"The day's last one-way ticket train pulls in
We smile for the casual closure capturing
There goes the downpour
Here goes my fare thee well"The classic parting of two lovers at the train station. The two Star-Crossed Lovers are saying goodbye: who knows if they will ever see each other again. As the train starts to pull out of the station, the lover staying behind runs alongside to keep his lover in view as long as possible, while the lover on the train either leans out the window or is pressed up against the glass. A very effective Tear Jerker. Can be a Downer Ending, but occasionally the lovers are reunited through The Power of Love. See also Airplane of Love. In a modern American context, this is an Undead Trope, as railroads have decayed in favor of short-hop plane flights and the automobile. It's more frequent in Japanese and European media, where trains remain a vital mode of transportation. In a story with a more supernatural edge, one may be seeing the other off at the Afterlife Express. If the lover who's staying is trying to get to the station before the train pulls out, it overlaps with Race for Your Love
— The Fray, "Vienna"
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- Allison & Lillia plays this trope almost entirely straight (with it being a literal Tear Jerker), though it's subverted a scene (and 15-year Time Skip) later.
- Blue Drop has an interesting variety, in which Mari run's after Hagino's space ship, right before it rams a ship of the invading Arume fleet.
- At the end of Cardcaptor Sakura, Sakura runs by the train to give Syaoran her second teddy bear to signify that they are a couple and that she will wait for him to return.
- Digimon Adventure ended in a tramway goodbye. Digimon Frontier had an odd variant.
- 5 Centimeters per Second has this as one of its many pivotal moments, because it's one of the last times Tohno sees Akari before they permanently part ways. It's made even stronger since it was after the first time they shared a kiss, and spent the whole night catching up and reminiscing, snowed in in an old shack.
- Fullmetal Alchemist plays with and subverts this several times between Edward and Winry, finally playing it straight in the finale.
- The Full Metal Panic!: 2nd Raid OVA used this at the end. Tessa confesses her love to Sagara as he's leaning out of a plane taking off. The music swells romantically, and is then subverted when Sagara mishears and thinks Tessa is admitting to being an alcoholic. Tessa is not amused.
- This comes up at the end of both Galaxy Express 999 movies.
- In Honey and Clover, Hagumi says goodbye to Takemoto when he is about to leave Tokyo by train after his graduation. Despite Takemoto's feelings for her they are not lovers, but it still leads to a heart-wrenching bittersweet ending, especially when Takemoto opens Hagumi's farewell gift later on.
- Maiden Rose opens with what should be a by-the-book Train-Station Goodbye scene but then unexpectedly takes out the "goodbye" part which launches off the whole story to follow.
- Meiko and Namura in Marmalade Boy, complete with Saigo no Yakusoku — a massive Tear Jerker in and of itself — playing in the background.
- The Satoshi Kon movie Millennium Actress has Chiyoko chasing the mysterious artist to the train station just as the train pulls away.
- Both played straight and subverted in Neon Genesis Evangelion - Touji and Kensuke show up to say their farewells to Shinji, but Misato's arrival at the very last minute causes Shinji to change his mind.
- Sentimental Journey - Kaho's episode ends with her handing off a bento box to her (female) best friend who's moving away.
- The anime and manga series Victorian Romance Emma uses the 'just too late' variant when Emma leaves London and William chases her to the station.
- In Sailor Moon, Ami says goodbye to Ryou this way. Later subverted with Rei and Yuichirou: the train turns out to be a Monster of the Week. Oddly, the actual example (given that Ryou barely appears again from that point) is very light-hearted in tone, while the subversion is a real Tear Jerker episode complete with appropriate Crowning Music of Awesome.
- In Muhyo and Roji, happens when Roji leaves on a train for training at the MLS after being temporarily dismissed by Muhyo, which raises the question of whether they will get back together.
- In Pokémon Special, following the events at the Nimbasa Ferris Wheel, White decides to take on the Battle Subway to learn how to fight. White says her goodbyes to Black from the train window, who muses all that they've done together and how he'll win the League for the sake of both their dreams. Yes, he does end up running after the train while it goes off, but somehow manages to hurl the Pokeball with his Braviary inside to her so that she has three Pokemon to challenge the Subway with.
