troperville

tools

toys


main index

Narrative

Genre

Media

Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
random
Cool Train
Next stop on the Brown Line, the past!

"I love this guy! He's like a satanic Thomas the Tank Engine!"

We have Cool Cars, Cool Tanks, Cool Planes, Cool Starships, Cool Boats... it's time for Cool Trains.

Well, lots of these are actually only Cool Locomotives — including the one to the right — but hey, let's not split hairs.

Primarily a feature of Steam Punk settings, the Cool Train may only be able to run on rails — and generally is not under the control of the traveling character — but that doesn't stop it from being loaded with gadgets or just being generally awesome. Just ask a Rail Enthusiast.

Afterlife Expresses can also be Cool Trains, even if they aren't the hippest trip in America.

Not to be confused with The Cole Train, or Radical Train. Compare Steam Never Dies.

Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Advertising 
  • A series of Coors Light ads feature a refrigerated train filled with chilled Coors Light beer to relieve the long hot day. American modeler MTH Trains has a replica train set on sale, sponsored by Coors Light.

    Anime & Manga 
  • One Piece has an example in the Water 7/Enies Lobby arc, with "Puffing Tom", a train that runs on a track floating on the sea from island to island. It gets better. They eventually introduce the even more badass prototype with no brakes known as Rocket Man, which has a SHARK FACE painted on the front (see it here)
    • They have now built a second one called the Puffing Ice.
  • Galaxy Express 999, described as the love child of a Cool Train and a Cool Ship. What's even cooler is that the 999 itself was inspired by a real life train: the Empire State Express No. 999 (which as you can guess, operated in New York, a.k.a.: the "Empire State") The 999 was the first steam locomotive to exceed 100 MPH, making it a Real Life Cool Train for its time.
    • The Galaxy Railways, which is part of the Galaxy Express 999 universe, is all about Cool Space Trains.
    • Doraemon would pay homage to this in a chapter where Nobita gets his hands on the ticket to the last running of a galaxy-spanning train that has been made obsolete by that world's Magic Door.
    • Kenji Miyazawa wrote a book called "Night on the Galatic Railroad" which also involved a "cool train" of sorts. In fact, the original Japanese title ("Ginga Tetsudou no Yoru") was the inspiration behind the Japanese title of Leiji Matsumoto's manga ("Ginga Tetsudou 999")
  • The Brave Express Might Gaine — a Cool Train Humongous Mecha. Or rather, a Cool Train Humongous Mecha army. Between Great Might Gaine, Battle Bomber, Guard Diver, and Might Gunner, there were no less than twelve individual trains.
  • The Mammoth Car featured in Speed Racer is basically a train with tires, filled with ninjas on motorcycles and made of solid gold!
    • Of course, a solid gold train weigh hundreds of tonnes and handle crummy, but the entire situation was academic. The entire point of the Mammoth car was to smuggle the gold out of the country in the last place anyone would think to look. Yes, it handled crummy (somewhat mitigated by the fact that nearly every wheel had its own engine), but it crushed everything in its path.
  • The original Sakura Taisen had the kohbu-carrying Goraigoh, possibly best described as a steam-age bullet train nearly the size of an ocean liner. The Sakura Taisen movie cubed the cool by showing its dispatch/launch mechanism, which fired the train straight down a vertical track into an improbable wonderland of rollercoaster-like track that eventually merged with the Tokyo subway system.
  • Locomon, seen here, is a Digimon that is itself a cool train. It also evolves into the even cooler and decidedly more badass GranLocomon.
    • And then there's the Trailmon, which come in several varieties and balance on one rail like a bicycle!
  • Trigun has giant multi-story trains, connecting the cities throughout Gunsmoke Planet.
  • The Big O features a train (somewhat disarmingly called "Prairie Dog") that transports a Giant Robot to wherever it is needed underneath Paradigm City. What's so cool about that? Well, for one thing, the robot is so big, the train requires two sets of tracks. And it's voice activated.
  • Train X Train Manga, might not the best known example, but it has School Trains. School Trains are trains that are high schools. High schools! Harboring large dorms and going around the world in full years for education! Not to mention that the Protagonist's school was actually converted from a Space ship frame and by end of the series, the locomotive was modified into a spaceship again.
  • Team Bullet Train in Transformers: Robots In Disguise has the ability to create rails wherever they needed to go... or just drive on land. And due to this series respecting scale more than usual, they towered over most other Transformers, and could combine into Rail Racer. In one episode they become quite attached to a steam train, even though it isn't sentient.
  • Wing Liner in Machine Robo Rescue capable to transport 5 Machine Robos and transform into a Giant Robot
  • Galactic Whirlwind Sasuraiger.
  • Anna from Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL uses a deck full of train monsters, which tend to be extremely huge and powerful.
  • SL Man and Poppochan from Anpanman.
  • The main train from Undersea Super Train Marine Express.

    Comics 
  • For a time, Batman had a sub-way rocket, which was effectively a jet propelled train-car. And it was awesome.
  • In the Heart of Steel series by IDW, set in the late 19th century, most of the Transformers transformed into these. The mack-daddy of these was the combined thing made of the three Insecticons, which had a gun turret on top, pneumatic bumpers on the back to derail pursuers, and giant evil jaws on the front. Up to eleven!
    • And in the main series, there's Astrotrain, who turns into a locomotive and a space shuttle, as well as not one, not two but three train Combining Mecha teams (Raiden, Sixliner & Rail Racer/JRX).
    • In the toy line there was a little known train playset that had an engine that turned into a jet, one car that turned into a mobile scout station, and another that carried a big weapon. The same set was rebranded as G.I. Joe, M.A.S.K., The A-Team, and Rambo toy sets as well.
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol 2 has a Secret Black Government Train. Its engine number is .007, which isn't a reference to Campion Bond's family, but to Kipling (see below).
  • Alexander III's Imperial Train, from Assassin's Creed: The Fall.
  • Thomas Fay Syndicate's comic A Train's World has cool trains making up the New York Subway, it's considered an "urban Thomas And Friends!"

