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railways in fiction and fantasy


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I was bored and I had some spare wagons with no plan in mind, so I painted a couple up for the Ankh-Morpork and Sto Plains Hygienic Railway. One’s an open wagon, which may wind up carrying agricultural produce, and the other is an ore hopper from the mountains of Uberwald. I figured that like many 19th century railways, the AM&SPHR would mark their wagons with a symbol, specifically an ankh. Given that the railway goes to places where they don't speak Morporkian, this would also serve to identify the wagons to the "less enlightened" people of the Sto Plains (and dwarves, trolls etc).

 

Rather than attempt to fit "AM&SPHR" on every wagon, I've limited the lettering to "AM," which Lord Vetinari would no doubt consider to be the most important point. I think the grey is perhaps a little too light, meaning that the faded lettering doesn't show up very well. If I do any more, I'll go for a darker shade.

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post-31781-0-65487700-1534937272_thumb.jpeg

Edited by HonestTom
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One that occurs to me that I haven't seen mentioned. Was not Professor Branestawm (some here must remember him) responsible for a line linking several of the Pagwells? Presumably the usual unintended consequences ensued, but it's got to be 40 years since I read the books so I can't remember.

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I'm trying to write my own fiction novel (Called "Rewind") which has several references to railways.

 

In the first chapter, the main character (Mr Marlett) arrives home from London on a GWR HST at a small country station somewhere in Devon, before I describe the car journey through town back to their large house.

 

Several chapters later, the same character is seen with his wife in a tent camping near the Ribblehead Viaduct, which of course is on the Settle-Carlisle line, and that perticular part of the chapter mentions the sounds of passing trains through the night, disturbing their sleep!

 

Sam

Edited by sammyboy
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If the locomotive is a Hall, 

 

But do remember that film makers are notorious for getting the railway detail wrong. I strongly suspect that at one time (c. 1886) the Hogwarts services used a batch of bogie singles* designed by Dugald Drummond and built by Neilsons whilst under the influence of the Imperio charm. Owing to an error in casting the Obliviate charm, Neilsons were left with one of the batch still in the factory. The mystery of the origins of No. 123 is explained!

 

*A wizarding locomotive wouldn't need anything as mugglish as steam standing to overcome adhesion problems.

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But do remember that film makers are notorious for getting the railway detail wrong. I strongly suspect that at one time (c. 1886) the Hogwarts services used a batch of bogie singles* designed by Dugald Drummond and built by Neilsons whilst under the influence of the Imperio charm. Owing to an error in casting the Obliviate charm, Neilsons were left with one of the batch still in the factory. The mystery of the origins of No. 123 is explained!

 

*A wizarding locomotive wouldn't need anything as mugglish as steam standing to overcome adhesion problems.

Using J K Rowling inspired  ideology (as opposed to conspiracy theory) the Confundus charm cast on the film crew made them use a location shown variously in North Yorkshire and the West of Scotland so that the muggle railway fraternity would have no true idea of where Hogwarts is. Similar Confundus charm activity would/did account for the Highland River Class debacle too.

Edited by john new
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  • 2 months later...

1. In "the Woman in White" by Wilkie Collins, (published 1859-60) the protagonist Walter Hartright  travels often by train between London and Cumberland, and London and Hampshire.  It's an early detective story and the railway allows our hero to travel quickly between places important to the plot. In fact it is important that he can travel fast.  Book is very well written by a contemporary and friend of Dickens, with some very strong characters. Including Marian Halcombe, described as  "one of the finest creations in all Victorian fiction"

 

 

2.  In H G Well's short story "A Dream of Armageddon" the narrator meets a stranger on a railway journey from Rugby to Euston.  It was published in 1901. The stranger tells of dreams he cannot escape from, of times in the future when he is caught up in a major war  fought  with aircraft among other advanced weapons. In 2018 there is nothing unusual at all about Well's sci fi predictions, but the LNWR has long gone....

