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Next stop on the Brown Line, the past!

"When I hear the iron horse make the hills echo with his snort like thunder, shaking the earth with his feet, and breathing fire and smoke from his nostrils, it seems as if the earth had got a race now worthy to inhabit it."
Henry David Thoreau, Walden

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 page image — but hey, let's not split hairs. Others have a locomotive and cars. Some Cool Trains for wealthy elites have luxurious cabins with lounges, a dining car, and a theater. The Big Bad may use their train as a Base on Wheels. Some are armored trains, with the locomotive and cars having thick plate armor on the sides, a detachment of soldiers inside, and firing ports bristling with guns.

Primarily a feature of Steampunk settings, but also seen in The Western (as the mobile base for the Robber Baron) and in stories about the ultra-rich, 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 luxurious features and technological gadgets or just being generally awesome. Just ask a Rail Enthusiast.

These trains has a particular tendencie to err towards the more whimsisical side of things, due to trains overtime being seen more as a fun novelty than a serious form of transport.

Both civilian luxury trains and heavily-armed armored trains are Truth in Television, at least for stories set in the 1800s or early-to-mid 1900s. After air travel became more affordable, flying became the preferred way to travel luxuriously or to project military force. A big drawback of armored trains is that no matter how thick their metal plating and no matter how many gatling guns are mounted on them, a small band of La Résistance fighters can sabotage the rails with a sack of dynamite and render them useless.

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

Compare Steam Never Dies. Contrast Just Train Wrong.

Not to be confused with The Cole Train, or Radical Train.


    open/close all folders 

  • 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.
  • An old British Rail advert featured an otherwise mundane Class 37 locomotive painted up in a Police 'jam sandwich' livery, and even had a flashing blue light on top.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Anpanman has SL Man and Poppochan, both being sentient trains.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • BBK/BRNK has one that's big enough for a Buranki to be transported on, and is implied to be capable of flying (to reach the "Buranki nest," which is an airborne island).
  • Chargeman Ken! has one appear in one episode, only to be destroyed by a dinosaur.
  • Digimon: 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!
  • Doraemon would pay homage to Galaxy Express 999 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 the "Anywhere Door". The short later gets expanded into a feature-length film, /Doraemon: Nobita and the Galaxy Super-express, with hostile aliens thrown in the mix.
  • Galactic Whirlwind Sasuraiger.
  • 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 number from 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. However, the locomotive itself is based on the Japanese National Railway C 62.
    • The Galaxy Railways, which is part of the Galaxy Express 999 universe, is all about Cool Space Trains.
    • Kenji Miyazawa wrote a book called "Night on the Galactic 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").
  • Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress has the Hayajiros, a set of armored and possibly nuclear-powered trains that comprise the only method of safe transport between the heavily fortified stations protect the populace from the Zombie Apocalypse. Most of the action in the series takes place on or around them.
  • The second half of the anime adaptation for Lord El-Melloi II Case Files takes place on the Mystic Eyes Collection Train, Rail Zeppelin. It's a mobile auction house for mages to buy and sell eyes with special abilities which is normally accessible by invitation only, plus it uses leylines as it's rails. So, it's a cool train where the passengers tend to be as interesting as the train itself.
  • Wing Liner in Machine Robo Rescue capable to transport 5 Machine Robos and transform into a Giant Robot
  • Naruto: In the non-serial movie Naruto the Movie: Ninja Clash in the Land of Snow we have Dosu's train, a humongous armored monstrosity four tracks wide armed with equally humongous hand-cranked Gatling gun-style (or Metal Storm-style) Kunai launchers that massacre a ninja Redshirt Army charging towards the train with absurd ease.
  • In The Night Is Short, Walk On Girl, the wealthy hedonist Rihaku owns a garish triple-decker train that has public bath house on one storey and a fairly ostentatious party hall below it. He also stocks the train with a near-unlimited supply of the otherwise rare liquor "Imitation Denki Bran" brandy.
  • 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. They have now built a second one called the Puffing Ice.
  • 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.
  • Shinkansen Henkei Robo Shinkalion features various real-life Japanese bullet trains, all capable of transforming into Humongous Mecha. Some double as Combining Mecha as well. If that wasn't enough, the series makes extensive uses of crossovers, which resulted in not only a slightly odd Hello Kitty-themed robot but at least two based on a EVANGELION. Let's face it, the Eva units are the highlight in terms of crossover mecha.
  • Train X Train(AKA Train + 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.
  • Trigun has giant multi-story trains, connecting the cities throughout Gunsmoke Planet.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL, Anna Kozuki uses a deck full of train monsters, which tend to be extremely huge and powerful.

    Asian Animation 
  • In Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: Marching to the New Wonderland and its sequel seasons, the goats pilot the Xiha trains, which all have cool functions that come in handy (Jonie's train can create forcefields to protect others, for example). In the sequel seasons to Marching in the New Wonderland, they take on forms suited for sea travel and flying through the air as well.

    Comic Books 
  • Alexander III's Imperial Train, from Assassin's Creed: The Fall.
  • For a time, Batman had a sub-way rocket, which was effectively a jet propelled train-car. And it was awesome.
  • 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).
  • Mega Robo Bros has the Central Skyline, a wheel-less train that runs through "Grav Tubes" in the air. In book 1, Robot 23 hacks one so the doors open while it's still moving, and disables the Grav Tube ahead. Luckily for them all, Alex and Freddy save the day.
  • Thomas Fay Syndicate's comic A Train's World has cool trains making up the New York City Subway, it's considered an "urban Thomas & Friends!"
  • The Transformers (IDW):
    • 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).

    Films — Animation 
  • Cars has Trev Diesel, a red and yellow diesel locomotive that almost hit Lightning McQueen on his way to Radiator Springs, while the sequel has Stephenson, a British bullet train used by Mater, Finn McMissile, and Holly Shiftwell to get from Paris, France to Porto Corsa, Italy.
    • The Planes sequels got two steam trains.
  • The armored train in Castle in the Sky.
  • Casey Junior, the circus train from The Reluctant Dragon and Dumbo. Between his iconic theme song, his recognizability as one of the earliest Disney characters, the progenitor of several attractions at the Disney parks, and his unique and iconic design, he gives a certain other blue sentient steam locomotive a run for his money in terms of popularity, in spite of only having five scenes in his entire film and the fact he predates the other one’s first animated appearance by 43 years (4 years if you want to add in the books by Wilbert Awdry), marking him the first one to be seen in animation.
  • The Polar Express. Name a scene from that movie more iconic than Multi-Track Drifting across a frozen lake. We'll wait.
  • The main train from Undersea Super Train: Marine Express.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Central Pacific 131, which was hurled off a bridge and rebuilt at the ending of Back to the Future Part III, pictured above. A flying time traveling train, and "It runs on steam!". Then there's 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.
  • Another Russian example - the big red armored war train in Doctor Zhivago. link to pictures here
  • Southern Railway 4501 in the Jimmy Stewart film Fools' Parade.
  • The Hogwarts Express from the Harry Potter cements itself as one in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone when it is introduced sitting at the station with steam rising around it.
  • The Hunger Games: The maglev that takes Katniss and Peeta from District 12 to Capitol. Unlike modern-day maglevs, this one hovers high above the tracks and appears to be flying on its own. It's also equipped with all the amenities for the tributes and their retinue.
    Effie Trinket: 200 miles an hour and you can't feel a thing.
  • James Bond:
    • Tiger Tanaka's train from You Only Live Twice. It is a secret subway system under Tokyo with complete office and communications facilities on board for Japan's Spymaster.
    • Octopussy circus train.
    • The missile train from GoldenEye.
  • In the Russian film Krai, the characters give their trains names and race them.
  • 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).
  • The New York Central's Twentieth Century Limited in North By Northwest.
  • Morton's special train in Once Upon a Time in the West.
  • In Priest (2011), Black Hat and his army of vampires travel through the wastelands outside the city in one of these.
  • The 1985 movie prison-escape-movie Runaway Train featured four diesel locomotives coupled together to form the title 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!!
  • 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. A truly Cool Train!
  • Robber Baron J.P. Stiles has a magnificently baroque creation as his Base on Wheels in Tall Tale.
  • 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 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.
  • Roy from Transsiberian marvels over some antique Russian trains.
  • 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.
  • As in the original TV series, Jim West and Artemus Gordon travel in one named "The Wanderer" in Wild Wild West.