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • As in the original TV series, Jim West and Artemus Gordon travel in one named "The Wanderer" in Wild Wild West.
  • Central Pacific 131, which was hurled off a bridge and rebuilt at the ending of Back to the Future III, pictured above. "It runs on steam!".
    • Let's not forget the "actress" portraying the "character", Sierra No. 3, the undisputed "Movie Star Locomotive" who starred in many a Clint Eastwood and Western film, as well as a colorful role in the sitcom "Petticoat Junction".
  • The missile train from GoldenEye.
  • The Titfield Thunderbolt is a film set on a British branch line features several cool trains. The first is a generally normal-looking tank engine, which later enjoys a Crowning Moment Of Awesome when the Vicar uses it to joust against a steamroller parked on a level crossing. The villains later derail this engine on the eve of an inspection by British Railways. Desperate for a new engine, the villagers raid the local museum and press the titular Thunderbolt into service for the inspection. It should be noted that Lion, the engine that played Thunderbolt, was well over 100 years old at the time the film was made.
  • The 1985 movie prison-escape-movie Runaway Train featured four diesel locomotives coupled together to form the titular train, a black, ice-encrusted, dinosaur-like monster machine tearing through an Alaskan blizzard with no brakes. The fact that the train was intended solely as a moving stage for the drama occurring inside it was irrelevant to the fact that it possessed as much character as the Golden-Globe winning, Oscar-Nominated performances of actors Jon Voight and Eric Roberts, especially after it crashed through another train and became hideously deformed!!
  • Roy from Transsiberian marvels over some antique Russian trains.
  • The requisite big chase in Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome revolves around a train made of a truck and a small house that doubled as a methane powerplant (for some reason).
  • Morton's special train in Once Upon a Time in the West.
  • Southern Railway 4501 in the Jimmy Stewart film Fool's Parade.
  • The New York Central's Twentieth Century Limited in North by Northwest.
  • Breakheart Pass.
  • In TRON and TRON: Legacy, the Solar Sailer. In the first one, it's used in a harrowing escape. In Legacy, it's a whole lot spiffier for a moment of solace for the three main heroes.
  • In Priest, Black Hat and his army of vampires travel through the wastelands outside the city in one of these.
  • In the Russian film Krai, the characters give their trains names and race them.
  • Another Russian example - the big red armored war train in Doctor Zhivago. link to pictures here
  • The Snowpiercer, a humongous bullet train still running 17 years after an Ice Age wiped out all life on Earth, able to break through icy snowdrifts, and the last refuge of mankind.