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1. In "the Woman in White" by Wilkie Collins, (published 1859-60) the protagonist Walter Hartright  travels often by train between London and Cumberland, and London and Hampshire.  It's an early detective story and the railway allows our hero to travel quickly between places important to the plot. In fact it is important that he can travel fast.  Book is very well written by a contemporary and friend of Dickens, with some very strong characters. Including Marian Halcombe, described as  "one of the finest creations in all Victorian fiction"

 

 

2.  In H G Well's short story "A Dream of Armageddon" the narrator meets a stranger on a railway journey from Rugby to Euston.  It was published in 1901. The stranger tells of dreams he cannot escape from, of times in the future when he is caught up in a major war  fought  with aircraft among other advanced weapons. In 2018 there is nothing unusual at all about Well's sci fi predictions, but the LNWR has long gone....

 

The ubiquity of the Premier Line in the 19th century novel.

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1. In "the Woman in White" by Wilkie Collins, (published 1859-60) the protagonist Walter Hartright  travels often by train between London and Cumberland, and London and Hampshire.  It's an early detective story and the railway allows our hero to travel quickly between places important to the plot. In fact it is important that he can travel fast.  Book is very well written by a contemporary and friend of Dickens, with some very strong characters. Including Marian Halcombe, described as  "one of the finest creations in all Victorian fiction"

 

 

2.  In H G Well's short story "A Dream of Armageddon" the narrator meets a stranger on a railway journey from Rugby to Euston.  It was published in 1901. The stranger tells of dreams he cannot escape from, of times in the future when he is caught up in a major war  fought  with aircraft among other advanced weapons. In 2018 there is nothing unusual at all about Well's sci fi predictions, but the LNWR has long gone....

 

Has it? 

 

https://www.londonnorthwesternrailway.co.uk/

 

 

 

Jason

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A pity then, that a platform 9 3/4 would only take students in the direction of Cambridge. An ancient seat of learning, but not exactly hilly terrain. 

 

Terry Pratchett was aghast when he had a film version of one of his books turned down due to the apparent similarity between Hogwarts and the Unseen University, despite the fact that Pratchett had created the UU many years before Rowling put finger to keyboard.

 

Up to a point, Lord Copper. UU is indeed mentioned by Pratchett about 10 years before the first Harry Potter Book, but UU is something of a “moveable feast” in the earlier Discworld books. However Hogwarts generally, owes a great deal to the long-established “school story” genre, particularly the Greyfriars stories. “Hoggwarts” (variously spelt) is also referenced by Nigel Molesworth, the gorriller of 3b (another shout-out by Sir Pterry?) as early as the 1950s

 

Apart from the antics of the Faculty, and the internal setting, there really isn’t much in common between the two. The UU Faculty do little, if any actual teaching and the students very rarely appear, apart from the crew around Ponder Stibbons in the High Energy Magic Building. UU is in the middle of Ankh Morpork, and its location is common knowledge, although most locals give the place a wide berth. Its principal function is to contain, control and distract the Faculty (if you seek an actual EDUCATION, the Assassins Guild seems to be the best option).

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An Assassin's Guild education would indeed have been much more thorough than anything UU could offer; an educated assassin was a pretty well rounded and knowledgeable character, and it must have been a source of some satisfaction to his/her victims that they were being done in by a knowledgeable person of intelligence, grace, style, and in possession of the social graces, not some moronic lumpen proletarian thug.

 

UU seems to be primarily concerned with preventing the ingress of the Dungeon Dimensions to the Discworld, and disseminating the concept among the populace that magic was not to be messed about with by those who didn't know what they were doing, not that most of the UU's professors seem to have had much idea either.  It's practical purpose and value to society is difficult to pin down beyond this, as can be said for some real universities for many centuries of their existence...

Edited by The Johnster
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An Assassin's Guild education would indeed have been much more thorough than anything UU could offer; an educated assassin was a pretty well rounded and knowledgeable character, and it must have been a source of some satisfaction to his/her victims that they were being done in by a knowledgeable person of intelligence, grace, style, and in possession of the social graces, not some moronic lumpen proletarian thug.

