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  • How have the Snowpiercer's tracks held up for eighteen years without maintenance? Train tracks need regular maintenance to stay in good order - and the faster the train, the more work is needed. Plus, the ground itself will shift over time from the weight of trains, meaning more and more ballast will have to be added to keep the rails level. Unless the rails were made of adamantium, ice flows, avalanches, and the cold itself would have probably warped the tracks after a few years and made them impassable. It's hard to believe that huge structures like the Yekaterina Bridge could still take the weight of the train after standing in such harsh conditions for 18 years without maintenance.
    • Well, we are talking about a future where a perpetual motion train is a possibility. Physics-defying tracks aren't terribly far off from that, surely.
      • Even the "eternal" engine needed replacement parts, though.

  • If the train needed to keep the tailender population under control, why not just distribute birth control? They didn't seem to be worried about running out of anything else.
    • If they had done that, then there wouldn't have been any children for them to use as replacement train parts. Forcing the passengers to take or use birth control wouldn't have helped the elite class's image any and would have caused further resentment, and there are probably some that would have found ways to make it look like they were taking or using it but really weren't. Administering it secretly through the protein blocks would have been figured out eventually, because you'd have to give it to everyone, and since birth control pills have female hormones in them changes in the men would have been noticed eventually.

  • Considering the higher-ups assign no value to their lives anyway, why do they have such a large tailender population at all? We finally get a justification for keeping them around at the very end of the film (breeding stock to work the engine), but they'd really only need a dozen or so women and a handful of men at the most to supply that. The rest of the tailenders are not a working class, nor are they used to produce anything other than a few babies every other year. The vast majority seem to be there just so the bad guys can have someone to oppress.
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    • Possibly there is one more thing the tail-enders provide, that isn't stated outright in the film, but could have value nonetheless: the chance for adding actual new faces to the front-ender community. For all their comparative luxuries and elitism, the front-enders are just as trapped in the train as the tail-enders, seeing the same few hundred faces and the same twenty or so upper-class train cars every day of their lives. Their cage is still a cage, however gilded; sooner or later, they're going to get bored out of their minds. By conscripting an occasional tail-end adult to serve the upper classes, whether as a menial servant or as entertainment like the violinist, Wilford can provide a little variety in the front-enders' lives - new faces and voices to establish a relationship with, even if it's that of a superior with an inferior - without them ever realizing he's psychologically manipulating them as much as he does, the underclass.

  • Where do all of the upper class people even LIVE? We saw a bunch of train cars that seemed incredibly inefficient, such as restaurant, sauna, and nightclub cars. The train doesn't seem long enough to have more cars than what we've seen, and the population toward the front seems to have as many people as the tail end has, just dispersed more.
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    • Make that a question about the upper-class logistics in general. Are we really supposed to believe that one greenhouse car, one aquarium car and one slaughterhouse car (and mind you, we haven't seen any warehouse cars at all) were sufficient to keep what appears to be, at the very least, several dozen individuals living in opulence for 17 years? Even assuming they had access to unlimited amounts of everything but food, there's still no way the train could produce enough to keep them all alive, much less with enough to live like kings.
    • This Troper assumed that the cars are double- or triple-decked, and we only saw one level of the operation. Perhaps the top deck is for recreational areas, the middle for living quarters, and the bottom for support facilities. Still, given the number of passengers at the rave and the number of mooks involved the bridge battle, it would take some seriously efficient design to feed them all.
      • This partially confirmed, as we see the tail-enders ascend at least one staircase as they move forward.
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    • They pass through more cars than explicitly shown in the movie; see for example when Franco the Elder shoots Curtis through the windows. There are about a dozen cars between Franco and Curtis, while we've only seen them passing through about four since they left the teaching car (from which Franco shoots). Note also that one of first cars the tailenders pass through is empty and has plenty of living space (Tanya even says "Look at all these beds! Where is everybody?")

  • The way things were going, how much longer could the train have operated? Wilford can't replace every mechanical part with human labor - eventually, a drive shaft, flywheel, or similar component would have gone down. What would he do then?
    • Wilford's motives are easier to understand if you assume that he really couldn't care less if humanity survives, only if his train does. And only for as long as he, himself, lives: once he's dead, he'll have achieved his personal dream of lifelong rail travel, and what happens next is somebody else's problem. Keeping the population stable and the social hierarchy intact is just another aspect of keeping the train's components - whether tail-born child cog or front-end elite - in working order to him.