    Literature 
  • The Railway Series, a.k.a., Thomas the Tank Engine.
  • In The Keys to the Kingdom, Grim Tuesday had a personal train with SPIKES all over it.
  • China Miéville's Iron Council has the Perpetual Train, later home of the titular council which was initially crawling along laying its own rails as the forefront of an expanding railway network - it has carriages containing everything needed to keep the community of workers building the lines alive and well fed, from an abattoir to a church. It later goes rogue, and the Council organize its rails to be taken up behind it as they are laid ahead of it, so it essentially becomes a giant, moving La Résistance town.
  • Sean McMullen's Greatwinter Trilogy features trains powered by wind turbines and trains powered by passengers and employed navvies pedaling. Passengers are ranked according to how much they pedal, and those who pedal most get credits towards their fare and priority use of the railside facilities.
  • Kim Stanley Robinson's Red Mars had colonists living on the Martian moon Phobos build a train around the circumference of the moon and run it fast enough to generate rotational gravity, relieving the difficulties of living in microgravity and allowing colonists to acclimate before moving down to the Martian surface colonies.
    • Later, Blue Mars had an entire city on Mercury that ran on train tracks to keep ahead of the dawn; this becomes an important central setting in the novel 2312.
  • The Little Engine That Could.
  • Blaine the Mono from The Dark Tower. Insane riddling supersonic trans-universal pink monorail train. Finally defeated by Black Comedy.
  • The Kinetic City Express in Emily Lloyd's books is gigantic, needs no rails, and fits anywhere the Crew need it to go. It also has a talking computer system which was designed by Alexander Graham Cracker.
  • The city on rails in Christopher Priest's spooky novel The Inverted World. It is located on world with a mindboggling topography that shifts, so the train city must move to stay in a habitable zone. However, all "good things" have an end.
  • Peter F. Hamilton's Commonwealth Saga uses huge, nuclear-powered trains for interstellar travel (through artificial wormholes).
    • The sequel Void Trilogy, set 1000 years later, has characters looking back with nostalgia on this means of travel, much as today's rail enthusiasts look back at the early-mid 20th century's golden age of rail transport. One suspects Hamilton sympathises with this view.
  • Rudyard Kipling's .007: The Story of an American Locomotive is possibly the first story about self-aware trains.
  • Komarovsky rides around in a Russian armored train in Doctor Zhivago.
  • The Hogwarts Express from Harry Potter certainly counts.
  • Tootle, the eponymous character from the Little Golden Books series is an aversion since the fact that he's a talking train is not really the point (the actual point is the story's "Aesop" which depending on how you look at it has gone somewhat out of fashion over the decades (and I stress "somewhat").
    • Although, "The Little Red Caboose" (which is part of a train) from the same series is a somewhat (I repeat: somewhat) more straight example (because of its Crowning Moment Of Awesome... well, by the series' standards anyway).
  • The Harry Harrison science fiction novel Wheelworld features an agricultural colony on a planet with very extreme seasons where the entire population of the colony escapes the brutal summers twice each (longer-than-Earth-normal) year by picking up and moving from one of the planet's poles to the other. This is done by jacking up the colony's main buildings on wheels, forming them up behind the colony's nuclear power plants (now transformed into enormous locomotives) and making the 12,000-mile trek to the other side of the planet. No tracks — the "trains" run on roads — but the effect is definitely train-like. (The book is actually the middle third of a trilogy called "To the Stars", but there are no trains or train-like things in the first and third books, Homeworld and Starworld.)
  • In Cherie Priest's third Clockwork Century novel, Dreadnought, the main character must travel upon a Union war locomotive, the aforementioned Dreadnought. It is used by the Union to terrorize Confederate rail traffic, as most characters acknowledge its power. Basically, its a warship on rails, with heavily armored engine, and plenty of automated guns and a compliment of troops on board. Also, its involved in a cross country chase to Washington State, involving Confederate spies, Texas Rangers, bushwackers, mad scientists, and zombies.
  • Iain M. Banks' Consider Phlebas has a Planet of the Dead, on which has ancient, subterranean three-story miles-long trains that were used as mobile command centers by the extinct builders. Then one gets to moving...
  • Subway trains in the Nightside series don't require drivers, travel through various other dimensions as shortcuts, and heal themselves when damaged. Decades of exposure to the Nightside's ambient weirdness has also made these vehicles into sentient beings with their own fears, spirit of professionalism, and mating season.
  • In Patrick Tilley's Amtrak Wars, the primary antagonists (probably survivors of the US military) use giant armoured trains as their main means of power projection against the (heroic) plainsmen.
  • Freight Train by Donald Crews. Composes of a red caboose, an orange tanker car, a yellow hopper car, a green cattle car, a blue gondola car, a purple boxcar, and a black 4-6-2 steam locomotive and tender.
  • Iron Girder in Raising Steam, the first steam locomotive on Discworld, and continually improved by her creator, until she becomes an incredibly powerful, micromail-infused behemoth and the goddess of the railway.
  • The Boundless in Kenneth Oppel's novel The Boundless.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Rescue Sentai GoGoFive and Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue had GrandLiner/the Supertrain Megazord, another Super Robot example of this trope.
    • Similarly, Mahou Sentai Magiranger and its US counterpart, Power Rangers Mystic Force, had Travelion/the Solar Streak Megazord.
    • And again in Engine Sentai Go-onger/Power Rangers RPM with the Kyoretsu-Oh/PaleoMax Megazord. In a series with animal/vehicle hybrids, these are dinosaur trains.
    • The Gosei Snake in Tensou Sentai Goseiger also counts—it appears from a bullet train.
    • Ressha Sentai Tokkyuger makes trains the primary series theme - the mecha are trains, the weapons are train-themed (with things like a rail sword, signal hammer and bridge claw), everything is about trains. To give an example of how far this series takes it, the franchise usually has the Transformation Trinkets announce cool phrases on morphing, but Tokkyuger's is "Transformation commencing! Please stand behind the white line!" - and it summons a white line for the monsters to stand behind.
  • Every Rider in Kamen Rider Den-O has a train, capable of traveling through the timestream and armed to the teeth in order to fight monsters. This list includes the DenLiner (Den-O), ZeroLiner (Zeronos), GaohLiner/God's Train (Gaoh), Nega DenLiner (Nega Den-O), New DenLiner (New Den-O), and Yu-KiLiner/Ghost Train (Yu-Ki). Additionally, the terminal station which appears late in the series can transform into the gigantic KingLiner(Den-O Liner Form).
  • Jim West and Artemus Gordon's rolling headquarters on The Wild Wild West. The Wanderer was played by the William Mason, a perfectly preserved American classic.
  • The various trains similar to this one in the series 6 finale of Doctor Who, "The Wedding of River Song". It's an alternate timeline where everything is happening at once. London is riddled with them on elevated tracks, and one leads right into the Great Pyramids at Giza. It's subtly implied that in the alternate timeline, steam trains have taken the place of airplanes and move about as fast.
  • The titular vehicle in the Firefly episode "The Train Job" qualified as a Cool Train.
  • Supertrain, a nuclear-powered bullet train that almost killed NBC in the late 1970s. It was essentially The Love Boat on rails (both the show and the train itself).note 
  • In his live-action, Latin-American TV show, Topo Gigio (an Italian mouse some may remember from The Ed Sullivan Shownote ) once did a song called "El Tren de Chocolate". Even the mere thought of a "Chocolate Train" sounds cool.
  • American Restoration: Mark Bassett, the director of the Nevada Northern Railroad Museum makes frequent visits to have items with a railroad connection restored. One of these is a railroad velocipede. Upon completion of the restoration and delivery to Ely, Nevada, Rick gets to operate one of the NN's steam locomotives.

    Music 
  • On the cover of Motörhead's Orgasmatron album.
  • The "midnight train" in Journey's "Don't Stop Believing".
  • The "Canadian Railroad Trilogy" by Canadian folk artist Gordon Lightfoot.
  • The Train from Bloemfontein.
  • "The City of New Orleans" by Johnny Cash.
  • The "Miracle Express" from the Queen music video "Breakthru".
  • The "Trans-Canadian-Super-Continental-Streamlined-Special-Express" from the Fred Penner song of the same name. All of the trains joined into one. "A whole mile long and a mile full of fun."

