Amazing trains that never were


19 Responses to “Amazing trains that never were”

  1. Anonymous says:

    London to St Paul? Sounds like a pretty good deal for someone in St Paul and not so good for someone in London.

    “Come on kids! We are all going on a train ride.”
    “Yaaaay! Where to daddy? Paris? Berlin?”
    “No, even better, St Paul Minnesota!”
    “Noooo daddy no!”

    • Antinous / Moderator says:

      London to St Paul? Sounds like a pretty good deal for someone in St Paul and not so good for someone in London.

      Maybe the Londoners want to experience a Northern European monoculture.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The North Pole route appears to continue on to Luna.

    Anyone know the story behind “Jo’s Back Track?”

  3. Lincoln says:

    Ah St Paul, the railway capital of the world. The first time I visited that bustling city I was a young boy. I remember gazing in amazement at the colossal railways leading due east, north, south and west. Times were simpler back then. A man was a man, a boy was a boy, and a train was a train. Now that I think of it, seeing all of the railway workers interfacing in such an efficient way was one of the most defining moments of my life.

  4. Roy Trumbull says:

    Going back a century or more the biggest cons were associated with railroads. Lots of systems promoted, money collected, but never built.
    Worse were the real rails that were taken over only to have their treasuries looted leaving a bare shell. Agents delivered satchels of cash to state legislatures. One who was honest took money only from one side.
    Once Vanderbilt (the younger) got in a price cutting contest with Jay Gould for shipping cattle east. Vanderbilt went below his cost for some time before he found out he was shipping cattle owned by Gould.

  5. TurquoiseDays says:

    I’m more concerned about whatever caused Belgium to disappear into the North Sea…

  6. romulusnr says:

    I suppose it is moot at this point, but the first problem I see with that map is that it’s a straight line on a Mercator projection. The shortest line from St. Paul MN to London UK would not go through Portsmouth NH or Cornwall. It would shoot directly up through Ontario, Quebec, and Labrador, buzz past Greenland’s southern tip, slice Ireland at about the Ulster border, and trudge through Wales to its eastern terminus.

    Don’t even get me started on those lower left corner lines purporting to lead to Sacramento and San Francisco that go through Texas…

  7. Inventorjack says:

    I love how that St. Paul to London bridge requires support cables that go all the way to Holland.

    Also, that tunnel to the Sub Oceanic surely holds a Guinness World Record. That’s one serious tunnel!

    (By the way, the notes on the St. Paul map specifically state the map is *not* of St. Paul, Minnesota, which is why they put a tiny little Minneapolis in the upper left of the map.)

  8. Anonymous says:

    Need a section on the Breitspurbahn IMHO.

  9. Micah says:

    People might not want to go from London to St. Paul. But West St. Paul is a completely different story!

  10. muteboy says:

    The rail zeppelin reminded me of the guided dirigibles in Jack Vance’s ‘Durdane’ books. Book cover here:

    Maglev is cool in a kind of futuristic way, but I’m glad the current efforts in the US are sticking with state-of-the-practice steel-wheel-on-steel-rail.

  11. victorvodka says:

    way to build extra track by not following a great circle route (which would connect boston to london via halifax, nova scotia, as anyone who has ever flown from the east coast to europe will know)

  12. Anonymous says:

    I notice the list didn’t include the currently touted California High Speed Rail Initiative, surely another unbuildable rail line.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Wait, I thought this was the tube to Saint Pauls…

  14. Anonymous says:

    all it needs to build these kinds of trains is good pr by good people.


  15. blearghhh says:

    My biggest question is why St Paul? I mean, it’d just be underused, because while I can see why people would want to go from St. Paul to London, who in their right mind would want to go from London to St. Paul? Once everyone left, the city’d just be empty.

    • cinemajay says:

      If you’d been to the Minnesota State Fair you’d know what a crock that statement truly is.

      /boiled sausages = do not want

  16. Rezmason says:


    But I’m pretty certain that the St Paul railway illustration was satirical when it was written. It’s available here as a PDF, at a size that you can read the description.

    Maybe at the time it was written, someone from St Paul was making an ambitious proposal for a public transit system.

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