4 popular stories featuring trains

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4 popular stories featuring trains

Mining and construction are among the oldest professions on Earth. They gave man the essentials to build up civilisations and have benefitted the growth of cultures over thousands of years. From steel girders to the Roman aqueducts, these industries have stood the test of time. One of the most popular technologies they helped to develop was the railway.

Railroads started showing up around the 6th Century BC in Greece. Here, they were used to transport boats across the Isthmus of Corinth. The industry and transportation method only grew from there. The Age of Steam marking the beginning of transport industrialisation in the later 1700s with the birth of the steam engine.

And though railways were indispensable during the 1900s, they have since started to become less so due to the advancement of diesel and petrol engine road vehicles and flight technology. These once great machines would reach every corner of a country, transporting animals, materials, fuel, and people. Entire industries were built on luxury and economic transport.

That’s not to say that railways are at all dead. In fact, they are still used the world over, but not as vast as they once were. Though this is contradicted by the use of subways in countries such as the US and Japan. Though they continue to be constructed with the help of machine companies such as CAT and Babcock International. They are no longer the preferred mode of transport. Even so, these once great machines will forever be immortalised in popular novels and nonfiction books. There are quite a few tales that centre around trains as an integral part of the plot. Here are a few of them.


Atlas Shrugged

The popular 20th century novel from Russian author Ayn Rand is her magnum opus. Atlas Shrugged is a hefty 1168-page book primarily deals with Objectivism, which Rand is fond of. More importantly to the article at hand, a large section of the novel is focussed on Taggart Transcontinental and two siblings that run the company. The book goes into great detail about the establishment of the railroad, its founder, its lines and connections, as well as the materials used to create it as well. Though some train fans may be disappointed at the lack of actual names for the trains used on all of the lines.

If you have the inclination to digest a hefty 600 000-word book with the fascination of the railway, Atlas Shrugged may just be the novel for you. Be warned, you’ll love it, or think it’s just a supplement to toilet paper.


Murder on the Orient Express

Another 1900s classic, this time by detective writer Agatha Christie. Published in 1934, and one of the author’s most popular novels, Murder on the Orient Express tells the tale of a murder aboard the titular train. And private detective HerculePoirot has to solve the case. The book deals with the themes of justice, jury, and murder, in a tale that is studied the world over.

Of course, fans of the trains will get a kick out of the novel's setting - taking place primarily on the Orient Express - with emphasis put on different locations throughout the train as well.


Harry Potter series

Who can really forget the iconic King's Cross Station Platform 9¾ in London station? There, the students of Hogwarts would depart for the year ahead of learning magic, fighting Basilisks, and encountering a dark lord living on the back of a teacher’s head. If none of that makes sense to you, then you should really read this phenomenal series of books from J.K. Rowling.

A portion of some of the Harry Potter novels takes place on The Hogwarts Express, which is a 4-6-0 Hall Class steam locomotive with the GWR 5900 model number. This method of transportation is primarily used for exposition on events in the universe and character introductions, as well as showing readers the Dementors.


Galaxy Express 999

In stepping more into the fantastical and science fiction is Galaxy Express 999. Created by Japanese author Leiji Matsumoto, the manga is set in a future where humans can transfer their consciousness into machine body's. Also, humanity uses a train to travel the stars.

A young man and his mother wish to board the Galaxy Express 999 to travel to the Andromeda Galaxy. There, the expensive mechanised bodies are supposedly given away for free. Before they reach the station, his mother is murdered and he is given a chance a claim revenge for her death. The manga went on to spawn an anime TV series, movie, mini-series, and several other adaptations.

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