One thing I like including in my stories is trains. There’s just something about a train that fires the imagination. I’ve taken Amtrak cross-country several times and always enjoy it. I’ve also taken the Grand Canyon Railroad and the Durango and Silverton Narrow gauge, plus the Conway Scenic Railroad up in New Hampshire.
It’s hard to go wrong when you have a story’s setting on a train. There can be romance, intrigue, suspense, robbery, murder… or all of the above and more. What’s more, with the train rolling across the countryside, the scenery and setting changes with each passing mile. Along with the passing of time, it makes for an exciting venue. And a passenger train is the perfect setting for chance meetings, people to find and/or hide from each other, new love to bloom or old love to fade.
A train trip works for almost all genres and time periods (as long as it’s after the railroad was invented, of course). A story can be a contemporary romance, a Victorian murder mystery, or a Western gang of robbers tale… all work well on a train. A train will take your characters from the big city to the rural countryside in the course of a couple of hours. There can be swamps, prairie, mountains, and deserts to cross. There can be trestles over two hundred foot deep canyons, or dark, mile long tunnels. Every author should try at least one train story.
My first Jim Blawcyzk Texas Ranger novel, now under the title Death Stalks the Rails, was set on a train. And trains are important parts of several of my western novels.
So, if I may borrow the timeless conductor’s cry… “All aboard!” You won’t regret it.