- Subverted in Sakamichi No Apollon when Junichi decides at the last second to take Yurika with him.
- Not lovers, but in Hidamari Sketch, when Yuno's train to take her back after a visit home starts off, her father runs while keeping his upper half erect and visible in the vertical door window.
- Nate sees the yo-kai Bruff off in one episode of Yo-kai Watch. It's played for laughs considering the melodramatic nature of the episode. Nate even runs after the train and falls down while running.
- Parodied in an episode of Yuru-Yuri. Akari barely misses a train and chases it futilely as it pulls from the station. After hearing the commotion outside, Kyoko sticks her head out one of the train's windows and acts as though this trope is in effect.
- In Amazing Spider-Man #143 (1974), Mary Jane Watson accompanies Peter Parker to JFK airport from where he and Robbie Robertson are going to fly to Paris for a story. The two had been dating for a while, but it is only now, before they are saying farewell that she asks him to kiss her. It is a good kiss, and a major turning point in their relationship, and set up that their love had now grown so strong that not even the introduction of Gwen Stacy's clone (that very issue) could derail it.
Films — Animated
- Near the beginning of Zootopia, Judy says goodbye to her family before she boards a train to Zootopia for her new job on the police force. Cotton, a child bunny who is her favorite niece, brings a slight parody to trope by being the one who shouts "Bye Judy, I love you....Bye...Bye" as the train doors shut and running alongside the train as it pulls away.
Films — Live-Action
- The Trope Maker is 1944 film Since You Went Away, with Jane and Bill's tearful goodbye at the train station, complete with declarations of love, Jane running after the train, and Bill handing her a keepsake from the moving train window.
- An early and pretty frosty example can be found in Dodsworth, where the female lead bids the male lead goodbye after telling him she wants a divorce.
- The Since You Went Away version was parodied in Airplane! with the soldier on the plane, leaning out the hatch as it taxis down the runway, and his lover running alongside yelling her goodbyes whilst colliding with various stuff.
- Accompanied by the plane making steam engine noises.
- Brief Encounter with Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson. Starts and ends at the train station in Carnforth, Lancashire, England. No one does any running though.
- Occurs in the film The Butterfly Effect when the boy and the girl are still in adolescence. The boy holds up a sign reading, "I'll come back for you". He does several years later, but it doesn't end well... at least in that timeline.
- Casablanca, of course. Although it's a Subverted Trope, because no one was waiting for Rick at the station.
- Far From Heaven: Julianne Moore's character rushes to the train station to say goodbye to Dennis Haysbert. He sees her at the platform, but makes no move to get off the train and go to her. The train pulls away from the station with the two of them looking at each other, then Dennis steps back inside the train as it rolls down the tracks.
- Parodied ruthlessly in Hot Shots! Part Deux. After Topper's fiancee leaves him, it starts raining at the train station...but only on him.
- In Mr. Nobody, the young hero has to decide whether to leave with his mother (on the train) or to stay behind with his father (at the station). The movie explores both of his possible futures separately.
- Done with a bus in As One, but otherwise played letter-straight, with Bun-hi being taken away on the bus while Jung-hwa follows along outside, calling out to Bun-hi, reaching for her hand, and giving Bun-hi a ring. Tears are shed.
- Two Women plays this straight, with Giovanni saying goodbye to Cesira as she leaves Rome, and following along as the train starts to pull away.
- The Muppets Take Manhattan has the "Saying Good-Bye" scene with Kermit and Piggy.
- In The Namesake film based on the book, this is messed with viciously. Gogol(now Nikhil) and Moushumi are about to go on a train to see Gogol's parents. Gogol then finds out about Moushumi's affair with her high school sweetheart. Gogol turns away from her in the train station and Moushumi walks away, embarrassed.
- Inverted in Safety Last!. The movie opens with a scene that appears to show Harold about to be hanged while his family bids goodbye from behind the bars. Then the camera angle shifts and it turns out that it is actually a train station.
- Another parody occurs in Young Frankenstein, with Madeline Kahn getting caught in the departing train's steam/smoke and coughing her lungs out.
- Anne of Green Gables, when she goes off to Queens College. "She'll be gone so long, she'll get terrible lonesome".