    Pinball 
  • The Premium and Limited Editions of AC/DC has the Rock 'n Roll Train on the playfield, complete with working headlight and devil horns.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The large-scale Warhammer 40,000 spin-off games Titan Legions and Epic 40,000 featured a unit for the Squats (space dwarfs) called the "Land Train". Each car had its own weapon system or upgrade, ranging from mortars to a gyrocopter landing pad, but then the Squats were removed from the 'verse and gamers were left with marginally less ridiculously over-the-top Humongous Mecha and Super-Heavy Battle Tanks to wage war with...
  • The Iron Horse in Rifts World Book 14: The New West is a fire-breathing Magitek train powered by captured greater demons.
  • The lightning rail from the Dungeons & Dragons setting Eberron.
  • The Crayon Rails game Iron Dragons
  • Solar Monorail Chirmirajen, from Exalted, a train that can go anywhere in the world, but is primarily used to transport personnel and guests to and from the Daystar...the setting's sun. It is also intelligent, having a rather impulsive and heroically inclined autopilot, and it is quite literally powered by hope (its fuel is hopeful prayers directed to Heaven in general or the sun in particular). The writers have described it as "Thomas the Tank Engine, by way of Gamera."
    • It also has a counterpart in the Underworld: the Midnight Express. Less is known about this one, but it is sufficiently awesome that the Deathlords want control of it. They have not yet succeeded.

    Theatre 
  • Starlight Express. All characters appearing on stage are either locomotives or train cars. Most of them cool.

    Toys 
  • Astrotrain from Transformers Generation 1, which also transformed into a space shuttle. Transformers Headmasters introduced the Trainbots, a group of Transformers who took the forms of Japanese high-speed trains and could combine into one.
  • One imaginative individual made a LEGO train based off of Ferraris, with a very kickass locomotive.
  • Lionel was a maker of cool toy trains for 93 years (today there's a company also called "Lionel" who makes Lionel-branded toy trains, but they're otherwise unrelated to the previous company).
  • Hornby is the UK's main seller of model trains. Everything from Thomas the Tank Engine to rare models from the age of steam.