  • Rudyard Kipling's .007: The Story of an American Locomotive is possibly the first story about self-aware trains.
  • In Patrick Tilley's Amtrak Wars, the primary antagonists (probably survivors of the US military) use giant armoured land trains as their main means of power projection against the (heroic) plainsmen.
  • Michael P. Stradlin's Blood Riders, in a vampire-plagued Wild West, a special team of vampire hunters travel around on an armoured train developed by the finest engineering minds of the time. Complete with kitchen, bath, living quarters and armoury, the train can decimate hordes of vampires with its many prototype cannons and the gatling gun turret mounted on top.
  • The Boundless in Kenneth Oppel's novel The Boundless. It's a 987-coach-long train pulled by a locomotive so huge that the boiler alone is three stories tall, and needs to be staffed by a massive number of engineers (one of whom is Will's father). All the coaches are two stories tall, and each one serves a different purpose. There's a lounge car, a theater car, storage cars, sleeping quarters for the locomotive staff, etc., effectively making The Boundless a rolling city.
  • 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, it's a warship on rails, with a heavily armored engine, plenty of automated guns, and a complement of troops on board. Also, it's involved in a cross-country chase to Washington State, involving Confederate spies, Texas Rangers, bushwackers, mad scientists, and zombies.
  • 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.
  • Iain M. Banks' Consider Phlebas has a Planet of the Dead, which has ancient, subterranean three-story miles-long trains that were used as mobile command centers by the extinct builders. Then one gets moving...
  • Blaine the Mono from The Dark Tower. Insane riddling supersonic trans-universal pink monorail train. Finally defeated by Black Comedy.
  • Komarovsky rides around in a Russian armored train in Doctor Zhivago.
  • Justina Ireland's Dread Nation and Deathless Divide features "Iron Ponies". In a Post-US Civil War Zombie Apocalypse, these are small armoured trains that go on normal roads. "Iron Ponies" were invented because "shamblers" will eat any form of livestock and can run down horse-drawn carriages.
  • Factory of the Gods: When Julian unlocks the ability to create trains, they are explicitly stated to be steam powered but look more like modern diesel engines. Julian weaponizes one of them to run over an antagonist.
  • The Boland Belle in Forest of Boland Light Railway.
  • Freight Train by Donald Crews. Composed 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.
  • 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.
  • The 38 Engines of the Line in The Half-Made World are sentient Cool Trains with a hint of Eldritch Abomination. Nobody knows their exact origin: whether they're spirits of the half-made West given form by human hands, born from the minds of humans themselves, or something else entirely. Either way, they're inhuman and unkillable (destroyed Engines are simply rebuilt the same as ever) and inexorably annexing every city in the West into their oppressively industrial Line. As the concept of "giant evil trains" is rife for Narm, author Felix Gilman never gives us a full description of them, only vivid impressions of certain parts of one.
  • The Hogwarts Express from Harry Potter certainly counts, being a magically hidden train that transports students to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
  • The Huffin Puff Express: The titular train is a massive freight train of 108 cars, all of which are being pulled by a locomotive based on a Southern Pacific Class GS-3.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In The Keys to the Kingdom, Grim Tuesday had a personal train with SPIKES all over it.
  • The Little Engine That Could.
  • 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.
  • Starcross, the second book in the Larklight series, has a whole Cool Railway constructed in the Asteroid Belt by the same company that built the Crystal Palace. Yes, ''the'' Crystal Palace that housed the 1851 Great Exhibition.
  • Little Golden Books:
    • Tootle, the eponymous character from the book of the same name 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).
    • "The Little Red Caboose" (which is part of a train) from the same series is a somewhat more straight example (because of its Moment of Awesome... well, by the series' standards anyway).
  • The Mouse Watch has the S.W.I.S.S. (Secret Watcher International Sewer System), the titular heroes' high-speed maglev transport. It's part of an underground subway system that covers the whole world, and it takes Bernie and Jarvis from Los Angeles to New York City in ten minutes.
  • Night on the Galactic Railroad is a 1927 children's novel by Kenji Miyazawa that involved a "cool train" of sorts as a metaphor for the afterlife. It has been made into an aimated movie (that portrayed the main characters as cats/), and several stage plays. 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") which involved a cool 'space train.
  • 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.
  • Timothy Zahn's Quadrail Series has what amounts to an interplanetary metro system, with light-years-long tunnels that snake around the galaxy and connect many interplanetary systems together. It gets turned on its head in one of the later books: it turns out that the trains and the tunnels are a ruse, and the real power is in the thread in the middle of tunnel itself - which will propel at faster-than-light speeds anything that approaches it. Since the galaxy is filled with warlike species who'd like nothing more than to wage intergalactic war, the illusion of the tunnels and train cars as being vital components of the system enables the Spiders to keep peace. It gets much harder to attach any coolness to the whole thing after that.
  • Mark Greaney's Red Metal has the Russians build 3 trains dubbed "Red Blizzard (1-3)" to support their invasion of Europe. In addition to a command center, the trains carry supplies, vehicles, troops, fuel, and Anti-Air weaponry to ensure control of the battlespace.
  • Railhead: Given that they are nuclear-fusion-powered, controlled by fully sentient AI, crewed by maintenance spiders, and are the only form of transport capable of interstellar travel by crossing the K-Gates, every train in the setting counts, although some deserve special mention:
  • The Railway Series, a.k.a., Thomas & Friends.
  • 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.
  • 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 2312.
  • 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 Woolfonts & Chickmarsh Railway in the Village Tales quite literally "runs on this trope:" it was created, ostensibly, as a community, heritage steam railway, microfranchised into an indispensable part of the national network, and relies on Retraux steam locomotives which look very "period" (modified Castle-class, in fact), such as No. 1003, Master of Dilton, No. 1005, Lady Clare, and No. 1007, Countess of Freuchie … but which were designed, internally, by Swiss DLM with assists from Dyson and Dyson and James May. Local bigwigs the Duke of Taunton and Sir Thomas Douty are typical anorakswith money and connections.
  • The "Freedom Express" from the self-named seventh book in the Wingman series by Mack Maloney; a ten-mile-long super-train that is heavily armored, heavily armed, is manned by members of the heroic Post-Apocalyptic Badass Army that protects what remains of America, and has space to land a Harrier for scout/air support roles. The plot of the book is the use of the train to try to connect the two coasts as a symbol of American endurance, which is not exactly helped by the literal army (and air force) of white-supremacist Neo-Nazis that are out to stop it.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • Also in Doctor Who in Season 8, The Doctor and Clara end up on a Space Train (shades of Galaxy Express 999, above) that mimics the Orient Express. Naturally, there are several murders.
  • The title vehicle in the Firefly episode "The Train Job" qualified as a Cool Train.
  • 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).
  • The mascot for Soul Train
  • In the Super Sentai/Power Rangers series...
    • Kyūkyū Sentai GoGoV and Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue had GrandLiner/the Supertrain Megazord, another Super Robot example of this trope.
    • Mahou Sentai Magiranger and its US counterpart, Power Rangers Mystic Force, had Travelion/the Solar Streak Megazord.
    • 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 ToQger 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 ToQger's is "Transformation commencing! Please stand behind the white line!" - and it summons a white line for the monsters to stand behind.
    • And despite being right after ToQger, Shuriken Sentai Ninninger has Byunmaru, another train, although it is a Shinkansen.
    • Kaitou Sentai Lupinranger VS Keisatsu Sentai Patranger introduces the X-Trains, a pair of gold and silver trains piloted by the series' Sixth Ranger, Lupin X/Patren X. The trains also miniaturize and combine in order to serve as his blaster and morpher.
    • Mashin Sentai Kiramager has multiple related train mecha. First is Mashin Jouki, which belongs to the villains and can transform into a dinosaur mech with a chainsaw tail. Then the Kiramagers get Mashin Express, a bullet train engine that can connect to Jouki, hijack it, and combine with it into the Humongous Mecha King Express. And then finally, Mashin Zabyun is a heroic version of Jouki (though without the dinosaur mode) that also combines with Express into its own version of King Express.
  • Shadow and Bone has the Caper Crew of thieves use an armored train to get across the black magic-created dark fog ("The Fold") that divides the country of Ravka.
  • 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.
  • One episode of Victoria details the advent of the railways in the United Kingdom, and features a replica 2-2-0 Planet, the first mass-produced steam engine. Prince Albert dubs the steam engine "the most magnificent thing I have ever seen", he and Sir Robert Peel go joyriding on the engine, and even Queen Victoria decides to go for a train ride because of all the hype.
  • 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.

