What would be a reasonable scientific way of explaining a railways-like travel system between planets of the same solar system?

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    $\begingroup$ You will find that a system involving physical rails is completely and utterly infeasible for many reasons (such as the distance between planets, which is huge and constantly changing). However, if you can explain what aspects of a railway-like system you want to see, there might be a way to get those specific aspects. $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon - Reinstate Monica Nov 17 '17 at 7:07
  • $\begingroup$ See Galaxy Express 999. I believe the explanation there was that they could make space travel look like whatever they wanted, so they decided to make it look like something familiar: a train. $\endgroup$ – sdfgeoff Nov 17 '17 at 7:33
  • $\begingroup$ Another good one is Timothy Zahn's Quadrail Series, where you can project a line between two points along which light speed is infinite. Light speed decreases to normal as you move outward from the line, so at various distances from the string, you can fly at various arbitrarily high speeds. The line is like the rails of a train. $\endgroup$ – Daniel Bensen Nov 17 '17 at 7:53
  • $\begingroup$ How your 'railway' works? Is it a physical? How would it interact with the movement of the planets? Please provide us with some details on your railway. $\endgroup$ – Vylix Nov 17 '17 at 9:39
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    $\begingroup$ @DanielBensen From memory, the Quadrail system projects itself via a hyperspace. Effectively shortcuts outside of spacetime. There were four sets of rails, hence the name, that the trains ran on. Highly recommended as enjoyable reading. $\endgroup$ – a4android Nov 17 '17 at 12:11

Interplanetary Trains Running on Tracks? No!

There is the concept of a beanstalk space elevator to save fuel on the way to orbit. This requires materials science beyond what we can do now. Some visionaries wave their hands and say "nanomaterials," but we're not even close yet. A similar system on an interplanetary scale would need more and better materials.

Interplanetary Craft Running on Train-Like Schedules? Yes!

Consider a cycler spacecraft running between planets, and orbital transfer stations to collect the payload in orbit. That would be much like trains and stations, but there would be no platform where the passengers assemble. In effect the train doesn't stop, people and cargo have to catch an orbital transfer vehicle instead. Still, there would be the "4.50 from Paddington" and if you miss it you have to wait for the next one.

Perhaps a better way to think of the look-and-feel would be ocean liners on a schedule. You board it, perhaps from lighters, then it goes to the next port.



Perhaps not fully scientific yet; they're theoretical in nature and modern theories say they would be small and unstable; but given that this is future state Sci-Fi, one could argue that a system had been found to create large, stable wormholes between specific locations within a solar system.

The real issue is accounting for planetary orbits. That kind of fits in though because given their inherent theoretical instability, they could be allowed to collapse on a regular basis and then recreated in a more closely aligned position on (say) a daily basis or so.

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    $\begingroup$ To make it further fit the role of a train/rail system, I would say that due to the nature of the wormhole, a specific type of ship can travel it and that also due to the nature of the wormhole, you couldn't add a second ship in the same wormhole without serious risk. So the ship becomes a kind of train which does nothing more than make trips back and forth. $\endgroup$ – Neil Nov 17 '17 at 14:46

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