orget about Harry’s Hogwarts Express. Forget about those Railway Children, the Boxcar Children and Thomas the Tank Engine. Forget about The Little Engine That Could and The Polar Express too. The best books about trains are ones involving dirty deeds done dirty cheap. For more than a century, mystery writers have been drawn to trains, railways and stations because they are wonderful places to set a crime – hordes of strangers, multiple destinations, people fleeing from the past or looking for a fresh start. You may never make eye contact with a fellow train passenger again after reading some of these thrillers.
Top 10 Train Thrillers
1. Strangers on a Train
A gripping psychological thriller from 1950 that proves you can meet dangerous people on trains.
2. The Wheel Spins
Ethel Lina White
Another thriller (1936) about meeting a stranger on a train – Hitchcock turned it into The Lady Vanishes.
3. Murder on the Orient Express
4. Stamboul Train
Published a year before Murder on the Orient Express, this is a thriller set on the Orient Express.
5. The Necropolis Railway
Published in 2002, a British murder mystery set in the golden age of steam.
6. The Edge
A classic thriller where the Jockey Club’s Tor Kelsey takes a transcontinental train journey across Canada.
7. La Béte Humaine
8. 4.50 From Paddington
9. Mr. Norris Changes Trains
A 1935 novel set in pre-War Europe with a chance meeting on a train. Also readGoodbye to Berlin.
10. The Taking of Pelham One Two Three
John Godey A New York subway train is hijacked in this thriller from 1973 that became a move a year later.
The 8.55 to Baghdad
A train journey from London to Baghdad just before the Iraq War in Agatha Christie’s footsteps.
Stranger on a Train
The Old Patagonian Express
The Story of London’s Underground
John R. Day
First published by London Transport in the 1960s. Tells of smoke-filled tunnels to the modern day Tube.
The Big Red Train Ride
Eric Newby The Trans-Siberian Railway covers seven time zones and 5,900 miles. Newby made the trip in 1977.
Dining on Rails: An Encyclopedia of Railroad China
Canadian Pacific Steam Locomotives
Archie Williamson & Omer Lavallee
Operation of Trains and Stationwork
Fredrick J. Prior
Steam From Kenya to the Cape