  • Rock N Roll Train by AC/DC
  • The British symphonic prog band Big Big Train has done several songs about trains.
  • "Indian Pacific" by Slim Dusty.
    From coast to coast by night and day, hear the clickin' of the wheels
    The hummin' of the diesel on her ribbons of steel
    Carryin' the memories of a nation built by hand
    See the Indian Pacific span the land
    She's the pride of all the railway men 'cross country where she flies
    From the blue Pacific waters to where the mountains rise
    By lakes and wide brown rivers, through desert country dry
    See the Indian Pacific passin' by
  • "The City of New Orleans" by Arlo Guthrie. Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash also covered the song.
  • Pacific 231, a symphonic work by 20th century Swiss composer Arthur Honegger.
  • The "midnight train" in Journey's "Don't Stop Believing".
  • "Trans-Europe-Express" by Kraftwerk from Trans-Europe Express.
  • The "Canadian Railroad Trilogy" by Canadian folk artist Gordon Lightfoot.
  • Big Train, a big band jazz suite by Wynton Marsalis.
  • Last Train to Clarksville' - The Monkees
  • On the cover of Motörhead's Orgasmatron album.
  • Crazy Train by Ozzy Osbourne
  • 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."
  • "Mystery Train" by Elvis Presley.
  • The "Miracle Express" from the Queen music video "Breakthru" from The Miracle.
  • The fiddle player's standard "Orange Blossom Special", written by Ervin T. Rouse.
  • Juular by Devin Townsend - the music video is set inside of one. The actual song itself also has a very noticeable chugging rhythm through the vast majority of it to give the feeling of being on a moving train.
  • "The Atcheson, Topeka, and the Santa Fe"
  • Casey Jones
  • Midnight Train to Georgia
  • "Pardon me boys, Is that the Chattanooga Choo-Choo?"
  • The Train from Bloemfontein.
  • The Wabash Cannonball
  • Princess of the Night by Saxon is a paean to the LMS Princess Royal Class locomotive, which vocalist Bill Byford used to watch as a child bringing in the town's mail during the night.
    Speeding, sparks like lightning
    Engine working hard
    Furnace on the foot plate
    Shining in the night
    Iron striking metal
    The sound of racing steel
    It's all I ever want to hear
    It's music to my ears!

  • 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 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The lightning rail from the setting Eberron.
    • The module "Train of Events" from Dungeon #44 featured a steam-powered railway built by mountain dwarves to deliver supplies between dwarven cities.
  • Exalted:
    • Solar Monorail Chirmirajen, 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 & Friends, by way of Gamera."
    • The Solar Monorail 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.
  • The Crayon Rail game ''Iron Dragon''
  • Mutant Chronicles: In older editions of Warzone, Capitol operated a number of huge armored trains in south Mars, which were literally described as railbound battleships and aircraft carriers, designed to fulfill that role in an environment without seas.
    • Third Edition gave us Whitestar's Zolotoy Glaz (Golden Eye), a combined palace/command and control center/army base operating on the rail networks throughout Whitestar territory, and allowing the Tzarina to transfer her court to any place or event that requires her personal input and deal with it decisively.
  • The Iron Horse in Rifts World Book 14: The New West is a fire-breathing Magitek train powered by captured greater demons.
  • 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...
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:

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

  • Hornby is the UK's main seller of model trains. Everything from Thomas & Friends to rare models from the age of steam.
  • Lego’s Time Twisters (villains to the Time Cruisers) line featured the Twisted Time Train, perhaps inspired by Backtothe Future Part III‘s ‘Jules Verne train’, or rather, locomotive, pictured above.
  • One imaginative individual made a LEGO train based off of Ferraris, with a very kickass locomotive.
    • On the subject of Lego, the Monster Fighters theme had the Ghost Train which was exactly what it said on the tin
  • The Lehmann Gross Bahn model trains from Germany are huge. ReallyReally Huge. Did we also mention they are water proof and can even run submerged in water?
  • 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).
  • Takara Tomy's Plarail series is the Japanese equivalent of Hornby's, including replicas of real life Japanese trains to also Thomas the Tank Engine.
  • 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.
    • There was also 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.

