[[quoteright:300:[[Franchise/{{Superman}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/trainsquashing.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:300:More powerful than a locomotive.]]

->''"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, 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."''
-->-- ''The Superhero Handbook'' by Michael Powell

Maybe [[RunawayTrain a train is out of control,]] maybe a train is approaching a destroyed bridge, maybe someone is [[ChainedToARailway is chained to the tracks,]] maybe a villain is trying to [[TrainEscape escape via a train,]] or perhaps a [[TraintopBattle action sequence involving trains]] is going 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 UsefulNotes/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. It doesn't necessarily need to be a train; a [[ComingInHot crashing airplane]] or [[ReentryScare re-entering spacecraft]] works just as well.

Oh, also, sometimes there's just [[TrackTrouble 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.



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* In ''Manga/{{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 ''Manga/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 ''Manga/OnePiece'' Franky [[SubvertedTrope tries]] to do this in order to rescue Tom, but he fails. [[MadeOfIron He manages to live, though.]]
* In the ''LightNovel/UnbreakableMachineDoll'', the two main characters pull this off in the first chapter.
* In ''Manga/FistOfTheNorthStar'', Kenshiro stopped Gyoko's train to save the villagers, he didn't just stop the train, he ''[[PedestrianCrushesCar broke the train with one hand]]''.
* In ''Anime/PrettyCureAllStars New Stage'', Fusion launches a tanker boat down a railroad-like ramp. The ''Anime/SuitePrettyCure'' and ''Anime/SmilePrettyCure'' teams stop it, but barely... until Fusion swats them aside and sends it flying. Waiting at the bottom? [[Anime/FutariWaPrettyCure 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.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ComicBook/WonderWoman in ''More Fun Comics'' #1.
* ComicBook/GreenLantern's first appearance.
* Franchise/{{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.
* ''Comicbook/{{Supergirl}}'':
** In ''Superman Family'' #217, Supergirl [[https://maidofmight.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/superman-family-217_01.jpg stops a train without needing to break it]].
** Subverted in ''[[Comicbook/{{Supergirl 2005}} Supergirl vol. 5]]'' #18. Kara stops a train but it breaks in half and derails upon crashing onto her indestructible body. Kara has a breakdown but she calms down -a bit- when she discovers that it was an illusion.
* A miniseries of Franchise/SpiderMan called: ''Spider-Man: 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/XMen'' 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 ''ComicBook/UltimateXMen'', Colossus is ordered to do this by Wraith, even though Colossus isn't even sure he'll survive it.
* Big Bertha of the ComicBook/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.
* The Brubaker & Fraction run on ''ComicBook/ImmortalIronFist'' culminates with Danny Rand punching a bullet train loaded with explosives.
* A parody comic featured Superman using his body to bridge a gap in a train track, with the engineers commenting that this happens regularly. Cut to Superman enjoying his vigorous back massage.
* Horribly deconstructed in ''ComicBook/TheBoys'' using a plane. A corporate band of superheroes are sent to rescue the last 9/11 plane (in this verse, the CIA's warnings were heeded, and the other three planes were shot down by the Air Force). It starts to go downhill when they can't hear each other over the wind, then they open the door and a kid gets sucked out. Then the super who was supposed to pilot the plane falls out. It ends with the supers cutting their way out through the ''passengers'' in their desperation to get out (when asked why he doesn't hold up the plane, the Homelander replies that there's nothing for him to push against). The only positive aspect of the entire thing is that the plane crashed into the Brooklyn Bridge instead of the WTC.
* Featured prominently on the cover of the April 1979 issue of ShogunWarriors, where TrackTrouble has caused Combatra to pause a fight with Rok-Korr in order to catch the first car of the train before it falls into a ravine. (Passengers are still shown tumbling out of the open doors of the train car.)

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheIncredibles'', Mr Incredible stops a train from riding over an exploded railtrack, although several people [[HilaritySues sue him]] for the resulting injuries. Still, Mr. Incredible visibly cringes in preparation of the incoming slam; it won't kill him, but it is still going to ''hurt''.
* The imagination portion of ''WesternAnimation/ToyStory3'' plays with this: Woody fails to save a RunawayTrain filled with orphan trolls before it falls over a destroyed bridge... cue the BigDamnHeroes moment for Buzz Lightyear as he catches the train in midair and saves the day.
* ''WesternAnimation/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.]]

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* 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.
* 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.
* In ''Film/SupermanTheMovie'' (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.

* ''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.

* In ''Series/LoisAndClark,'' Superman has to do this. However, this is in the 90s, in the scheme of things not terribly long ComicBook/PostCrisis, so he has great difficulty doing it (when his PowerCreepPowerSeep is at its ''most'' ridonkulous, the man who can move planets with his bare hands doesn't worry too much about trains. But this Supes ain't that Supes.) Naturally, in the end he ''does'' prove to be "more powerful than a locomotive." The fact that it's hard for him averts the usual problem of horizontal NotTheFallThatKillsYou: the train ''definitely'' slows down gradually instead of being stopped instantly (which would rightfully result in as much passenger squishification as being stopped with equal suddenness by a crash.)
* ''Series/{{Supergirl 2015}}'':
** After guiding a plane to a safe water landing in the pilot episode, Supergirl gets to stop her first train in the fourth episode, [[Recap/Supergirl2015S1E4HowDoesSheDoIt "How Does She Do It?"]] After failing to convince a suicide bomber in a mag-lev train's lead car not to activate his bomb, Supergirl decouples the rest of the train and slows it to a stop, allowing the car to carry the bomb to a safe distance.
** In the second season's "[[Recap/Supergirl2015S2E14Homecoming Homecoming]]," in order to escape the villains detonate several charges on a train bridge, which just so happens to have a train incoming. Supergirl welds one of the rails back into place with HeatVision and holds up the other herself as the train passes over.
* ''Series/LegendsOfTomorrow'': Nate Heywood AKA Steel, gets to do this at the climax of the Season 2 episode [[http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Recap/LegendsOfTomorrowS2E6OutlawCountry ''Outlaw Country'']], preventing it from reaching the pass and exploding the load of [[{{Unobtanium}} dwarfstar ore]] it's carrying. He's visibly excited after he succeeds.
--->''(raising his fists into the air)'' "I STOPPED THE TRAIN!"

