My world is in the distant future. While there were nukes, they were not used entirely, and there were many bioweapons like the t virus. The world has a few major governments still standing, but are very weak, and many citystates ruling. The environment is similar to those of fallout and stalker. I was wondering, if it would be useful, what trains would survive in a post-apocolypse? The 3 kinds I was thinking on which would be most useful are the steam train, electric train, or even nuclear-powered.

Some factors to mention:

  • There are raiders
  • Lots of zombies and humanoid monsters
  • Metallurgy is still pretty good
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    $\begingroup$ Can you edit this to more clearly ask a single question? Your title asks what trains would survive, while the body asks "how trains would be implemented?" and "Which of steam, electric, and nuclear would be the most useful?" You may want to describe the rail relevant portions of your world in more detail. Since regardless of what question you choose to go with knowing more about your world will help us answer your question. $\endgroup$
    – sphennings
    May 3, 2022 at 3:52
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    $\begingroup$ Are zombies flammable? $\endgroup$ May 3, 2022 at 4:46
  • $\begingroup$ Steam locomotives are kept in storage in some numbers "just because", so I suspect they may survive apocalypse. Compared to diesel engines they don't need that much precision to manufacture and fix. $\endgroup$
    – alamar
    May 3, 2022 at 9:26
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    $\begingroup$ The presence of raiders and monsters suggest that there wouldn't be any trains at all. Railways require a LOT of expensive on-the-ground maintenance in a safe environment to work at all, and are terribly easy to damage or sabotage. If you have enough people and equipment and wealth and organization to operate and maintain railways, then you have what you need to build a well-equipped army to permanently rid the region of the monsters and raiders before starting the railroad work. $\endgroup$
    – user535733
    May 3, 2022 at 12:05
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    $\begingroup$ What, exactly, is a partially used nuke? $\endgroup$ May 3, 2022 at 12:45

1 Answer 1


Monster power!

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Handcar pumping across Nevada's Great Basin

Because if you have trains and monsters and the apocalypse put them together! This strapping young man is far from monstrous but it is a very beautiful video except he should be wearing gloves.

Now imagine he is 12 feet tall and nothing but muscle and loincloth and gloves, and he is right across from his comparably built buddy, both pumping away and singing songs as train trolls do. Behind their car is all the cars they are towing, full of passengers and cargo.

The riflegirl up on her perch watching for raiders is also looking for potential troll food, and she blows a whistle when she brings something down. The train coasts to a halt as the trolls run over to eat; passengers usually look away.

The trolls are paid well for their work and they (and the riflegirl) get tips from the riders. Also, any raiders think twice when they see the trolls.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Honestly, the rails will be more useful than the trains. Pulling small cars on rails is a lot easier and more reliable than a wagon. The ancient Greeks used rails to transport ships over land. No steam engines there. $\endgroup$
    – DWKraus
    May 3, 2022 at 19:38

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