    Video Games 
  • 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 a 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.
  • 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.
  • Banjo-Tooie has Chuffy the locomotive.
  • Battlefield 1 features armored trains on several maps, complete with artillery guns, antiaircraft cannons, and a cool black paintjob.
  • Bayonetta 3 features a (maybe?) sentient train as a new Infernal Demon summon: Wartrain Gouon, Charger of the Crimson Rim. It rides on purple flaming tracks that can be placed almost anywhere as it goes, is armed with giant chainsaws and heavy artillery cannons, and has a screaming face hidden in the front that can impale enemies with its bladed chin. It is bonded to the Dead End Express weapon, which is part giant chainsaw, part train, and part motorcycle that Bayonetta can ride around to smash into enemies, even letting out loud train whistles while performing Charged Attacks. As an Infernal Demon, Bayonetta can even perform a Fusion Dance with it, gaining the power to ride along its flame-rails and slice foes up with chainsaw-wheels. Awesome.
  • 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.
  • Bravely Default continues Square Enix's tradition (see Final Fantasy, below) with the Promethean Fire summon.
  • Brood Star has the Infested Train, a biomechanical locomotive many times larger than the player's spacecraft. It has multiple gun turrets with which to shoot at the player, can spawn lesser enemies to throw at them, and acts as one of the potential bosses of the Construction level.
  • Choo-Choo Charles has Charles himself, who, when you get past how disturbing he is, is a sentient train with spider legs and permanent Slasher Smile on his face. You also have the option to upgrade your locomotive, which starts out as a standard car with a machine gun, but can be outfitted with new weapons (one of which being a rocket launcher), reinforced armor and plating, and once fully upgraded, will have spikes around the main frame and horns around the chimney. You also have twelve fabulous colors to decorate the train with.
  • The Montauk, the Brotherhood of Nod's underground mobile HQ from Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun.
  • 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.
  • Dark Chronicle has two cool trains, the Zeerust time-travelling Ixion and the Steampunk-ish Blackstone One.
  • Donkey Kong Country Returns has the Mole Train, a boss that has a giant drill on the front of it.
  • The Starflight Express, from Dragon Quest IX.
  • 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.
  • Fear Equation takes place entirely in the cabin of one of these, with you giving orders to the passengers from within.
  • Final Fantasy:
  • 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.
  • In Girls' Frontline, KCCO employs several armored trains with heavy firepower and enough room to house a company's worth of soldiers. The trains are a fixture of several stages in Shattered Connexion, providing supporting fire for enemy echelons as well as serving as the stage's boss. The Commander later hijacks one during and puts its mounted railguns to good use against another armored train.
  • 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.
  • Haiku, the Robot has the Traveling Town, a sentient train that serves as the game's shortcut mechanic by instantly taking you to specific points on the map. It's also home to Rondel the welder and Sonnet the book-obsessed shopkeeper.
  • 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.
  • The Mortar, the train in the final mission in Hitman3. Named after the preferred transport of Baba Yaga, it's a Soviet-era mobile KGB Black Site, now owned by Providence, that runs on a constant loop through several of the former Warsaw-pact nations, from Zagreb to Irkutsk.
  • Hiveswap: Much of Act 2 takes place on a massive train that holds members of every bloodcaste except Fuchsia. There are two bloodtypes for each train; Rust/Bronze, Gold/Olive, Jade/Teal, Blue/Indigo, and Purple/Violet.
  • Holy Umbrella features the Pickle Express, an ocean-going 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.
  • 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 and a swimming pool. It's even more appreciated since it comes after a invokedmuch hated stealth-based level.
  • In The Lost 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.
  • Link and Zelda ride around in one in The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks.
  • In The Lone Ranger for the NES, Butch Cavendish uses a steam locomotive loaded with traps against you for the final boss fight.
  • MechRunner features one that runs on pit-like tracks. The XP-41 needs to attack it.
  • Sturmgeist's armored train in Medal of Honor: Frontline, and the Greta railroad cannon in the original.
  • Mega Man:
  • In Metro Exodus the Rangers of the Spartan order flees the Moscow metro in the train they later named Aurora, after the Russian cruiser that fired the first shot of the October Revolution.
  • Level 8's (previously Chillingo's) tablet game Modern Command has your counterterrorist group MCA sending the prototype armoured train, the Magnus Engine on a delivery mission through the Trans-Siberian rail. The train is a massive beast is operated by MCA engineer, Elvira Maria who picks out the weapon layout for the Magnus's four modular weapon turrets. These turrets can fire anything from rockets, cruise missiles, autocannons or high-intensity targeting lasers. As well the Magnus is so huge and powerful, it can crush enemy tanks on impact.
  • 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.
  • Nancy Drew: Last Train to Blue Moon Canyon is set in one.
  • Pokémon Trozei! has the Phobos train, which is a location that walks on legs like a centipede.
  • 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 the town of Folsense.
    Layton: "Yes, I can certainly see why some people call the Molentary Express a cruise ship on rails."
  • The original Sakura Wars had the kohbu-carrying Goraigoh, possibly best described as a steam-age bullet train nearly the size of an ocean liner. Sakura Wars: The 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic: The first half of the "Crisis On Umbara" flashpoint takes place on board of a sleek, hovering train on the planet Umbara. The design of the train was also used in creating the Umbara Mobile Base Galactic Stronghold.
  • In Sunless Skies, you brave the High Wilderness in a locomotive, and there are quite a few models to pick from. All of them capable of ferrying people and cargo across the stars, and all of them heavily armed.
  • The Super Mario Bros. franchise has several to name, and some of which are Locomotive Levels:
    • 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 which serves as the main setting for Chapter 6. Likewise, a Traintop Battle with a large monster occurs near the end of the chapter.
    • Also, the train from Paper Mario 64, inspired by the train from Mario Kart 64 - you even get to listen to a remix of Kalamari Desert's theme while riding it.
    • 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 Mario Kart: Double Dash!! was the Barrel Train, a tiny wooden train with a whistle instead of a horn - this kart reappeared in 7.
      • Mario Kart 8 features a magic flying train swooping around its remake of 64's Rainbow Road.
    • There's also the Shy Guy Express, part of the Party Tent events in Mario Party 8.
    • Super Mario 3D World has the final level of World 3, "The Bullet Bill Express" and World Bowser's fourth overall level, "The Bowser Express", both of which are captained by Pom-Pom (the female counterpart of Boom-Boom), who serves as the boss of those levels. There is also "The Coin Express" in World 5, which serves as a bonus level where the player collects coins and plays the slot machine minigame at the end, and will reappear when the player plays 25 levels.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • TimeSplitters Future Perfect featured a level that takes place in a train based on the GoldenEye one.
  • In Tormentum Dark Sorrow, you ride a truly badass train that has the same Giger-esque artstyle as the rest of the game.
  • Total War: Warhammer III: The Chaos Dwarfs have the Dread Quake Mortar, which is a Steampunk train that runs without tracks (on Rule of Cool), containing a mortar that fires an Earth Quake Machine round into enemies, as well as two forwards mounted Fire-Breathing Weapon emplacements.
  • Yukari Yakumo of Touhou Project has Obsolete Line "Trip to the Old Station" spellcard in Touhou Hisouten ~ Scarlet Weather Rhapsody and Touhou Hisoutensoku ~ Choudokyuu Ginyoru no Nazo o Oe 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • World of Warcraft: The Draenor dungeon, Grimrail Depot, serves as a base for the eponymous Iron Horde siege train. In addition to running on Iron Star tech better suited to explosives and war machines, and being huge enough to serve as a dungeon in its own right, it carries a massive artillery cannon intended to short-circuit the Iron Horde's stalled offensive against Shattrath by obliterating it. Naturally, it's the players' job to blow the Grimrail up first.
  • 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).
  • Vampire Savior had a level called Iron Horse, Iron Terror, which was a demonic 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.
  • Last Train Home: Players take control of the titular armored train tasked with carrying the last legion of Czechoslovak Legionnaires across the vast expanse of Russia and Siberia, and one of the train's upgrades lets the player add an artillery car that provides additional protection to the train itself and artillery support to the Legionnaires during combat missions.


