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Railroad to Horizon

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A visual motif wherein a railroad stretching from the point of view to the horizon is used as a symbol of a long journey ahead or maybe of the vast world outside. Usually evokes feelings of adventurous thrill and romantic exploration. Alternatively, a train station where many railways converge is used to the same effect. A Cool Train is optional but the main focus is on the good old rails and sleepers (even in an age of monorails, etc.).

Compare At the Crossroads. See also Riding into the Sunset and Train-Station Goodbye.


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    Anime & Manga  
  • Digimon Frontier uses a lot of railroad imagery (namely in posters and both the opening and the first ending sequence) to symbolize the long journey the heroes have to go on to save the Digital World. Trains are their main means of transport in the Digital World, and also how they enter it in the first place.
  • Fairly common in Fullmetal Alchemist's visual imagery, especially the animes' opening themes.

    Film — Animated 
  • Dumbo ends with the titular elephant, reunited with his mother and secure in his flight ability, flying down onto the circus train to join her as it rides into the distance. This signifies the film's happy ending.

  • Parodied in a John Sladek short story were the train is derailed by the track getting narrower toward the horizon.

  • In the second album of The Protomen's rock opera, the first half ends when Dr. Light escapes from the lynch mob Wily's propaganda has whipped up when he gets put on a train leading out of the nameless city. Rather than being romanticized or opening up the larger world, however, it serves to highlight that Light's humanist ideals have been rejected, as well as how isolated The City is from the rest of the world, which might as well not exist from the perspective of those who live there.

  • The first act of Gypsy ends on a railroad platform, with rails and wires running off endlessly into the distance toward some far-away point, like the ambitions Rose grandiloquently expresses in the cue for her to sing "Everything's Coming Up Roses." It may be the scene of a Train-Station Goodbye, but it's not the end of the story.

    Video Games 
  • Happens in Final Fantasy VIII, during a sequence where Squall is desperate to save Rinoa, and walks the railroad from Fishermen's Horizon to Esthar. The railroad spans a whole ocean.
  • In Spirits of Anglerwood Forest, Chapter 8 ends with a pan up to a train leaving on the horizon. This is shortly before Edgar leaves his new friends and heads to Angler's Maw.
  • The whole of Syberia duology is permeated by this motif: THE railroad begins not far from where Kate first enters the story and ends in the very final cutscene, symbolizing her entire journey into the depths of the surreal.
  • Railroads are very prominent in the most well-hidden ending of Tsukihime, Kohaku True, both in literal sense, with Shiki traveling to meet up with Kohaku at the Nanaya Mansion, and symbolic, representing the beginning of his new life.