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Train-Pysadi-CT-Traveller-Adventure-pg-51 Steven-Crompton 15-July-2019a.jpg

A Train is a kind of composite vehicle often used for mass transit of passengers and/or cargo.

Description (Specifications)[edit]

A train is a form of transport consisting of a series of connected vehicles that generally runs along a prepared path or track to transport cargo or passengers. The word "train" comes from the Old Terran French trahiner, derived from the Latin trahere meaning "to pull" or "to draw."

  • Because a vast variety of forms of transportation exists within Charted Space, the generic term "train" is used to define two or more linked vehicles operating on a defined guideway in order to transport cargo or passengers between locations. Terms such as railroad, monorail or maglev are names for specific types of train.
  • Trains normally require a guideway of the correct gauge and format to operate. This most commonly consists of paired parallel rails but may instead be based on a central beam, tunnel systems, pressurized tubes, cables, guide beacons or other variant systems.

Image Repository[edit]

  1. Trains are an important part of transportation infrastructure on many worlds. A variety of Terran-style locomotives are depicted: other worlds and cultures produce their own unique styles of rolling stock.
    Train-Selection-Ade-Stewart-Fan-Art 14-July-2019a.jpg

Common Types of Transportation Networks[edit]

  • Land Trains: Linked Ground Vehicles (Usually Wheeled Vehicles) following a set route such as a paved highway.
  • Railroad Trains: Linked Wheeled Rail Vehicles following a network made up of parallel rails.
    • Monorail Trains: Linked Wheeled Rail Vehicles following a network made up from a single rail.
  • Maglev Trains: Linked Mag-Lev Rail Vehicles following a network typically made up of a central beam containing equipment.
    • Gravlev Networks: Linked Gravitic Rail Vehicles, typically employing early lifter technology capable of lifting a vehicle a few meters above the ground and utilizing flat, smooth prepared routes to maximize speed and efficiency.
  • Hyperloop Systems: Linked pressurized Rail Vehicles operating within vacuum tubes.
  • Skytrains: Linked Aircraft, Airships or Gravcraft, often following a set route between emplaced markers.

Technological Level[edit]

The listed technological level is the lowest at which the particular type of train is estimated to be efficiently constructed. Similar trains built at a higher technological level are more efficient, are likely to be constructed from more advanced materials, and may have an improved performance. They may also include improved items of onboard equipment such as upgraded environmental systems. Often a higher technology design exists which directly supersedes a similar but less advanced version.

Mainworld Design Considerations[edit]

Trains designed and built on a world generally only function on that one world. If they are transported to other worlds they will generally perform far below their normal parameters, often with catastrophic consequences. For example, air-breathing internal combustion power plants designed on a world with a standard atmosphere will struggle in thin atmospheres and may suffer internal damage if operated in dense atmospheres.

  • Trains designed to work in higher gravity environments may have bizarre handling properties in lower gravity, and trains designed to operate in low gravity may struggle to perform at all in higher gravity environments.

Environmental Engineering Conversions[edit]

Trains designed to operate on one world may be modified to allow them perform more efficiently on other worlds.

A huge industry exists offering such conversions. Skilled mechanics change components designed to utilize atmospheric gases and upgrade or replace fuel and exhaust systems. Adjustments are made to transmission, suspension and braking systems, ballast is added or excess weight is removed, and power plants are tweaked, retuned or even entirely rebuilt. These modifications and conversions allow the train to operate relatively efficiently and safely within its new environmental conditions.

History & Background (Dossier)[edit]

Trains tend to be a pillar of transportation infrastructure for sophont societies during the TL:1-9 Foundational Period or Ur-Period of development. By TL:10-12, the conventional groundcraft technology becomes increasing supplanted and replaced by gravcraft. Grav trains are a viable technology and some societies have developed the technology viably.

Expected Train Development Sequence[edit]



Foundational Age Societies[edit]

The first trains generally run on rails, tracks, roads, or prepared transit ways.

Technological Period: TL:1-9 and Tech-Name: Ur-Tech
Common Characteristics: TBD, etc.
Tech Epoch TL-Range Remarks
Tool Making Epoch TL:1-3 During the end of this period, many sophont societies develop external combustion and the first viable, high beastpower power plants, which in turn leads to the development the first steam engines. Combined with metallurgy skills, rails and large engines can be cast, which result in continental train networks where resources are available.
Division of Labor Epoch TL:4-6 Increasing mastery of internal combustion engines result in more powerful diesel trains which can easily make transcontinental freight runs. Intermodal cargo systems increase the reach and flexibility of cargo networks. Land Trains and even Hover Trains on some worlds become viable. Most large bodies of water are dominated by maritime shipping options.
Processor Epoch TL:7-9 Electronics and electric trains become increasing more capable and superconductor and early gravitic control technology allow high speed trains, Maglev and even Gravlev movers. Lower aircraft fuel costs and competing mass transit systems begin to decrease the reach and desirability of train systems.

Interstellar Age Societies[edit]

Gravitic trains have little to no need for preprepared infrastructure.

Technological Period: TL:10-18 and Tech-Name: Stell-Tech
Common Characteristics: Typically used on higher technology worlds trying to diminish the ecological footprint. Often used alongside Fusion Plus, Arcologies, Traffic Nets, City Minds, etc.
Tech Epoch TL-Range Remarks
Gravitics Epoch TL:10-12 Mastery of gravity control technologies allow for the first grav trains, which begin to supplement earlier electro-mechanical technologies on worlds that can afford them. City Minds, AI controllers, allow city and even continent-wide traffic networks, with very low accident rates.
Biologicals Epoch TL:13-15 Fewer and fewer cities build widespread transportation infrastructure networks and the cost of gravcraft decreases. Within arcologies, people movers and internal mass transit networks are quite common. Grav trains still serve a very useful and valued place on such worlds, connecting arcologies.
Artificials Epoch TL:16-18 No one knows where the future will go with mass transit. Some cities have posited that planetwide gravitic control networks will become possible rather than a combination of continental travel networks supplemented by air/rafts, G-carriers, and Grav Trains.

References & Contributors (Sources)[edit]

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This list of sources was used by the Traveller Wiki Editorial Team and individual contributors to compose this article. Copyrighted material is used under license from Far Future Enterprises or by permission of the author. The page history lists all of the contributions.