All Aboard!

It starts when we’re very young.  We hear the story about The Little Engine That Could.  We watch Thomas the Tank Engine.  We see the trains on the tracks and count the cars as they pass before us.  And we become fascinated by trains.

Trains have been around for centuries. They moved cargo.  They transported people.  From earliest times, freight was moved along wooden rails, pulled by horses.  Then came the steam locomotive and transportation was faster, opening up new lands.  As other forms of power came into use, trains ran on electricity in cities and on diesel for longer distances across countries.  Today there are high-speed trains capable of going as fast as 300 or more miles per hour.

Most of my train travel has been done in cities, riding on light-rail systems such as Houston Metro.  I have made one other trip by train, traveling with a friend from her home in central Illinois to Chicago.  I enjoyed being able to relax and chat and read and look at the scenery and not have to worry about where we would park or other drivers on the road.

Naturally, the movie industry became fascinated with trains, too.  In fact, one of the earliest films – less than a minute long -- was of a train pulling into a station.  (Legend has it that some audience members were terrified, thinking that the train would crash into the room.)  In 1903, Thomas Edison gave us the 12-minute western film The Great Train Robbery.  And in spite of the prevalence of other modes of transportation, the film industry has not lost interest in trains.

If you’d like to see just a few of the films and TV series featuring trains, check the lists below.  With so many different categories, you’re sure to find one that will excite or scare or just make you laugh. 

Harry Potter films
The Harvey Girls
The Polar Express
The Railway Children
Train Master

Back to the Future III
From Russia with Love
Silver Streak
Union Pacific
Von Ryan’s Express 
The Wild Wild West
TV series

The General
Petticoat Junction TV series
Planes, Trains and Automobiles
Throw Momma from the Train
Twentieth Century

Before Sunrise
Doctor Zhivago
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

The Lady Vanishes
Murder on the Orient Express
The Narrow Margin (1952)
Night Train to Munich
North by Northwest
Strangers on a Train
The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3

More for Adults
The Darjeeling Limited
Hell on Wheels
TV series
The Station Agent

Riding the Rails : [Teenagers on the Move During the Great Depression]
Rising from the Rails : the Story of the Pullman Porter
Transcontinental Railroad
The West : a Ken Burns Documentary
When Giants Roamed : the Golden Age of Steam

Great American Scenic Railroads
Travel the World by Train










Flickr:  CC          : Suburban Train          Photo: Gerry Balding

Flickr:  CC          : Train Yard in Medville, PA          Photo: Shannon