    Web Original 
  • The Monorail Cat.
  • The titular train in ''Winchester is an EMD E 9 A carrying cargo across post-apocalyptic America.
  • The massive Berlinerwerke Apocrypha feature lots and lots of outlandish rail vehicle designs, mostly locomotives based on Real Life designs. They were allegedly unearthed from the archives of the Berlinerwerke locomotive factory or private photo archives and often designed by brothers George and Ira Ersatz or, in the cases of newer locomotives, their offspring. Photographs serve as "proof" that these machines had actually been built and operated. They range from huge multiplexes to the Burdick Nightmare, a type of single-axle steam locomotive.
  • Similar to and referenced by the Berlinerwerke Apocrypha is the website that documents the Ruhnian State Railways, the national rail operator of a fictional Central/Eastern European country which still only uses steam locomotives today. The mountainous terrain makes especially later freight locomotives nothing short of spectacular.

    Web Video 

    Western Animation 
  • 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.
  • The Brave Locomotive: The titular character, Linus, saves the day in spite of his obsolete configuration.
  • The Disney Junior animated show Chuggington.
  • 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.
  • Futurama had a train going at the speed of light. When it hits a prism, it splits.
  • An episode of the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero cartoon featured the Cobra Bullet, a bullet train Cobra used to take away the gold they stole from Fort Knox.
  • Green Eggs and Ham: Sam and Guy ride on one of these on their journey. Perplexingly, it has a "Model Train Car" which contains a scaled down model of the actual train that reflects exactly what's happening on and inside of it, which creeps Guy out when he takes a look at it.
  • The eponymous vehicle of Infinity Train is an Eldritch Location consisting of a seemingly endless string of vast cars, careening nonstop through a desolate wasteland. Each car contains some sort of puzzle or obstacle. Some of them have entire worlds hidden inside of them, such as Corginia, a kingdom of talking dogs with Grecian architecture.
  • 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.
  • Dethklok's massive Dethtrain from Metalocalypse.
  • A couple of trains have appeared in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, but the coolest one has to be the one for the Crystal Empire.
  • The demonic-looking steam locomotive from PLAY SAFE! PLAY SAFE!
  • The Story Train from Rick and Morty, a huge luxurious space train with narrative-related powers that manifests its own energy rails from the locomotive, which looks vaguely like a quill/pen tip.
  • The Secret Railroad (Les Voyages du Tortillard) is a Canadian animated series from the 1977 about a magic train that can take its characters anywhere, including in this case, a glass bottle.
  • 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.
    • But hey, at least there was a cool song about it.
  • Thomas & Friends is made of this trope. Almost every character is a Cool Train.
  • In Transformers, Astrotrain transforms into a space shuttle... Oh wait, and a train!
  • 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.