 

UU seems to be primarily concerned with preventing the ingress of the Dungeon Dimensions to the Discworld, and disseminating the concept among the populace that magic was not to be messed about with by those who didn't know what they were doing, not that most of the UU's professors seem to have had much idea either.  It's practical purpose and value to society is difficult to pin down beyond this, as can be said for some real universities for many centuries of their existence...

UU serves the important function of keeping the wizards too distracted with internal politics, or simply somnolent from over-eating, to revert to the enormously damaging, outright warfare which seems to have been common in earlier times. As Hogwarts derives in considerable part from Greyfriars, so UU appears to owe a good deal to Tom Sharpe’s Porterhouse, although the Faculty (particularly Mustrum Ridcully) owe a good deal to Tolkien.

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An Assassin's Guild education would indeed have been much more thorough than anything UU could offer; an educated assassin was a pretty well rounded and knowledgeable character, and it must have been a source of some satisfaction to his/her victims that they were being done in by a knowledgeable person of intelligence, grace, style, and in possession of the social graces, not some moronic lumpen proletarian thug.

 

UU seems to be primarily concerned with preventing the ingress of the Dungeon Dimensions to the Discworld, and disseminating the concept among the populace that magic was not to be messed about with by those who didn't know what they were doing, not that most of the UU's professors seem to have had much idea either.  It's practical purpose and value to society is difficult to pin down beyond this, as can be said for some real universities for many centuries of their existence...

Come now, there can't have been a late medieval peasant who, while toiling in the fields, wasn't constantly wondering how many angels could dance on the head of a pin.

 

in Going Postal,  I seem to remember Reacher Gilt and his cronies thinking that Lord Vetinari's effete private education would make him easy to run rings round- they then remembered that Guild whose school he had attended was the Assasins Guild.

Edited by Pacific231G
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I was vaguely toying with the idea of a layout based on Mega City One from the Judge Dredd comics. Trains do show up, mostly in the form of the “skyrail” (monorail) or “zoom” (maglev). That being said, the portrayal is so inconsistent that you could probably get away with anything.

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how many angels could dance on the head of a pin.

 

This was always a rather sophisticated question in mathematics, rather than philosophy or theology as is popularly imagined. How many objects of infinitesimal size can fit in an infinitesimal space?

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It’s got to be much further North than that. The train leaves KX at 11:00, there’s no record of it stopping anywhere, and it doesn’t get to Hogsmead until it’s dark. On September 1st, sunset is about 20:00 (19:52 in Didcot, 20:07 in Edinburgh), so if we assume it’s proper dark 30 mins later, that’s a journey time of 9 hours and 30 mins.

I've done Durham - London rail journeys that took about that long. All you need is for some unfortunate soul to decide to jump in front of the previous train. Or an idiot in a tractor to knock some masts down.

Edited by brack
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It’s got to be much further North than that. The train leaves KX at 11:00, there’s no record of it stopping anywhere, and it doesn’t get to Hogsmead until it’s dark. On September 1st, sunset is about 20:00 (19:52 in Didcot, 20:07 in Edinburgh), so if we assume it’s proper dark 30 mins later, that’s a journey time of 9 hours and 30 mins.

 

Let’s now assume an average speed of 40 mph, and that’s a distance of 380 miles. Which would be somewhere between Edinburgh and Inverness.

 

As far as water and coal is concerned, they are obviously replenished en route by magic.

 

While leaves as the only remaining issue the fact it’s not real...

In other words it leaves Kings Cross an hour before The Highland Chieftain, but arrives at its destination about half an hour after it. So clearly Hogwarts is somewhere on the Far North lines about one and a half hours past Inverness.
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I was vaguely toying with the idea of a layout based on Mega City One from the Judge Dredd comics. Trains do show up, mostly in the form of the “skyrail” (monorail) or “zoom” (maglev). That being said, the portrayal is so inconsistent that you could probably get away with anything.