    Video Games 
  • Hans Voralberg's train in the Syberia adventure game duology. The kicker? It's a freaking clockwork train and has to be rewound at each station to go further.
  • Transarctica, one of several monster steam trains connecting the future Ice Age world. You and your people live on board, carrying barracks, gardens, workshops, rocket platforms and anything else you need to bring back the sunshine. Described in more detail here.
  • Final Fantasy VIII and the Doomtrain.
  • On the subject of Square Enix and train monsters, Bravely Default continues the tradition with the Promethean Fire summon.
  • Einhänder's second level revolves around trying to stop a train delivering a giant arms shipment between cities. It's filled to the brim with turrets and chicken walkers, carries a lobster-motorbike thing, and the front section is a giant, multi-armed mech.
  • Dark Chronicle has two cool trains, the Zeerust time-travelling Ixion and the Steam Punk-ish Blackstone One.
  • The Starflight Express, from Dragon Quest IX.
  • Grim Fandango features the Number Nine, a train that carries the souls of the dead all the way to the Ninth Underworld (Heaven) in four minutes, rather than the usual four years. It's based on the design of the PRR S1.
  • Most of the PS1 game Covert Ops: Nuclear Dawn(known as Chase the Express in Japan) takes place aboard a Cool Train called the Blue Harvest. Built by NATO, it is heavily armored, extremely fast, armed with anti-aircraft chainguns, can fire nuclear missiles, contains a car furnished like a palace, and has the facilities to hold and sustain a small army. Too bad most of the soldiers staffing it are slaughtered by terrorists posing as allied Russians at the beginning of the game.
  • The Forever Train on Macbeth from Star Fox 64 is a GIANT futuristic example, which you destroy car-by-car until there's nothing left but the engine. Which you then crash into a factory.
  • TimeSplitters: Future Perfect featured a level that takes place in a train based on the GoldenEye one.
  • In the Transport Tycoon series (and in similar games such as Industry Giant), for their balanced combination of speed and capacity, you can't beat trains (or monorails, or maglevs, depending on the year).
  • A few trains show up in Mario Kart, either as drivable karts or course hazards.
    • Mario Kart 64 and Mario Kart 7 had a 1900s-ish steam train rolling around Kalamari Desert, occasinally crossing the racetrack.
    • Diddy Kong's kart in Double Dash!! was the Barrel Train, a tiny wooden train with a whistle instead of a horn - this kart reappeared in 7.
    • The upcoming Mario Kart 8 features a magic flying train swooping around its remake of 64\'s Rainbow Road.
  • Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story has the Fawful Express, a heavily armoured train with Fawful's mug on it. Bowser turns giant to face off with it while it tries to escape and lure him into a trap.
    • Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door has the Excess Express, a downright badass-looking black and gold engine.
    • Also, the train from the first Paper Mario, inspired by the train from Mario Kart 64 - you even get to listen to a remix of Kalamari Desert's theme while riding it.
  • There's also the Shy Guy Express, part of the Party Tent events in Mario Party 8.
  • The Montauk, the Brotherhood of Nod's underground mobile HQ from Tiberian Sun.
  • Pretty much every locomotive in the PC Game Trainz Classics 3 which is set in 1960s Northern England. In fact, this could qualify as Real Life too, since all but one of the trains featured were real locomotives (and the other one was based off a real-life design). A particular example goes to the Stanier 5MT "Black 5", an engine built to do absolutely everything.
  • Banjo-Tooie has Chuffy the locomotive.
  • Link and Zelda ride around in one in The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks.
  • Charge Man's stage in Mega Man 5, Slash Beast's in Mega Man X 4, and the Neo Arcadian supply train in Mega Man Zero 1 and 2.
  • Half of the plot of Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box involves a ride on a luxury train, the Molentary Express (the other half deals with the train's destination). It has a special car which changes tracks in transit, enabling them to visit a mass hallucination.
    Layton: "Yes, I can certainly see why some people call the Molentary Express a cruise ship on rails."
  • Team Fortress 2. Payload variant map "Frontier", where the bomb cart is replaced with a train with an awesome face painted on the front. Anybody caught in the train's path dies instantly.
    • Quite a few custom maps also feature instant kill trains that run through the stage every so often.
  • Half-Life 2 gives us the Razor Train: a fleet of tall, black, intimidating diesel engines who haul prisoners and soldiers. One of them comes at you at high speed, at Bridge Point. Want to try ramming into it? Go ahead, watch what happens to your car.
  • In The Last Crown, Nigel comes to Saxton on an old-time steam locomotive, the Sleepwalker. Considering how many other supernatural forces are manifested in Saxton, the Sleepwalker may well have been the ghost of a train.
  • In Impossible Creatures, you have a steampunk looking steam locomotive that can fly, which acts as your hub building during games, called a Lab.
  • Yukari Yakumo of Touhou has Obsolete Line "Trip to the Old Station" spellcard in Scarlet Weather Rhapsody and Hisoutensoku Fighting Games, which not only does a good amount of damage (half of the life bar) for a 5 cost spellcard, but also can't be blocked or grazed. Which makes sense, considering she pretty much runs you over with a large train.
  • Sturmgeist's armored train in Medal of Honor: Frontline, and the Greta railroad cannon in the original.
  • Alice: Madness Returns has the Infernal Train, which is basically a Gothic cathedral on wheels.
    • It has the same significance and opposing symbolism as the omnipresent tentacles in the prequel, as noted more than once in-universe. It's huge, sweeping through your mindscape, and attempting to destroy your bearings and leave you a helpless passenger onboard rather than root you down in inescapable depression and dementia.
  • Iron Storm has an entire level set on a gigantic armored train which the player has to traverse from the tail car to the locomotive. There's even a chapel wagon. It's even more appreciated since it comes after a mediocre stealth-based level.
  • Borderlands 2 features a levitating, probably automated network of Hyperion-owned trains. The trains roar along at high speeds (in two areas of the game it's possible to get enemies hit by passing trains) and use a system that looks like a maglev rail - sometimes switching from a rail below the cars to one beside it in mid-transit, briefly going airborne to do it.
  • Played for Laughs with the green train in MOTHER 3. In Chapter 7, the party has the opportunity to ride either a red train or a green train to the old Clayman Factory, and the green train costs four times as much as the regular red train. The difference between the two besides different music is that the green train lets you experience the joy of riding a green-colored train.
  • The Egg Train in Sonic The Hedgehog Triple Trouble is a supply train created by Dr. Eggman. It's so long, the entirety of Sunset Park Act 3 is Sonic running along the top. The engine car can shoot spiky metal balls back at Sonic if he gets too close. Since then, Eggman has relied on a network of Cool Trains for mass delivery, as seen in Rail Canyon Zone and Bullet Station Zone in Sonic Heroes, albeit none have ever been nearly as huge as the Egg Train.
  • In Yager, the mission "Rusty Steel on the Tracks" features the player defending a huge industrial locomotive as it moves across the level, enabling them to eventually use it as cover to get past powerful automated turrets.
  • Nancy Drew: Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon is set in one.
  • One of the multiplayer maps in Fistful Of Frags is a western outpost with a train running through the middle in either direction, but only at running speed. What makes the train cool is the Inexplicable Treasure Chest it carries, containing some of the most powerful weapons available.
  • The iOS interactive fiction 80 Days has plenty, since they're the most popular mode of transportation in the Steam Punkish version of Jules Verne's story. Depending on your route choices, you may miss out on a few, at least in that playthrough. The only one that you will definitely see is the train between London and Paris that crosses the English Channel by diving under it (that's right, a submarine steam train). The Orient Express isn't any different from its Real Life version, but still at treat for any train enthusiast (it's also faster than most other trains in the game). The Kamer-Taj is the pride of the Ottoman Empire, with the front of the locomotive being made to look like a rearing horse. The Trans-Siberian Express can take you clear across the Russian Empire if you take the Northern route. Several other Russian trains look like the onion-shaped steeples on Russian Orthodox churches... with cannons sticking out. In the US, there's the Transcontinental Express, which can take you from San Francisco all the way to the East Cost. Passepartout even notes with amusement the attempts of American trains to compete with their European counterparts.

     Web Comics 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Thomas the Tank Engine is made of this trope. Almost every character is a Cool Train.
  • Dethklok's massive Dethtrain from Metalocalypse.
  • In Transformers, Astrotrain transforms into a space shuttle... Oh wait, and a train!
  • Dinosaur train? Now there's a PBS Kids series called Dinosaur Train, featuring one. The train travels through time tunnels taking its riders to various periods within the Mesozoic Era.
  • One episode of Justice League has the team slip into an alternate-universe Fascist dictatorship led by Vandal Savage. Surveillance is everywhere on the streets, so local freedom-fighting Batman uses a rocket-powered subway car to get around.
  • During the New York episode of Xiaolin Showdown, Jack showed up with a train that turned into a mecha. Dojo shapeshifted into a dragon train during the same episode, but it's not a form he likes to take (apparently, the third rail really chafes). A couple of seasons later, Jack took this even further by showing up with a flying train.
  • An episode of the G.I. Joe cartoon featured the Cobra Bullet, a bullet train Cobra used to take away the gold they stole from Fort Knox.
  • Futurama had a train going at the speed of light. When it hits a prism, it splits.
  • The demonic-looking steam locomotive from ''PLAY SAFE! PLAY SAFE!''
  • The Disney Junior animated show Chuggington.
  • The city of Ba Sing Se in Avatar: The Last Airbender has proto-trains made of stone and powered by Earthbenders, travelling along elevated viaducts like a pre-steam El.
  • Subverted in the classic The Simpsons episode "Marge vs. the Monorail". The titular monorail was anything but cool, being a deathtrap sold to the town by a huckster. Not like the Escalator to Nowhere.