  • Was using children to solve mechanical problems always part of Wilford's plan? Or did he bring what he thought would be enough space parts, run out, and go to Plan B?
    • Presumably even Wilford didn't know the world was going to freeze when he'd first dreamed up the idea for a world-encircling train, and he initially planned for a perpetual-motion engine as an ideal to aim for, not something he'd actually believed it would need. When the Ice Age struck, he'd have loaded it with as many replacement parts as were available at the time, and hoped like hell the climate would revert before anything irreplaceable ran out.

  • What did the axemen in the Yekaterina battle normally do? The other sections all seemed normally staffed. Did Wilford just have them on call for 17 years?
    • This troper assumes they're usually the butchers from the empty meat locker boxcar they go through several cars later. Hence the fish and axes.
    • The tailenders pass through a few deserted cars before the battle happens. Presumably the axemen normally resided there.
    • Night shift, possibly? Even the child "replacement parts" weren't expected to work 24-7; that's why Timmy and Andy were taken at the same time.

  • Okay so if we believe Wilford, Gilliam is working for him the whole time, but what exactly did he get out of that arrangement. He lost a leg, an arm, had to live in the back of the train and he was forced to live off bug bars for 18 years. Unless he was getting secret food packages, late night gab sessions with Wilford don't seem like a fair exchange.
    • The continued supply of protein bars to the survivors, making sure that the world didn't descend back to the hell he sacrificed his arm to stop the first time.

  • Can the train stop? I mean I know it's some sort of perpetual motion engine so does that mean it always has to be moving? I'm just wondering because if can stop what's the advantage of trapsing all over the world over ever more fragile tracks and bridges as opposed to finding a secure location to stop and live in?
    • From the stories of the frozen escapees (and the hordes of snap-frozen bodies clambering to shelter), being outside the train at the beginning of the great freezing sounds like a recipe for instant death. It's also mentioned that the train collects water through the engine by breaking up ice and snow and transferring it inside, while a self-sustaining, perpetual motion train running over a global network of indestructible train tracks and bridges is definitely a symptom of Rule of Cool; the outside world seems to be far, faaaar too inhospitable for human life until at least 17 years after the fact, when it's observed that "the snow is melting!".
    • I'd guess that the train has too much momentum to ever stop under its own power. And the engine that keeps the train running seems to be the same engine that keeps the train warm and hospitable, but given that the bonkers Teacher told us that, that could be BS.
    • If the engine were disconnected from the rest of the drive train, or simply switched off, then presumably the Rattling Ark would expend its formidable kinetic energy in the process of clearing the tracks of snow and ice. Or if the snow does melt and the climate become livable again, then internal and external friction would do the job over the course of many, many miles.

  • I get Wilford is meant to be crazy/evil but what are his reasons for keeping everyone in the rear so miserable? If he'd just treated them with a bit of fairness and gave them a fair share of the resources, they wouldn't constantly need to revolt. It's seems strange that he's so indulgent with the first class passengers, they have a whole cabin devoted to a steamroom for pete's sake, but he crams everyone else into a steelbox. So why the big difference in treatment?
    • Wilford is the mastermind behind all the revolts, to keep the population in balance. A resentful underclass serves as a breeding ground for exactly the kind of attempted revolution he wants.
    • As pointed out above, though, tailenders aren't being put to use for anything in the meantime aside from making an occasional baby. If population control is really the aim of his "revolution" and not just shits n' giggles for the sake of villainy, then it would have been just as evil but much more pragmatic of Wilford to not even have an underclass to begin with, and instead simply keep a handful of women around for breeding purposes. Of course, if he did that, there'd be no movie.
    • Given that the only ''other'' closed-system human civilization traveling through a freezing void, making one complete circuit a year, that we have first-hand experience with works the exact same way, with many rich people revelling in nauseating amounts of decadence and waste without a second thought, and many poor living in unimaginable squalor and misery, instead of everybody just sharing resources fairly, is it really so hard to believe that a bootstrapped American entrepreneur like Wilford would give himself and the upper class much more than they need while neglecting the third-class ghettos?
    • The film makes it clear that tail-section inhabitants aren't even passengers. They are free-loaders. They weren't included in the original plan and Wilford keeps them alive just in case he ever needs them, but does so in the lowest possible effort, because he has no real resources to do so - or so he believes, as they weren't part of his "great plan". Wilford is not stupid in sense of Stupid Evil. But he's delusional about own greatness, thus absolutely unable to reconsider his plan could be wrong or things should be done differently. It has nothing to do with being evil for the sake of evil. It's about his inability to accept that he might be wrong. Hubris at its finest. Word of God is all about this approach.