I've thought the same. Would it be a railway within a city block or between blocks?

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This (how many angels could dance on the head of a pin) was always a rather sophisticated question in mathematics, rather than philosophy or theology as is popularly imagined. How many objects of infinitesimal size can fit in an infinitesimal space?

Hi Stephen.. I can reveal that the answer to the question is 8.6766×1049  which is far more satisfying than 0/0.

 

It was surely at Universities that such questions were asked whether mathematically or theologically. The mathematical question does sound like it came after Newton and Leibnitz's independent discovery of infinitesimal calculus in the late seventeenth century- long after the medieval period- but it seems that the real theological question posed by Thomas Aquinas in the thirteenth century (so definitely medieval) was whether more than one angel could be in the same place at the same time. 

https://dhspriory.org/thomas/summa/FP/FP052.html#FPQ52A3THEP1

 

We are of course much more knowledgable, though probably little wiser, nowadays.   Applying information physics (an angel must hold at least one bit of information i.e. fallen/not fallen), quantum gravity and relativity, Anders Sandberg* came up with an maximum of 8.6766×1049 In order to dance angels must have some mass (as otherwise they'd be moving at the speed of light) and any higher number of angels would generate a black hole.

It's all here.

https://www.improbable.com/airchives/paperair/volume7/v7i3/angels-7-3.htm

 

(Abstract: We derive upper bounds for the density of angels dancing on the point of a pin. It is dependent on the assumed mass of the angels, with a maximum number of 8.6766*10exp49 angels at the critical angel mass (3.8807*10exp-34 kg))

 

Your point (not of a needle!) has introduced me to the Improbable Research blog which is both hilarious and thought provoking, an excellent combination,  so my thanks for that.

*Anders Sandberg is (most of the time) a very serious scientist. His doctoral thesis was on Bayesian Attractor Neural Network Models of Memory.

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I've thought the same. Would it be a railway within a city block or between blocks?

 

The ones that appear in the comics I've seen run between blocks. There's also one under the Black Atlantic. That being said, the blocks are immensely large. Exactly how large depends on the writer/artist. Peach Trees, in the film, is at least 860 metres tall. Therefore, I reckon it wouldn't be outside the realms of possibility to have one inside a block. Or perhaps a line running through a block with a station. The great thing about Mega City One, from a creative point of view, is that it's so huge and ever-changing that nothing is really set in stone. The wacky Carlos Ezquerra designs are as valid as the more down-to-earth version in the 2012 film.

 

The way I wanted to do it was inspired by the 2012 film. I love that hideous brutalist look, because I'm weird. I envisioned something in T-gauge with dilapidated New York Subway-type trains running into and around blocks, with forced perspective used to create the illusion of the larger city. The important thing to me is that the city should look incomprehensibly huge.

Edited by HonestTom
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In other words it leaves Kings Cross an hour before The Highland Chieftain, but arrives at its destination about half an hour after it. So clearly Hogwarts is somewhere on the Far North lines about one and a half hours past Inverness.

Or travels slower.

 

I like to think Hogsmeade is in the borders in the Melrose/Kelso/Coldstream area thus giving an extra raison-d'etre for the reopening of the Waverley route. Wizarding interference in muggle affairs to (a)partially eliminate the need for maintaining magically obscured rail lines whilst at the same time (b) shifting the cost from the Ministry of Magic to the muggle Dept of Transport/Network Rail!

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It is of course possible that an entire area of Scotland may not be visible to us muggles, or even in the same dimension.  Platform 9 and ¾ is itself a dimensional anomaly, so it is not unreasonable to assume that any service to any destination from it is as well.

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AM&SPHR

Or for the non officianardos of the Disk World the Ankh-Morpork & Sto Plains Hygienic Railway I don't know if that should be A&SPHR or A&SR the title of Hygienic goes without saying as it is a new modern railway.