    Real Life 
  • Pick a steam locomotive. Any steam locomotive.
    • So much so that they've become ubiquitous in fiction set in that era, whether that fiction be realistic or fantastic. There's a good reason for that: back in the era of steam locomotives, there were precious few alternatives for long distance travel, the only other technological option being sea travel. As such, railroads became the lifeline of many nations, particularly the United States and Canada during the settlement of the West during the latter half of the 19th century. The Trans-Siberian railway is another example, since it connects Moscow to the Far East and forms a major component of a "land bridge" through Eurasia.
    • The reason steam locomotives even from the last days of the steam era are almost without exception still recognisable as simply being bigger versions of Stephenson's Rocket is that being a Cool Train is more or less an inherent feature of that design form. While there have been many, many attempts to design locomotives which avoid the weaknesses of the standard form - principally its dire thermal efficiency - they never succeed in retaining its notable strengths, such as simplicity, ease of repair and ability to keep going even with major parts dysfunctional or missing altogether, and almost invariably end up as Alleged Trains instead.
  • Anything designed by André Chapelon. He was one of the earliest steam locomotive designers to use extensive science to produce more efficient locomotives: many of his designs achieved 12% thermal efficiency, which is double that of practically all other locomotives.
    • Unfortunately, Chapelon's superiors did not agree with him, and were actually bitter and jealous, note  especially at the way his designs showed how bad the "officially approved" locomotives were, both steam and electric. Save a single 4-6-2, ALL of Chapelon's locomotives were scrapped in favour of the "official" (and rather mediocre) designs.
  • Armoured trains and railroad guns from the 19th century through to World War II. Although heck, any steam train counts as a Cool Train (...What?).
    • There were also rail-mobile Mnogo Nukes in the USSR. The RT-23 Molodets/SS-24 "Scalpel" missile trains were disguised as freight trains, but the roofs could open up to allow the nuclear missiles to launch.
      • The LGM-118 Peacekeeper was also planned to be rail-based, but the Cold War ended before this could occur and the missiles were kept in silos. (Eventually the entire Peacekeeper program was scrapped; the rockets were used to make orbital launchers.)
  • The Overland Train. Who needs tracks?
  • There's something to be said for simply and aptly calling the world's biggest steam engine Big Boy.
  • Irish Rail's 071 Class: Anybody who's ever had the experience of one of these bad boys thundering past, two-stroke diesel engine beating against the inside of your chest has got to admit, it's a really Cool Train.
  • Potential runner for most famous train in Britain, if not the world: LNER Class A3 4472 Flying Scotsman.
  • And for that matter, London and North Eastern Railway's A4 Class, one of which holds the world record for fastest steam locomotive. Three examples of the class (out of 35 built between 1935 and 1938) still run, albeit not in regular passenger service. There are 6 of the class that are in preservation. See A4's in preservation
    • The most famous example is probably the record holder itself, Mallard. It now resides at the National Railway Museum in York alongside many other examples of this trope.
  • Or the Japanese 500 Series Sinkansen, seen in greater detail here and here. You can't tell me that train doesn't look faster than a Concorde, and of course, speed is cool.
  • The French TGV. Especially the double deck ones. The fastest wheeled trains in the world.
    • Also, the high speed trains that were tested before the TGV was released. From 1965 to 1977 the French were experimenting with a jet-powered hovertrain. And the first TGV prototype was turbine powered, the turbine only scrapped in favor of good ol' electrified railroad because of the oil crisis.
  • The German Intercity Express, so good that the Netherlands, Russia, and Spain have begun buying that train for their lines.
  • Siemens ES64U "Taurus" is a conventional electric locomotive which can run as a high-speed train at 230 km/h. It set a record of 357 km/h with a standard model, no mods required, but they decided to gear it down for usual rail traffic.
  • The Walt Disney World Monorail trains.
  • F40PH.
  • The Santa Fe Super Chief, the most popular model train design ever.
  • The Russian TE2, TE3, and TE7, which were 1950s diesel engines in Raygun Gothic style. Also from Russia, the N-class, which had the honor of pulling the royal train and P36, one of the last steam express engines to be built.
    • Also from Russia the heavy electric VL-82 dual locomotive. They didn't even remove the Soviet Red Star.
    • The ChME-3, a diesel locomotive made for the Soviet Union in Czechoslovakia, is a rare diesel that looks like a steam locomotive. Seen in Stalker.
  • The best of the streamlined steam trains of the 1930s onward.
    • The Pennsylvania Railroad's streamliners styled by Raymond Loewy, which for their time were science fiction made reality, especially the S1, and to a lesser degree the T1. There are a huge number of works in which a futuristic steam train is modeled on the S1. None survive, though; they weren't as practical as they were cool-looking.
    • Almost any "Streamliner" train counts. Look at the Royal Blue and tell me that train isn't sexy.
    • This Troper considers himself very lucky to have grown up in a city that the Norfolk and Western 611 visited regularly during her excursion career in the late 80's/early 90's.
  • Pennsylvania Railroad hit the jackpot also in electric locomotives and had been cheeky enough to do it throughout Steam Age and Diesel Age of the American rail, with GG1 locomotive. If there was a Queen of the electric locomotives, it could only have been her. Over 100 mph, over 9000 horsepower when needed (although only about half of that in normal traffic), 50 years of service, strong enough to survive a crash through a concrete wall and a fall. Try to find a modern replacement able to do all these and look as cool.