- There's another one in "Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story" when Gilbert goes off to war shortly after their wedding. It's the only movie to not follow any canon at all (it's not even in the right time period), but the love scenes are heartwrenching.
- Used in the film The Secret in Their Eyes, which finds the protagonist's lover chasing the train down the platform, even though they've already exchanged "I love you"'s.
- In Closely Watched Trains, the main character is about to kiss his love interest who's on the last car of a train. The train starts moving before their lips can touch.
- Pee-wee's Big Adventure features a bus depot goodbye as Simone (the waitress he befriended earlier) waves good by to Pee-Wee as she goes on her way to Paris, complete with hankerchief.
- In The Journey of Natty Gann, Natty and Harry have a touching farewell at the bus station, including a kiss, when Harry leaves for California to work while Natty stays in Washington to look for her father. The movie leaves it open-ended as to whether or not they're likely to see each other again, although Natty is shown writing a letter to Harry before the ending.
- In Carry On Girls, Peter Potter is leaving on a train to Fircombe to help promote a beauty contest. His girl, Paula Perkins, doesn't know about the beauty contest, and is there to see him off. She gets miffed when all the pretty girls are also boarding the train. When the train lurches off, Peter manages to tear the top of one girl down, while Paula is still watching.
- In A Man and a Woman, Jean-Louis sees his love, Anne, off at the train station. Then he drives like crazy to be in Paris before her train arrives.
- 1925 silent film classic The Big Parade features a Troop Transport Goodbye, in which the hero has to leave his pretty French girlfriend when his regiment is called up to the front. It's a different vehicle but otherwise the trope is played perfectly straight.
- In I Love You Phillip Morris Phillip runs through the prison and out into the prison "garden" to chase after the prison bus Steven was on and they promise they'll see each other again. Steven drops the title of the film in the process.
- The Leo McCarey classic Make Way for Tomorrow has a Tear Jerker one of these. An old couple are forced to separate when they lose their home and none of their kids can/are willing to take them both in. Things get worse, and finally Pa has to go to California by train. The kids are discussing the situation and you're left with the hope that they'll find some way to get Ma out there too. But the old couple are certain they'll die before reuniting, and they have a long, heartfelt farewell.
- Sterne has a particularly harsh Tear Jerker, as the train in question is a cattle car taking Ruth to Auschwitz, being hopelessly chased by the protagonist Walter.
- Done in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai: Rahul runs along Anjali's train to convince her not to leave. The twist is that it plays like the traditional starcrossed lovers scene, but Anjali's love for Rahul is unrequited and he shows up at the train station accompanied by his girlfriend.
- Seen in Michael Collins when Michael and Kitty bid farewell to Harry Boland, who is departing for a trip to America. Kitty kisses her then-beau Harry goodbye.....and is then forced to do the same with Michael when some British officers demand to see her papers. The music that plays over the scene is even titled 'Train Station Farewell' on the soundtrack.
- At the end of The Front Page, Walter Burns sees Hildy Johnson and his bride-to-be off at the train station, even giving Hildy his watch as a wedding gift. It had been a gift from "The Old Chief," so there's some sentimental value there. After the train leaves, Walter wires ahead to the next station that "the son of a bitch stole my watch."
- Heartwarming moments when Joe sees Katherine off in Fury (1936), including a Memento MacGuffin ring being handed over.
- At the end of Adele Hasn't Had Her Dinner Yet, Nick Carter is boarding the Orient Express in Prague. He's traveling to Egypt to investigate why the Pyramid of Cheops disappeared. He's saying goodbye to his love Kvetuska – who is sad but understands that he is the only one who can solve "the pyramidal mystery". He's also saying goodbye to Professor Bocek, Kvetuska's grandfather, and his Prague sidekick police commissioner Ledvina.
- Played completely straight in My Reputation which has Jess tearfully saying goodbye to Major Scott. He then says that he'll marry her once he gets back from the war front.
- Before Sunrise. Just... Before Sunrise.
- Harry Potter presents us with a variant that offers a touch of foreshadowing. In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Ginny runs after the Hogwarts Express to say goodbye to her brothers, and there in the train with them is Harry.