    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 recognizable 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 attempts to design steam locomotives that circumvent the weaknesses of the conventional form - principally its dire thermal efficiency and labor costs - they seldom if ever succeed in retaining its notable strengths. Most notably its 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.
    • The 240P class, a 4-8-0, could develop up to 4,700 cylinder horsepower — the best power/weight ratio of ANY steam locomotive.
    • His greatest achievement is likely 242A1, a 4-8-4 rebuild from a previously failed engine, that developed an enormous 5,500 cylinder horsepower; all while weighing half that of any American equivalent.
    • 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.)
    • Although they're no longer used for military purposes, Soviet and Russian Soyuz rockets are transported to their launch pads by special train.
    • An armoured train operated on the Romney, Hythe, and Dymchurch Railway in southeastern England during the Second World War. Unique in that the RH&D is a 15-inch gauge railway. The train's size led some Luftwaffe pilots to misjudge their altitude and fly lower, leading to crashes.
  • The Overland Train. Who needs tracks?
  • The legendary Union Pacific Railroad has a few:
    • There's something to be said for simply and aptly calling the world's biggest steam engine Big Boy: the 25 4000 class 4-8-8-4 articulated locomotives Alco produced for Union Pacific Railroad at the height of the "super power" era. They were the largest (but not the most powerful, that distinction belongs to the Norfolk & Western class Y6B) steam locomotives ever built, capable of pulling nearly 8000 tons and hitting 80 mph (though not at the same time, obviously) and tipping the scales with tender at over one and a quarter million pounds. That's more than the entire train Mallard was pulling when she set the steam speed record. Union Pacific restored UP 4014 for operation and as of May 2nd 2019, it can run on its own power!
    • Union Pacific 844, an FEF-3 4-8-4 steam locomotive, is actually nicknamed "the Living Legend". Spared from the scrapper's torch in 1960 as the last steam engine built for the UP line, UP 844 retains the unique distinction of being the only steam engine never to be retired from a North American Class I railroad. Since the start of the Heritage Program, 844 has traveled across the entire UP system from California to Tennessee, handled numerous different excursion trains ranging from round-trip locals to World's Fairs, has teamed up with or met other steam stars like SP 4449, Frisco 1522, and UP's own "Big Boy" 4014, and is planned to be kept running until it turns 100.
  • Norfolk & Western's 14 class J 4-8-4, a.k.a. the "Spirit of Roanoke" and the "Queen of Steam", represents the apotheosis of steam power. Built in the railroad's own Roanoke, Virginia, shops between 1941 and 1950, these streamlined locomotives included almost every practical refinement ever applied to steam locomotives while eschewing all of the impractical ones and introduced some remarkable feats of their own, like a one-piece cast steal frame with integral cylinders. While not as fast as Gresley's A series Pacifics or as efficient as Chapelon's exquisite masterpieces, they could run longer and harder than either of them and pull significantly more tonnage doing it. However, as good as the were, they were still less efficient than diesels even for a railroad whose primary business was hauling coal, and they were all retired by 1959. Lone survivor 611 still emerges periodically from the Virginia Museum of Transportation for mainline excursions, and currently operates on the Strasburg Rail Road in Pennsylvania.
  • 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 you can race against it in Forza Horizon 4!
  • 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 All 6 A4s 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.
    • They are running on preserved lines today - See A4 at The East Lancs Railway
  • High-speed rail in general. An archetype are the classic Trans-Europ-Express types, made famous by the Kraftwerk album and song Trans-Europe Express
  • Or the Japanese 500 Series Shinkansen, 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 FasTech 360, which looks like something right out of a classic Japanese science-fiction manga/anime, and the two production-version trainsets they inspired, the E5 Series and the E6 Series. The prototype version even had air brakes that pop out of the top of the train, looking like cat ears (but were sadly not incorporated into the production versions). For extra cool, check out the JR-Maglev MLX-01 MagLev Train, and the future production version of it, the L0 Series. These are maglev trains, the prototype version is the record holder for the fastest train in the world (at 581 km/h), and the production version will run at up to 500 km/h. The production version also has an extra long nose for extra coolness points.
    • And then there's the original original 0 Series. As dated as it looks today, it was the first high-speed rail train for Japan, it was also the first for the rest of the world as well, and it broke the speed record in its inauguration.
    • The base 500 series not enough? Behold the 500 TYPE EVA, a special trainset commissioned by no less than Hideaki Anno himself to jointly celebrate the 40th anniversary of the opening of the Sanyō Shinkansen and the 25th anniversary of the first airing of Neon Genesis Evangelion. The train's exterior is decorated like Shinji's Unit 01, while the interior has decals and models of the many characters (including a few Finger-Tenting blinds hidden in some of the cars), and there is even a mockup of an Eva's cockpit that lets you fight Angels on the rails in real time! Originally scheduled to run from November 2015 to spring 2017, this train's popularity has ensured that it will stay on the tracks for at least one more year until spring 2018.
  • The French TGV. Especially the double deck ones. The fastest wheeled trains in the world. Bonus points for also being designed to be affordable — it runs on almost ordinary train infrastructure, and as long as you buy your tickets within at least a week of advance, they're not more expensive than any ordinary train.
    • 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 TGV also has the title of the fastest cargo train in the world — the TGV La Poste, which was set up from 1984 to 2015 to quickly move the massive amounts of mail that circulate every day between Paris and Lyon.
  • The German Intercity Express, so good that the Netherlands, Russia, and Spain have begun buying that train (specifically this model) for their lines. The pride of Deutsche Bahn bar none, accept no substitutes. The ICE 1 was even the most comfortable high-speed train in Europe with compartments and saloons in both classes and an actual restaurant.
  • 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 Czech and Slovak class 363 may not be the fastest or most powerful locomotive. But the sound it makes is absolutely stunning. Courtesy of Škoda Locomotive Works.
  • The AVE Class 102, manufactured by Bombardier for use on Spanish High Speed Rail services and nicknamed Patonote  for very obvious reasons.
  • The Walt Disney World Monorail trains. Fittingly for the "Highway in the Sky," what better a design than one where the nose cone explicitly evokes a Lear jet?
  • The F40PH. To the average rail enthusiast, they represent Amtrak's choice of motive power during the 1980s, still fondly recognized for their iconic shape and being used well into the 'aughts. To the internet, it wound up becoming a Memetic Badass on 4Chan for some reason as a deterrent against the Furry Fandom, who spends every waking hour hunting them down while simultaneously performing its duties to the railroad it once served. A few are still around in excursion service on various tourist railroads, and even some commuter railroads note  still maintain the locomotive as part of their fleet.
  • The Santa Fe Super Chief, the most recognized corporate logo in railroading: the "Warbonnet" paint scheme. It made a Santa Fe F3 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.
    • The TE 10 family with its five-digit number of sections built. Under their later brutish-looking carbodies, these stout machines are basically Fairbanks-Morse Trainmasters on 'roids with huge 3,000hp opposite-piston engines. And they've been lashed-up to multiple-section locomotives with up to four section and 12,000hp (4TE10S).
    • 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 S.T.A.L.K.E.R..
      • Rare? It's actually the most numerous locomotive in the world. All hail to ČKD!
  • 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.
    • Interwar Germany took streamlining to the extreme. Rather than bolting cool-looking decorations to conventional locomotives, the streamlining was a shroud wrapped around the entire locomotive including the entire boiler and, at least in a few cases, including the entire running gear almost all the way down to the rails so that it's hard to tell the wheel arrangement. Even the tenders were fully streamlined. That said, covering up the entire running gear of a steam locomotive falls under Awesome, but Impractical as well, so it was cut back on most German streamliners such as the class 01¹⁰ and 03¹⁰ Pacifics.
    • Speaking of which, the Lübeck-Büchener Eisenbahn's H-L-Schnellverkehr trains were cool on a whole number of levels. They weren't particularly fast, nor were they particularly elegant with their stout 2-4-2 tank locomotives. But both locomotives and cars were fully streamlined. The cars were lightweight, articulated bi-level coaches, not to mention that they were air-conditioned by means of dry ice. Instead of chain couplings, Scharfenberg automatic couplers were used. And the trains were not only true push-pull trains with the locomotive always running on the Hamburg end, but they were Germany's only steam-powered push-pull trains on which the locomotives were actually partly remote-controlled from the control cab.
      The trains could have become even cooler if the Lübeck-Büchener Eisenbahn had actually gotten their locomotives #71-75 converted by Henschel, namely from out-of-date goods tender locomotives to streamlined tank locomotives with steam motors. Alas, the Reichsbahn caught wind of this project, ordered another streamliner from Henschel with basically the same motors, 19 1001 (another Cool Locomotive) and demanded it be completed even before LBE #71.