    • The PRR was no slouch when it came to steam locomotives either. The road's own Altoona Works constructed 26 class Q2 4-cylinder "Duplex" type locomotives in 1944. each developing just short of 8,000hp. The Q2 still holds the single unit steam locomotive record for power.
  • And finally, the German Transrapid maglev. Fastest train, period.
  • The British Rail Class 55 "Deltic", Class 43 "High Speed Train" (also known as the "Intercity 125", a reference to its maximum speed) and the "Intecity 225".
  • The A1 class locomotive #60163 Tornado, the first steam engine to be built in Britain for nearly 50 years.
    • This same train appeared on Top Gear and ran from London to Edinburgh with Jeremy Clarkson feeding it coal, making it cooler still. Especially since they ran the train at 75 MPH for most of the journey, which is mighty quick for a Steam Train!
      • Actually, 75mph is pretty slow, considering how most British passenger engines used to perform back in their heyday. Unfortunately, steam locomotives venturing onto the main line these days are bound by ludicrous amounts of red tape and need to conform to tiny little slots in the schedule. Tornado, if permitted, could easily travel much faster - in fact the German railway, Deutsche Bahn, is reported to have said that, should Tornado pay them a visit, she will be allowed to run as fast as she likes.
      • They said in the Top Gear segment that Tornado could go up to 100 MPH but they were being limited to 75 MPH, and to Jeremy Clarkson's disappointment they said "yes" when he asked if there were speed cameras. What makes it a really cool train though is it keeps working when electrics do not.
  • Speaking of armoured trains, the Russian Civil War was all about those. Examples: "Onwards to Moscow", "Officer", "Transamur". Also, this armoured steam train.
    • And the big momma of them all, Leo Trotsky's command train!
  • And 35 years earlier the german Schienenzeppelin
  • The computer-controlled (all is needed is for someone to close the doors) trains of the Docklands Light Railway, which you can see out of the front in.
    • If you think that's cool, wait till you see a truly fully-automated train, like the ones on North-East Line and Circle Line in Singapore. Heavy-rail, standard gauge, six- and three-car trains (on the North East and Circle Lines respectively), each car the size of a typical railroad train car (about 23 metres long, 3.2 metres wide, 3.7 metres high), fully automated down to the doors themselves (they open automatically at stopping stations for a pre-determined amount of time before closing themselves again) - no humans necessary. The only train company staff on the train are there just to ensure that the computers driving the trains don't mess up at what they are supposed to be doing, supervise passenger movement and intervene in the event of an emergency, and answer any queries passengers may have. And they aren't even required to be on the trains all the time, making them truly driverless, no-person-operated trains. And you can look out of the front of the trains too.
    • Malaysia has had a driverless completely automated Light Rail Transit (LRT) system in Kuala Lumpur for a long time (since 1998) and a slightly older system that is manned. Both systems are notorious with locals for being overcrowded during rush hour as well as suffering from frequent breakdowns as the rolling stock is now pretty old. However, things have improved recently with new trains being ordered and speeds being increased. The Malaysian LRT is however not nearly as snazzy as Dubai's Dubai Metro which is both longer and prettier than any other similar system. It is also probably the only metro system to have first and second class carriages as many of the 'locals' don't like mixing with the foreigners that normally use the system so opt to pay the double price to upgrade. However, Dubai's system fails as a) it doesn't really go to the right places and b) is a white elephant since it was built to service a city that doesn't exist yet (and is now bankrupt). Shame.
  • The Pendolino family of "tilting trains".
    • Or even better, the APT (Advanced Passenger Train) which was the original tilting train back in the 1970s. The APT-E (experimental) was powered by Gas Turbines and reached 152.3mph at a time when the fastest normal services ran at 100mph. Even today looks like something out of science fiction [1]
      • The slightly more conventional APT-P (prototype) was a tilting electric train developed around the same time and actually used in passenger service (although due to a combination of a rush into service, bad planning, bad publicity and being British, is not widely viewed as a sucess). It reached a maximum speed of 162.2mph on conventional track (unlike most high speed trains which run on specially built track), a British record which stood for 23 years, and was only beaten by the Eurostar running on Britains first decicated high speed line. After the APT program was cancelled, the technology was sold to the Italians who developed the Pendolino, a version of which is ironically now doing the job the APT was intended for (the London to Glasgow "West Coat Main Line").
    • Your mileage may vary with Pendolino; in Finland it has proven a failure - it handles the harsh Finnish winters poorly. But the VR Inter City trains, pulled by Sr2 electric locomotive and having IC double decker cars with at seat power supplies for laptops and wireless LAN internet connections, might count as Cool Trains.
  • Southern Pacific Railroad's "cab forward" steam locomotives.
  • GM's Aerotrain is the most cool Art-Deco train built during the 1950's. Too Bad it's actually a disguised SW 1200.
  • Oliver Bulleid's "Leader" prototype, which combined diesel-electric design with steam power.
  • Fairlie articulated steam locomotives, AKA the Siamese twins of locomotives.
  • Garratt articulated steam locotives, being the largest steam locomotives ever.