  • If Edgar was raised by Gilliam and Curtis, how did he acquire an Irish accent?
    • He may have been given to an Irish woman on board whose baby had died or already been butchered. Babies need milk, after all.

  • On a similar note, if Edgar's mother was killed trying to protect her baby, why didn't the cannibal youths just eat her and leave the baby alive? At best it'd be a concession to lingering humanity, at worst it'd keep Edgar's flesh fresh for later.
    • The tailenders were almost feral at that point and, as noted towards the end of the film, babies taste the best. They weren't thinking. They just wanted what they considered to be the tastiest thing to eat at that moment.

  • How on earth are children a practical replacement for parts? There's a lot of extraneous things on this train, including extra cars. Considering heavy machinery is present in board, why didn't Wilford apply his intelligence and convert some of it into milling equipment, and scrap the superfluous things to make replacements- even ramshackle versions. even rough attempts at parts should be more effective than trying to tell a kid how to preform this stuff. Kids tire easily, and are very clumsy. PLUS whatever he is replacing with kids isn't that advanced, considering small children can preform their functions. So the parts are likely very simple.

  • Geography doesn't stick on two different levels. During the classroom scene, we are shown the map of the entire railway. While it's simplified and as part of an advertising cartoon, it still provides a lot of information and is more than confusing.
    • The animation shows the train passing in specific order, over specific tracks, bumping specific labels on the map. This way we know the train goes south after crossing the Yekaterina Bridge, passing through Central Asia. There are no shores in Central Asia, thus it would be impossible to watch a destroyed port through the window in the sushi bar, especially a one with huge tanker crashed on the shore. And given the speed of the train and other details sprinkled throughout the film, they end up crashing somewhere in northern Iran. This would made a LOT more sense if the label was just mistaken in the production and the train would actually be moving around the north-most parts of Russia, thus an area which not only is an arctic region even now, but has a sea-shore and a population of polar bears.
    • The train moves between 70-80 km per hour, which is brought up numerous times. That means making between 600 to 700 thousands kilometers a year. There is no way the whole route is that long, especially as it cuts through polar region.
    • The map presumably is propaganda. If Wilford didn't claim that the train goes all over the planet, people might start wondering if there's a habitable belt near the equator that they should try to re-direct their course towards, which could get everybody killed if they're wrong and wind up on a dead-end track to nothing but more ice.
  • The story makes far more sense if you assume Wilford is also Clairvoyant and has been since he was a kid. Its how he knew that the violin string would snap seconds after the bullet note saying 'blood' was opened. When Wilford was a kid he had a vision that the world would freeze and he loved trains so he made a train that couldn't be frozen. That is why he built a train designed for frozen terrain (why go there) and called it The Snowpiercer (as opposed to The Globe Trotter), it has a water filtration system (the train would most of its time in unfrozen areas and it can just pick up water like normal at a train stop), and why the train has a prison section (unless its for pets?), has crazy high security (its a train, not a bank vault), and why the engine is a perpetual motion machine (why not just have a regular engine). He is not a perfect Clairvoyant though. Let's see how the prequel rolls with it.
  • How exactly did they manage to brainwash the children in the space of less than a day? When Curtis arrives at the engine, Andy and Timmy already seem to be completely uncaring about who he is, despite very little time having passed since.
    • The boys were probably drugged into near-zombiehood. And the interval between them being taken away and the revolution was probably longer than it looked like, given that one of the characters had time to recover from having his arm frozen off.
  • Bugs may be a very good source of protein, but you can't survive on pure protein for seventeen years. Every one of the tail-enders should be dead of scurvy.
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