All aboard! Err, on the other hand, maybe not. After all, some rail journeys can become quite hairy, as Mark Fraser explains in Top 10 Movie Train Rides to Avoid..!
10. The Hunter (Buzz Kulik, 1980)
A ride through Chicago’s suburbs goes awry when some junkie-looking hyped-up crazy guy hijacks your carriage and takes people hostage at gunpoint as he’s trying to escape a modern day bounty hunter.
9. Unstoppable (Tony Scott, 2010)
Through the idiotic mistake of a bungling railroad company employee, your freight train sets off without a driver and becomes what they call a coaster. Possible salvation, however, comes in the form of an experienced engineer and his newbie assistant, who pursue the runaway in their locomotive. A truly teeth-gritting experience.
8. Emperor of the North (Robert Aldrich, 1973)
If you’re a hobo and considering bumming a free lift on this freight train, then you should really think again given the chief conductor is a brutally sadistic fellow who has no compunction about throwing you off mid journey – sometimes with the persuasive assistance of a sledge hammer or a large bolt tied to a rope.
7. Runaway Train (Andrei Konchalovsky, 1985)
While you take a brief nap, two Alaskan prison escapees climb on board the last of the four coupled locomotives you are working on as they flee the law. When the driver in the front engine has a heart attack and pulls the wrong lever before falling out of his cabin, you awake not only to find yourself facing two desperate men and an-out-of control train, but also some insurmountable barriers blocking the driver’s seat. The fact it’s freezing cold doesn’t help.
6. (TIE) Predator II (Steven Hopkins, 1990)
A potential gunfight between a group of drug dealers and some armed passengers somewhere under Los Angeles is interrupted by a seemingly indestructible alien, which smashes its way into the carriage before all hell breaks loose. Even the presence of two undercover detectives doesn’t help defuse the situation.
6. (TIE) The Midnight Meat Train (Ryuhei Kitamura, 2008)
The monster on the LA subway this time comes in the form of a well-dressed butcher who smashes all of the 2.06am passengers in the head with his king sized tenderiser before gutting them like cattle and feeding them to a group of subterranean creatures that dwell in and around a disused station. If you somehow survive all of this, one question will linger in your mind: Who the hell cleans this mess up every night?
5. Europa AKA Zentropa (Lars von Trier, 1991)
Nothing is what it seems when a young, nerdish and naive American passenger train conductor, who started working in Germany just after World War II, goes nuts when some remnant Nazi terrorists (known as Werewolves) mess with his head. The problem is he stops the train on a bridge in the middle of the night just before a hidden bomb goes off, sending carriages into the freezing river below.
4. Horror Express (Eugenio Martin, 1972)
A once-in-a-lifetime trip on this famous Trans-Siberia route turns into an utter disaster when a hideous soul-sucking alien creature, which was found in Manchuria and put on the train in Peking, breaks loose and starts causing mayhem. The arrival of an aggressive bald Cossack officer and his men–who are initially under the impression that they are dealing with terrorists–doesn’t help.
3. The French Connection (William Friedkin, 1971)
An armed Frenchman jumps on board your New York train and hijacks it as he attempts to escape from a detective who is chasing him in a car below. Not only does he shoot a policeman and a passenger, but he also gives the poor negro engineer a heart attack. The journey jarringly ends when the out-of-control train is abruptly stopped by a stationary train that is sitting on the track.
2. The Taking of Pelham 123 (Joseph Sargent, 1974)
Paying just 35 cents a ticket for the New York subway is no longer a bargain when four men, all wearing the same clothes and fake glasses, hijack the train and put everyone in the carriage up for a collective $1 million ransom. Aside from waiting at gunpoint for over an hour as the authorities above argue whether they should negotiate with these urban terrorists, the head of the gang puts the now-driverless train into full gear before leaving, hurtling the hapless carriage–and its traumatised passengers–towards the end of the line.
1. The Cassandra Crossing (George Pan Cosmatos, 1976)
Normally this trip between Geneva and Stockholm would be a joy to behold given it passes through some of the most picturesque landscapes Western Europe has to offer. Unfortunately a fatally wounded terrorist – who has just tried to blow up the International Health Organisation and become infected with some kind of US military-created bubonic plague in the process – climbs on board and spreads the illness amongst the passengers. When the armed, white-suited quarantine squad arrive things don’t get any better, particularly when you find out that they plan to send you to an old Nazi prison camp in Poland via an ultra-condemned bridge for treatment. While the ensuring passenger revolt is quite hair-raising, the journey actually ends up being well worth the effort when you run into undercover cop OJ Simpson disguised as a priest.