  • The Channel Tunnel Shuttle locomotives. These are 7000kW (9387 hp) making them the most powerful locomotives in the world, and each train has two of them, one at each end. The power is needed due to the trains being nearly half a mile long, and the steep gradients in the tunnel, plus also for redundancy. In the event of one locomotive failing, the remaining locomotive must be able to get the train out of the tunnel unassisted, and both locomotives together must also be able to push another train that has failed infront of them. They have an unusual wheel arrangement with 3 two axle bogies (or trucks), known as Bo-Bo-Bo or Tri-Bo, which is required to enable them to round the sharp curves of the turning loops at each end of the line, whilst still having enough axles for the required weight and power.
  • The Stanier Class 5MT "Black Five". Built for the LMS in the 1930s, it was built to do any job there was. 842 were built overall and some survived right up to the end of steam traction in Britain in August 1968-and a few can be seen on railtours to this day.
  • The DDA40X Centennial, the largest single-unit diesel locomotive ever built. It's massive.
    • Union Pacific was no stranger to super-sized locomotives as the DD40AX's and its other diesel kin (the EMD DD35, GE U50 and Alco C855) were purchased to replace UP's previous fleet of "GTEL" Gas Turbine-Electric Locomotives. The first 15 delivered a "modest" 4500hp, but the later 30 (nicknamed the Big Blows) delivered Over Eight Thousand horsepower. Each of the third generation GETLs were actually comprised of two units each with 6 powered axles. The first unit had the cab and auxiliary equipment, while the second unit held the massive gas turbine and electric generator. Fuel was stored in a steam locomotive tender formerly attached to the UP's classes of super powered steam. The GTELs were retired when the originally low cost heavy residual oil they burned faced increasing demand from the plastics industry and replaced with the aforementioned diesel units.
    • Note the qualifier "single unit" in the DD40AX's record. The Baldwin Centipede (no relation to the human kind) was alas 6 feet shorter than DD40AX, but weighed 9 tonnes more. While a first generation diesel that only produced half the DD40AX's total horsepower, in service with the Pennsylvania Railroad, they were semi-permanently coupled in pairs and classed as a single 6000hp unit with 4 engines, spanning almost 200 feet in length and weighing close to 540 tonnes. Their name comes from having 12 axles per unit in a 2-D-D-2 wheel arrangement.
  • The IORE, the most powerful locomotive in the world by some accounts. Seen in action here.
    • Each half of a IORE is superior in power and tractive effort to a Big Boy. They only work both halves together to haul standard train weights of 8000 tonnes.
  • Baureihe 103, the star on German rails for almost four decades. So cool that LEGO's rendition, the famous 7740 set, has become one of the most sought-after Lego train sets.
  • New Zealand had the H class Fell locomotives. They had horizontal wheels that gripped an additional centre rail to pull trains up an 7% grade line over the Rimutaka Ranges between Wellington and the Wairarapa. They were not particularly powerful — a 250-tonne goods trains required five locomotives, and the trains travelled at walking pace. While Fell locomotives were used temporarily elsewhere in the world until tunnels were built, the Kiwi examples lasted 77 years (1878 to 1955) before someone had the bright idea to dig a tunnel under the ranges.
  • There was also (confusingly) a British Fell locomotive - named after an entirely different Fell. It had six engines, two of which were used only to drive superchargers for the other four, and a unique mechanical transmission, the whole forming an ingenious power generation and transmission system to delight the heart of any mechanical engineering nerd (described in detail on the wiki page and linked reference). Reportedly also made enough noise to wake the dead.
  • Orient Express, anyone? Only the way to Travel Cool in the first half of the 20th century.
  • The Hiawatha F7 steam locomotives of the Milwaukee Road were no slouches in the design department, Streamlined, powerful and reliable.
  • Abraham Lincoln's dead body was actually transported back to Springfield, Illinois in one of these to be buried during his funeral.
  • The National Railway Museum in York, England is the greatest single concentration of cool trains in the world, featuring Stephenson's Rocket of 1829 (influenced all future steam locomotives), the Flying Scotsman, Mallard, the only Shinkansen outside Japan, and others. It also counts Thomas the Tank Engine and the Hogwarts Express as parts of its vast collection.
  • For sheer raw power the EMD SD90MAC and GE AC6000CW are this for the simple fact they're the most powerful single engine trains. 6000 horsepower per train.
    • Alas, they suffer from severe reliability problems (being new designs rushed into production to beat each other), making them more along the lines of Awesome, but Impractical.
  • The "American standard" 4-4-0, star of countless westerns, and the first locomotive to cross a continent.
  • During The Yugoslav Wars, the Serbian Krajina Army improvised an armored train called the Krajina Express.
  • The Chicago, Burlington & Quincy ordered a revolutionary passenger train in 1934 from the Budd Company of Philadelphia, the Pioneer Zephyr, combining diesel-electric propulsion and stainless-steel construction into a high-speed railburner that set the standard for just about every American passenger train to follow. The original Pioneer was restored and is kept at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, while the Nebraska Zephyr was restored to operating condition at the Illinois Railway Museum, and ventures out from time to time at speeds over 80mph, despite being built in the late '30s.

Cool CarSteampunk IndexEldritch Abomination
Cool PlaneLuxury TropesCrimefighting with Cash
Cool StarshipVehicle IndexDrill Tank
Chained to a RailwayRailroad IndexHandcar Pursuit
Cool SwordRule of CoolCool Versus Awesome
Cool TankThe Utterly and Completely Definitive Guide to CoolImprobably Cool Car
Cool StarshipTravel CoolFlying Broomstick
Back to the Future Part IIIImageSource/Live-Action FilmsTime Machine

random
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy
133595
1