  • 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. Unfortunately it was never put into service on any long distance line. The only revenue service is a single line in China connecting Shanghai airport to not quite the city.
  • 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 Class 91 "Intercity 225". The former two are diesel-powered... and the HST was so popular when it come out that people changed their travel plans just to ride on it.
    • However, the last one is limited to 125mph because the Thatcher government refused to pay for the in-cab signalling needed to go at 140mph (225 km/h).
  • 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 (UK) 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!
      • 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.
      • For comparison, in the glory days of the A1 and A3 classes, they would run the Flying Scotsman at an average speed upwards of 70mph. That is, they spent significant parts of the journey well above that speed. They didn't name them after racehorses for nothing!
    • Additional coolness points: the success of Tornado has spurred other projects to build 'new' engines identical to those that existed in the age of steam but were scrapped with no survivors.
  • 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!
  • The German Schienenzeppelin was an unusual contraption, namely a fairly long but lightweight two-axle railcar driven by a propeller. It reached a top speed of 230 km/h (143mph).
  • 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 most amazing automated subway would be that of Nuremberg, (Nuremberg U Bahn) which operates in mixed traffic with regular trains.
  • 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").
  • Southern Pacific Railroad's "cab forward" steam locomotives. These unique oil-burning engines were built so that crews would not asphyxiate on exhaust fumes while driving trains through the tunnels and snowsheds along the railroad's line over Donner Pass. Sadly, only 4294 survives, on display at the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento.
  • GM's Aerotrain is another cool-looking train built in the 1950's.
  • Oliver Bulleid's "Leader" prototype, which combined diesel-electric design with steam power.
    • Rather like a Sirius Cybernetics product, its fundamental design flaws were concealed by its superficial design flaws.
    • Also Bulleid's ill-fated followup for CIÉ, CC1 (aka the Turf Burner). An attempt to update the ideas behind the Leader project while also making a locomotive that ran efficiently on native peat rather than imported coal, it was the last steam engine built for Ireland, and a total, utter, abysmal failure - but it's so weird and endearing it qualifies as cool.
  • 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 London Underground's 1996 Tube Stock slips under the radar a little due to its everyday use as a metro in a busy city, but the sound it makes when it gets going is fantastic.
  • The DDA40X Centennial, the largest single-unit diesel locomotive ever built. It's massive, measuring almost precisely 100 feet over knuckles.
    • 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 train 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 & Friends 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.
  • There's a number of ideas that could be described as space trains:
    • StarTram is a maglev train that could be used to launch payloads into orbit. It has three designs: Generation 1 would go up the side of a mountain and be used for launching cargo (the g-forces would be too great for people to survive); Generation 1.5 would also go up a mountain and be combined with another system (e.g. rockets) to launch people into orbit; and Generation 2 would be at least 1000 kilometres long and reach an altitude of 22 kilometres (using maglev to hold it in the air), and is the only one of the designs to be capable of launching people on its own.
    • The launch loop (also known as the Lofstrom loop) would be even bigger than a Generation 2 StarTram, being 2000 km long and 80 km high. This would need to use active support to stay up.note  This could launch payloads not just into orbit but to the Moon and the Lagrange points.
    • The space runway would also help launch things into orbit, except that it's in orbit itself, being a massive track or tube orbiting the Earth. A rocket or other vehicle would launch a payload up to the space runway, where it would then be accelerated to orbital speed. This is based on the principle that reaching space is more a matter of going fast than going high, so a rocket that only needs to go high has a much easier job compared to one that has to also reach orbital speed.
    • The Solar Express differs from the previous ideas in being intended for interplanetary travel. It would travel at an incredible speed of 3000 km/s (1% of the speed of light!) and it would never stop: instead, smaller spacecraft would meet up with the Solar Express to transfer cargo and passengers. This space train's speed would allow it to travel from Earth to Neptune in just 18 days!
  • Say what you want about Amtrak and the regulations that basically make this an Enforced Trope, but you have to say the Acela Express just screams POWER. Tank on rails anybody? Unfortunately it is too heavy for its own goodnote  and more prone to breakdowns than comparable trains in Europe or Asia that are a lot lighter.
  • In 1938, Southern Pacific introduced a train to run the Los Angeles to San Francisco west-coast route, and the result was known as the "Daylight" because in summer months, it could make the full trip entirely within daylight hours. They served until 1957. They also were described, quite rightly, as "the most beautiful steam-trains ever made". Only one Daylight train was saved from the scrapyard: number 4449, which in 1976, was restored, refurbished, and painted red-white-and-blue to serve as America's "Freedom Train" to celebrate the bicentennial. The original paint-scheme was orange, red, and black. The Other Wiki has an article on it here.
  • America's freight railroads have been known to paint some of their locomotives in retro paint schemes to honor "fallen flags", railroads that they acquired to expand their network in the past.
    • The Union Pacific Railroad has its Heritage units. This is a set of six EMD SD70ACe locomotives painted in the schemes of six fallen flag railroads the Union Pacific acquired in the 1980s and 1990s, and all numbered per the year said railroad was merged: UP 1982 (Missouri Pacific Railroad), UP 1983 (Western Pacific Railroad), UP 1988 (Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad), UP 1989 (Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad),note  UP 1995 (Chicago & Northwestern Railway), and UP 1996 (Southern Pacific Railroad).
    • Debuting with the UP heritage units was UP 4141, given an Air Force One style paint job and named in honor of former President George H. W. Bush. After going into storage in 2007, it was brought out in 2018 to lead Bush's funeral train, and now sits on permanent display at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum in College Station, Texas.
    • The Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) still has a fair number of units wearing Burlington Northern's "Cascade Green", or Santa Fe's "Warbonnet" and "Bluebbonnet" paint schemes. Major overhauls tend to result in these units being repainted in the most recent livery, so these "legacy" paint jobs are slowly dwindling.
    • For their 30th anniversary, Norfolk Southern painted 10 EMD SD70ACes and 10 GE ES44ACs as special heritage units, each bearing the paint schemes and markings of the various predecessor railroads of Norfolk Southern and Conrail.
    • Not a fallen flag, but in 2019 Canadian Pacific unveiled the first of several diesels in a recreation of their pre-1968 paint scheme, complete with script or block lettering and beaver herald on the nose.
  • Joining the proud steamer family is Hungary's own Class 424. Nicknamed Nurmi (after Finnish runner Paavo Nurmi, for being really quick at 90 km/h and with a weight of over 140 metric tonnes counting the tender) or Buffalo (for its strength, 1350 HP/993 kW with a pulling force of 113,2 kN) with a 4-8-0 wheel arrangement, these beauties were the gems and pride of the Hungarian railways from 1928 well into the 1980ies (about 30 years after they stopped being constructed). There are only a few of them left, mostly in museums or doing special nostalgia-train duty.
  • Gentlemen (and Ladies, of course), I give you Belgium's Type 12 Atlantics. Technically an obsolete wheel arrangment on introduction into service in 1938 (4-4-2, if you are interested), they hauled the crack boat-train expresses between Brussels and Ostend. Not especially quick, and usually hauling lightweight sets of coaches, they are still renowned from their durabilty and their ability to post high 'average' speeds, rather than high total speed. And, if you can get images off the internet - they look gorgeous! After all, a Type 12 is Axel from Thomas & Friends: The Great Race!
  • The GM/NoHAB AA16 or simply The NoHAB (also known as MY in Denmark, Di 3 in Norway and M 61 in Hungary). It may not be fast or powerful or high-tech, but it's a freaking European EMD F7 from the two-stroke engine to the bulldog nose (albeit two of them)! It's so cool that Lars von Trier had a former Danish MY repainted in the Great Northern livery for Dancer in the Dark. Just Train Wrong, but still awesome, and it led to even more NoHABs in the colors of US railroads, of course including the Santa Fe Warbonnet.
    • The same goes for its sisters in Belgium and Luxemburg made by Anglo-Franco-Belge, just that they weren't repainted like crazy because none of them ended up with private railroads.
  • The Trans-Europ-Express in most of its incarnations.
    • Originally (1957), the Trans-Europ-Express trains were diesel trains in order to overcome the difficulties of having to operate under up to four different electric currents, not to mention gaps in the electrification. Italy had two-car DM Us (ALn 442/448), France had something similar, but with only one power car and a vestibule at the cab end of the control car (X 2700 a.k.a. R.G.P.). Switzerland (RAm TEE) and the Netherlands (DE-IV) had four-car trains with one power car, two intermediate cars and one control car (that said, the Swiss weren't too fond of the idea of operating diesel trains in their almost fully electrified country); at least, these five units had air-conditioning, a real restaurant and no noisy diesel engines under the seats.
