What have The Nowhere Place, Grand Theft Cosmos, The Emerald Tiger and Project Nirvana got in common? Well, apart from all being great stories featuring different Doctors, they all heavily feature trains! Having noticed that I wondered briefly if that matters – is a train just a spaceship running on metal rails, or is it more than that?
I’d like to take a moment to explore this idea and to suggest some further possibilities for future stories…
Trains strike a romantic chord and are easy sets both visually and for an audio. They come with crew, engines and are also not (necessarily) a science-fiction construct. There is a sense of journey, being confined and many opportunities for interesting characters and intrigue. Yes to a large extent they are ships on rails but I do think dramatically they are distinct.
What options open up?
Famous train / train related events are common:
- Great Train Robbery – was the Doctor affected by this? Did the Sixth Doctor have something stolen along with the mail?
- Orient Express – surely the Doctor has travelled on the Orient Express many times? Would the Eighth Doctor not be dining on-board with Mary Shelley?
- Did the Seventh Doctor travel on the Flying Scotsman on its final journey?
- Is there a connection to the Polar Express? Did the Doctor inspire the creation of Thomas the Tank Engine?
What might we get?
How about a monster Thunderbirds style super sci-fi train travelling on the surface of some alien planet (Mars or somewhere more exotic) carrying a dangerous cargo under threat from spies, thieves and aliens and only the Doctor and his companions standing between annihilation and the salvation of a human colony?
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