* The reggae song ''Stop That Train'', best known in the version of Music/BobMarleyAndTheWailers, heard on ''Music/CatchAFire''.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* In ''TabletopGame/SentinelsOfTheMultiverse'', one of the hazards in Megalopolis is an out-of-control train. If the heroes don't do enough damage to the card, it deals enormous damage to the two targets with the highest HP. Given that one of these is usually the main villain, it can be advantageous to leave the card out -- provided the next highest HP target doesn't mind. Also, one of Legacy's cards depicts him catching a locomotive -- possibly the same one -- and his flavor text quips, "Excuse me, I have a train to catch."

[[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 ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaPortraitOfRuin''.
* Subverted in ''VideoGame/StarFox64''. How do you stop the gigantic Forever Train? You blow it up. Starting at the back.
* Subverted in ''VideoGame/Uncharted2AmongThieves''. 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 ''VideoGame/MetalSlug'' title.
* According to its Pokedex entry, Hariyama from ''Franchise/{{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 ''[[{{VideoGame/Contra}} Contra: Hard Corps]]'' against the blue mecha, one of the bosses. It [[RacingTheTrain outruns the train]] then pushes it to a halt. The port of ''Contra III: The Alien Wars'' for the UsefulNotes/GameBoyAdvance even imports this battle into that game. A similar instance also occurs with another blue mecha boss in ''Shattered Soldier''
* [[TheBigGuy The Heavy]] does this at the climax of ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'''s "End of the Line" update video against a train headed for the bases's explosives stockpile. Even with the Heavy's StoutStrength and the Medic's [[NighInvulnerability ÜberCharge]], some of the train cars get derailed and destroy some outlying buildings, but everyone survives in the end.
* A stage in ''VideoGame/ZoneOfTheEnders: The 2nd Runner'' starts with a BattleshipRaid against a train. Then Jehuty has to stop the flaming wreck manually, because a high-speed train [[RealityEnsues keeps going at high speed]], even after getting destroyed.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Mr. Mighty in ''Webcomic/EverydayHeroes'' [[http://eheroes.smackjeeves.com/comics/1891142/mighty-annoyed/ has to do this]] to protect a BusFullOfInnocents.
* A comic shows Superman replacing a gap in a bridge, with the engineers commenting that this an increasingly frequent occurence. The final panel is Superman enjoying his vigorous back massage.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In three "[[LetsPlay/AchievementHunterGrandTheftAutoSeries Things to do in Grand Theft Auto V]]", the Creator/AchievementHunter team attempts to do this with the train the drives around in ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoV''. They tried with buses, a tunnel filled with dump trucks and an entire conga line of dump trucks. None of them stop it.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/CaptainPlanetAndThePlaneteers'' used this one, with the Captain saving a runaway monorail car.
* The ''Franchise/{{DCAU}}'' has several takes on this:
** ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries''
*** "Christmas With The Joker". Being {{Badass 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.
** ''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 intentionally ''does'' to show his power, causing a huge pile-up. There's also another variation in "My Girl" when terrorists misfire their BFG and destroy a railroad bridge and Superman uses himself as the tracks.
** In "Identity Crisis", Bizarro attempts to stop a bridge from "collapsing". Unfortunately it's ''opening'' to let a boat through.
** ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeague'':
*** "Metamorphosis" opens with Green Lantern / John Stewart stopping a runaway train. It still crashes into a station, but without him the damage would've been much worse.
*** Justice Lord! Wonder Woman stops a train after an overpass is wrecked during Doomsday's first appearance.
*** 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 [[ImaginationBasedSuperpower Yellow Lantern Ring.]]
* In a ShoutOut to ''Film/SpiderMan2'', ''WesternAnimation/TheSpectacularSpiderMan'' does this. [[IncrediblyLamePun Spectacularly.]] In that case it was an 18-wheel semi.
* In his first theatrical cartoon, ComicStrip/{{Popeye}} saves Olive Oyl, who is ChainedToARailway, by ''punching out'' the train at the last second.
** In another cartoon, Bluto pretends that he's {{Franchise/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 ''WesternAnimation/XMenEvolution''. 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.
* ''[[WesternAnimation/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 ''WesternAnimation/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.
* ''WesternAnimation/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 WesternAnimation/SupermanTheatricalCartoons 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 1973-74 episode "The Power Pirate", Superman saves a train rolling backwards down a mountain by using his strength to bring it to a stop.
** In the opening title for the 1973-74 season, 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!
* ''WesternAnimation/TheNewAdventuresOfSuperman'': In "The Iron Eater", Clark Kent is travelling on a train when the eponymous monster eats the tracks in front of the train. Clark has to do a fast train change to Superman and stop the train before it derails.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* At 1 G of acceleration, a superhero could stop a 250 mile per hour train in 11.4 seconds over a distance of 637 meters. For a far more typical 79 MPH train, 3.6 seconds over 63.6 meters. On the other hand, at that level, the train would tend to crumple, like trying to stand a rope on end. Matching real trains' real emergency braking of .15 G would stop a 250 MPH train in 76 seconds over 4244 meters, or a 79 MPH train in 24 seconds over 424 meters.