      The German VT 11.5 took the cake with a variable configuration with two power cars at the end. It had four different cars, all air-conditioned: a compartment car, a saloon car, a dining car and a car with another saloon, a bar (!) and an extension for the restaurant (it was always coupled to the kitchen end of the dining car). While the other trains were designed for the standard TEE top speed of 140kph, the VT 11.5 could reach 160kph with up to six intermediate trailers (standard configuration was five) and 140 with up to eight of them. The Danish rail operator DSB had their own variant of the VT 11.5, the MA 460 series, nicknamed irreverently the "Flygende Stovle" (Flying Boot) note , which annoyed DSB so much that they painted them silver, called them the "Solvepilen" (Silver Arrow) and threatened to fire any DSB employee that referred to it as the "Flygende Stovle". It's beloved in Denmark, with the nickname varying between the two.
    • Despising diesel trains with a passion, the Swiss designed the RAe TEE II a five-car electric TEE train that went into operation in 1961. These four units were the first European railroad vehicles that could operate under all four currents, and one of their services actually made full use of that. In 1968, they were all fitted with a sixth car, and a fifth unit was made.
    • In 1962, Germany upgraded the locomotive-hauled Rheingold (Amsterdam/Hoek van Holland — Basel), traditionally a Cool Train of its own right since 1928, to something that topped all TEE trains and eventually became one itself in 1965. Each train had compartment and saloon coaches on a comfort level unparalleled by anything built since the end of the Belle Époque, a dining car with a bi-level kitchen—and a dome car. If you've ever traveled along the Rhine between Koblenz and Mainz, you may know how much sense a dome car makes there. The Rheingold even got its own brand-new electric locomotives based on the E 10 express engines that were in production back then, but modified for a top speed of 160kph, matching that of the cars. The following year, the Rheinpfeil (Dortmund — Munich) was upgraded to the same rolling stock.
    • In the mid-60s, France began to upgrade an increasing number of first-class trains to Trans Europ Expresses and introduce all-new ones. From 1967 on, new coaches were introduced with carbodies made of corrugated stainless steel and power cars that provided the consists with electricity. First came the so-called "TEE-PBA" coaches for the new Paris — Brussels (— Amsterdam) trains. Based on these, the Mistral (Paris — Lyons — Marseilles — Nice) was upgraded to all-new "Mistral '69" material in 1969. The last evolution step were the "Grand Confort" coaches from 1970 that was used on all the other national TEE trains. It had features like both restaurant and bar or windows with blinds running between the panes.
      The "Grand Confort" coaches came with its own locomotives of the "Broken Nose" kind, the CC-6500 which were powerful enough to accelerate eleven-car trains (and these cars weren't exactly lightweight) to 200kph despite operating under only 1,500V DC. What few "Grand Confort" trains ran under 25kV 50Hz AC were hauled by bi-current CC-21000 or later by run-of-the-mill BB-15000 in "Grand Confort" colors.
    • From 1964 on, Germany began to switch from the VT 11.5 to locomotive-hauled trains, too. The locomotives and the compartment and saloon coaches originally stayed similar to those used on Rheingold and Rheinpfeil and were combined with more normal dining cars and with restaurant/bar/compartment cars without an observation cupola.
      Things really got interesting in 1965 when the Deutsche Bundesbahn announced that it plans to run 200kph trains in the near future (this didn't actually come to pass until 1979, but still) and introduced the four prototypes of the locomotives for that job, the elegant six-axle E 03. Back then, they were the most powerful locomotives in the country, and along with two modified E 10 that hauled Germany's first 200kph trains with passengers aboard during the IVA in Munich, they were the fastest as well. The 1970 production version of this class (that was renamed 103 in 1968) were even more powerful and became the most iconic German locomotives of The '70s and well into The '80s.
  • Honorable mentions of trains that would later become TEEs:
    • Le Mistral (Paris — Lyons — Marseilles, later extended to Nice). It was introduced in 1950 and featured a power car for the electric train heating (so that the train would never be cut off from the heating, even when changing locomotives) and two classic CIWL Belle Époque cars, a diner and a Pullman saloon car; the rest of the train was upper-class, too.
      In 1956, everything except for the power car and the two CIWL cars (that had been upgraded for a top speed of 160kph meanwhile) was replaced by new cars made of unpainted, corrugated stainless steel, twelve of them on each train due to rising passenger numbers. This made a second CIWL dining car necessary, so at least between Paris and Lyons, Le Mistral had a whopping 16 cars without a single second-class seat! Five cars, including the second diner, only operated north of Lyons, three more, including the bar car, only ran north of Marseilles. The power car was still necessary because the train changed directions and therefore locomotives in Marseilles; also, it reduced the load on the 1,500V overhead catenary because the electric locomotive didn't have to supply the train with electricity.
      Le Mistral became a TEE in 1965 and got new, air-conditioned "Mistral '69" coaches in 1969 that also came with two power cars and replaced the aging CIWL vehicles. Between Paris and Marseilles, the train consisted of two groups of seven cars running back-to-back, so it still had two diners.
    • Le Capitole (Paris — Toulouse) was introduced in 1964 and entered TEE knightdom the year later. Back then, apart from the shiny Mistral, all locomotive-hauled day-time national trains in France were plain dark green. This was the first thing that Le Capitole changed: It got its own livery, a bright red with a thick white stripe. Tests revealed that passengers would rather ride in cars in this livery than in otherwise identical green cars.
      The rolling stock of Le Capitole was brand-new: The locomotives were BB-9200 "BB Jacquemins", the coaches (first class and first class with a small baggage compartment) were UIC-Y standard vehicles, and the diner was a matching DEV Acier Ordinaire car. What set them apart from their run-of-the-mill green brethren, however, was their maximum speed: All coaches and four of the locomotives were made for 200kph which the trains regularly ran, and the other two locomotives were even capable of reaching 250kph!
      Normally, Le Capitole operated twice a day per direction, in the morning (Capitole du matin) and in the evening (Capitole du soir). But it was so popular that extra trains were necessary on certain occasions. Additional consists were kept in both Paris and Toulouse. Even after Le Capitole was changed to CC-6500 and "Grand Confort" cars, there was always at least one more "Grand Confort" consist on stand-by, as were the older red trains because there were days when one regular Capitole was reinforced by three extra trains.
    • Il Settebello (Milan — Rome). Italy had pure upper-class trains, too, such as the locomotive-hauled Treno Azzurro, but Il Settebello stood out because of its rolling stock, the seven-section ETR 300 EMUs that were only used for this train and shared its name. Introduced in 1953, not only were the ETR 300 gorgeous to behold, but they had a killer feature: observation saloons at both ends which means that one of them was always at the front. You could enjoy the 200kph ride on the Direttissima between Florence and Rome from the train driver's perspective. The actual cab was raised (similarly to the United Aircraft Turbotrains, the Dutch "Koplopers" and several Japanese express EMUs) and installed behind the observation saloon. Il Settebello became a TEE in 1974 when Italy introduced in-land TEEs, too, and it was discontinued ten years later. One of the three Settebello units is currently being rebuilt to its original glory.
      The ETR 300 had a little brother, the four-section ETR 250 "Arlecchino" of which four were made.
    • Speaking of Italian in-land TEEs: If there's one thing Italians love to do and love to do properly, it's dining. Now look at the early Ambrosiano (Milan — Rome, too), introduced in 1974. Upon first glance, it's your average 1970s Italian TEE with a string of eleven "Gran Conforto" coaches pulled by an E444 (that said, the E444 "Tartaruga" is a Cool Locomotive in its own right). However, if you look a bit closer, you'll see two dining cars in the middle running kitchen-to-kitchen! This wasn't even justified by the train having two sections, it was just that while the train ran the same route as the Settebello, it ran during lunch time. That is, the earliest version of the Ambrosiano had the baggage car (with a lateral aisle for passengers to walk through) tucked in between the diners because it also carried the food supplies for the kitchens.
  • While high speeds on standard gauge are nothing new, pushing narrow gauge (which cannot provide speeds over 160 km/h due to the inherent instability of the tracks) to it's very limits almost always results in a Cool Train and a Pint-Sized Powerhouse (gauge wise, that is).
    • The Kyushu Railways 885 class reaches 130 km/h in regular service mostly thanks to it's tilting technology. It was exported to Taiwan where it is used for express services on the eastern half of the island.
    • The Queensland Railways Electric Tilt Train currently holds the record for the fastest narrow gauge train in service (and again, due to the technical limitations, that record isn't likely to be broken soon). In testing, it achieved 210km/h, which would also formally classify it as an example of high speed rail. Not half bad for a Cape gauge train, isn't it?
    • The KTM Electric Train Service is a train that can hit anywhere from 140-160 km/h... on a meter gauge track. The Malaysian peninsular network has undergone serious upgrades typically reserved for high-speed rail lines in other countries, but the 1000mm gauge had to be kept because of compatibility with existing rolling stock, the connection to Thailand (which uses the same gauge) and the interchange with the East Coast line (which is not planned to undergo any upgrades soon).


Video Example(s):


The 2-2-0 Planet

Sir Robert Peel has a railway by his country estate, complete with a brand-new 2-2-0 Planet steam engine. Prince Albert shares his enthusiasm for trains, and the two bond over both being railfans.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / RailEnthusiast

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