other passengers, were diverted onto one set of tracks, heading towards each other. Attempting to save the day, Jean tries to slow down one train. Jean, however, simply isn't that good, so Kitty has to phase one through the other. Kitty likewise isn't that good, so StuffBlowingUp ensues.
* ''[[GeorgeOfTheJungle Super Chicken]]'' tries to do this in the opening of his cartoon shorts, the train just plows him over.
* [[WesternAnimation/TransformersPrime Optimus Prime]] gets to do this when a train carrying a nuclear device is heading towards tracks that were just destroyed. He also did it the right way, taking his time to gradually slow it down.
** In another episode, Knockout stops an out of control subway sweeper train...with his face.
* In ''IronManArmoredAdventures'', Iron Man does both the push and pull versions in the pilot. He first attempts to stop a four-car train from the front. This particular model has a door on the front, though, so it just collapses under his weight. Then he disconnects the other cars so he can pull the first to a stop. This doesn't work completely, but he slows it down enough to lift it into the air once it flies off the unfinished track.
* ''WesternAnimation/WinxClub'' has an unusual example in that a villain, Gantlos, does this to save his ally Ogron from being run over. His shockwave stops the train from full speed.
* ''TheSecretSaturdays'': Fiskerton has to stop a runaway train before it smashes into the end of an unfinished tunnel in "Target: Fiskerton". He grabs hold of the rear of the train and digs his feet in, snapping sleepers as he goes.
* The FleischerSuperman cartoon "Billion Dollar Limited" has Superman inverting it, doing everything he can to ''keep'' the train going, including saving it from falling into a canyon when the bridge is dynamited by the bad guys. It's on Website/YouTube [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f44K6VYU67g here]]: the scene starts around 6:00. He eventually ends up ''pulling'' the train himself all the way to it's destination.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Superfriends}}'':
** In "The Power Pirate" episode of the original (1973) show, Superman saves a train rolling backwards down a mountain by using his strength to bring it to a stop.
** In the opening animation for that series, he's shown stopping a runaway train by grabbing the train's back end and pulling until the train stops. This may be a unique case, but it's a lot safer than the other method.
** In one episode Wonder Woman stops ''two'' trains on a collision course with each other, by standing between them and pushing hard in both directions. (How this is materially different from an actual collision, only the scriptwriters can tell you.)
* In one of their many crossovers in ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'', Batman did a lot of the work to make it possible, but it still took Superman letting the bad guy get away to actually stop the train.
* In one episode of ''WesternAnimation/Ben10Omniverse", Ben as [[BuiltWithLego Bloxx]] replaces the missing tracks with his own body.
-->'''Ben/Bloxx:''' Oh, is this going to hurt. *train passes over* YEEEOOWH!

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