Some old photo graphs have come to light from the early days, they are in colour of course as they were taken by the Disc World method of a small Pixie in a box stopping time whilst he paints a full colour picture of the scene before him.

 

post-6220-0-52186100-1544073788_thumb.jpg

 

This is the arrival of the first direct train from Ankh-Morpork to reach Arkwrights Mill Halt as the AMSPHR line joins the industrial branch somewhere in the tunnel and this is the limit of their running powers, no doubt Lord Vetinari the Governor of Ankh-Morpork will endeavour to get trains permission to reach the main terminal some day but the town people here are afraid it may be a ruse by his Lordship to extend his influence even further afield.

The engine is one of the new Lion class, some aficionados of the steam lore claim it is an unashamed copy of an Earthly prototype that the cleaver dwarf mechanics saw on a early fact finding visit last year.

The train is an interesting combination of stock and shows the wonderful strides forward in railway development. The picture is from so long ago it was before the continuous brake and so there is a guards van at each end.

 

post-6220-0-66218800-1544074018_thumb.jpg

 

The leading van nearest the engine has a small rear extension this is not a dog box but is in fact accommodation for pixies and gnomes as they are of small stature and could be trodden on by mistake in the full size carriage accommodation.

The open wagon next is in fact a carriage for Trolls who can bare a bit of rain and don't mind the smoke from the engine as they are made of living rock.

 

post-6220-0-97202700-1544074107_thumb.jpg

 

Followed by the most comfortable carriage for those of means, often frequented by Lords and Ladies and the leading lights of Ankh-Morpork

Then next is the dwarves coach they prefer not to have too many windows as they are used to being underground and away from bright sunlight

Then comes the Intermediate class coach with good size windows for gentle people but of modest means then comes what looks like a cattle wagon but is in effect a new super luxury carriage for trolls with a roof and good ventilation but it never seems to be occupied as they prefer to ride in the old fashioned open carriage in the wind and sky.

 

post-6220-0-75472200-1544074231_thumb.jpg

 

post-6220-0-87519100-1544074274_thumb.jpg

 

The final coach before the end brake is the Social and Great Unwashed class carriage, in which adventurous peasants can enjoy the packed but cheap conditions, an ideal style of carriage to bring daily workers into the city. Some say they would be better off in the Trolls cattle wagon like carriage.

 

post-6220-0-40925700-1544074525_thumb.jpg

 

Then finally a new type of guards van with the lantern roof look out where the train attendant can guard the train and easily control his brake. This vehicle newly introduced has plenty of storage space to carry small goods and sacks of the newfangled w-mail. Written letters sent under the ingeniously new Farthing Post concept.

 

Behind can be seen another example of Disc World technology the single wheeler Crampton type locomotive, useful in the early years of the railway but with only single driven axle and small boiler for traction and power this type can not cope with the newer luxurious and heavier trains and is being converted in to a tank for light duties only.

 

How is this at all possible for trains to travel between worlds? Some sort of magical portal hidden within the old tunnel perhaps, some say it was made by dwarves long ago using the magic of Fiddle Yardus and the Plywood Realm.

 

Of course in this modern age of technological miracles and science we know such things as worm holes are possible even ones big enough for whole trains to pass through and allowing all species to travel, trolls, dwarves, pixies wizards and such to and from the rational Disk World and the laughably mystical Earthly world where there are only humans in isolation exist, how could such a ridiculous place be possible?

 

post-6220-0-65502600-1544074921_thumb.jpg

 

The trains grand arrival is watched by various railway servants and on the platform a small party of officials anticipate. The chief engineer himself in a tall hat also the chief inspector and Mrs Bradshaw who has been a great supporter of the new railway and is rumoured to be writing a gentlewoman’s guidebook to encourage travel on this exciting new transport. Also in attendance is a representative troll, one of the Granite-Silicates judging by his grey colour.

Another burning question of the day; what will the Ankh-Morporkian visitors be wearing, what are their custom and fashion of clothes? We can barely wait to see then alight.

Edited by relaxinghobby
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