- Spoofed in the Sven Hassel war novel Comrades Of War when Dumb Muscle Tiny falls in love with Battleaxe Nurse Emma. As the train is leaving for the Russian front, he leans out the window shouting that he'll put in for medical leave so he can see her again, only to get hit in the head by a passing pole, whereupon he shouts gleefully, "See, I've got a skull fracture!"
- Murder on the Orient Express opens this way with Hercule M. Potriot boarding a train from Syria to Istanbul.
Live Action TV
- Early Edition setup for one of these, but when Gary reached the train station, the girl wasn't there: she'd decided to take an earlier train because she knew if he tried to talk her out of going, she'd probably stay.
- An episode of Goodnight Sweetheart had Gary running after the Eurostar to say goodbye to Yvonne, only to trip over a luggage trolley. Notably, the 1940s plot was that Noël Coward wanted Gary to have a walk-on in Brief Encounter.
- Saturday Night Live spoofed this trope, in which a woman (Casey Wilson) continuously chases her World War I-bound lover (Zac Efron) even as the train breaks into full speed.
- Seen in ER's episode "Union Station", which also averted the Race for Your Love trope when Mark Greene dashed to the train station to declare his love to the departing Susan Lewis and beg her not to leave, only to have her rebuff him and leave anyway.
- Used in Bramwell, along with Race for Your Love, which had Eleanor Bramwell running to the train station in order to reconcile with her lover.
- Happens in Glee at the end of "Goodbye" between Finn and Rachel.
- "Penélope", a song by the Spanish singer Joan Manuel Serrat, is about a Train Station Goodbye. The man, however, returns several years later.
- The Monkees song "Last Train to Clarksville"
- Though in this case, the eponymous train is the one she's taking to meet him. He isn't actually leaving until the morning.
- "Love in Vain" by Robert Johnson (Covered Up by The Rolling Stones).
- The song "Summer Rain" by Belinda Carlisle contains this in the chorus, as she is "whispering our goodbyes/waiting for a train/I was dancing with my baby/in the summer rain." The music video depicts a Train-Station Goodbye as well.
- The video for Cyndi Lauper's Time After Time features one at the end.
- One is implied in the first verse of Styx's "Babe": "My train is going/I see it in your eyes/The love, the need, your tears..."
- Al Jolson's "Toot Toot Tootsie."
That little choo-choo train
That takes me
Away from you, no words can tell how sad it makes me.
- "White Room" by Cream has a second verse using this trope, including lines like "Platform ticket, restless diesels, goodbye windows/I walked into such a sad time at the station."
- "Leaving Nancy" by Eric Bogle, which is based on Bogle saying goodbye to his mother at the train station as he left to emigrate to Australia.
- At the end of Milfeulle's route in the first Galaxy Angel game, this occurs when Milfeulle decides to leave the force... even though they're in space. Don't worry, she's not gone for good, from either the Love Interest or the military.
- Played with in Kingdom Hearts II when, after Roxas merges with Sora at the end of the prologue, Sora cries when he leaves Twilight Town on the train even though he hardly knows the people he is leaving and doesn't seem to be leaving for good.
- One occurs in the second bonus level of Ouendan 2.
- The end of Persona 4 has your whole group of friends doing this to you.
- An (arguably) non-romantic example is the ending of the fourth case of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, in which Phoenix's sidekick Maya goes to train in the Kurain Channeling technique in her hometown, and Phoenix says his goodbyes to her at the station.
- Grim Fandango does an alternative take on this with Glottis being unable to go beyond the Land of the Dead with Manny and Meché; whilst it obviously isn't romantic in any way, it's still a potential tear jerker through Glottis embracing Manny and crying about how he's the best boss he's ever had.
- An NPC in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door hangs out at the Rogueport train station because she loves the thought of these.
- Please remember to keep your head and arms inside the vehicle at all times.◊
- St Pancras Station, in London, has a statue of a couple embracing called The Meeting Place under the clock, which is presumably meant to evoke this trope.
- Beatrix Potter, the author of The Tale of Peter Rabbit had this happen with tragic consequences in Real Life. Her parents objected to her engagement and insisted she leave with them for the country to wait 6 months to "test" if these feelings were strong enough. Her fiance saw her off at the train station while it was raining. He caught pneumonia. Then he died.