Trains have appeared in dreams for as long as they’ve been around, creating some interesting symbolism and numerous interpretations.
In dreams, trains are an intriguing symbol. They are neither positive nor negative signs, it’s the context of the dream and your own feelings and associations with a train that determines the meaning.
When you think of a train, you would normally associate it with going on a trip or a journey, and this can have some compelling connotations when it appears in your dreams.
Here’s everything you need to know.
A Train as a Dream Symbol
How important a train is as a dream symbol can depend on your own associations with trains. For example, if you take a train every day as part of your commute, or if you work with trains in some way, your dream could be more of a reflection of your waking life.
If you don’t think about trains much, or if they’re not really a part of your everyday life, and you dream of trains, this dream has something significant to tell you, something which you should not ignore.
Here’s some overarching symbolism when it comes to trains in dreams, and what they might mean for your dreams.
Your Life Journey and Spirituality
The movement of a train is synonymous with moving forward, which links to your overall journey through life, and how you think things are going.
A sluggish train crawling along the tracks reflects how you feel frustrated or annoyed at your progress, or lack of it.
By contrast, the landscape being just a blur with the speed of the train denotes satisfaction at how much you’ve achieved, or wariness, feeling that time is slipping through your fingers, and life is moving at too fast a pace.
It also has some spiritual connotations. If you dream of a train hitting something on the tracks, or the tracks suddenly ending or breaking apart, you’re experiencing some challenges with your sense of purpose, motivation, or fulfillment.
Pay Attention to Your Surroundings
Trains and railroads are an important part of travelling, and when they were invented, it became much easier to travel across the world in little time, or to transport goods from one country to another.
It changed things, irreversibly.
Trains in dreams can represent connections, between your life and other people’s, outside factors and circumstances which affect your behavior, opinions, chances, and livelihood.
Think about a train. It cannot go anywhere without being connected to tracks, and the same is true for you. You are not an island.
The outside world and all its problems, life-affirming experiences, and people will inevitably affect your behavior and your choices, and you need to look around you.
This dream can come about when you are in denial about how something is affecting you, whether that’s positively or negatively, or how someone else is influencing your behavior or your choices.
It can also occur when you want to reconnect with an old friend, where you’re longing for the nostalgia of the past, and you want that feeling again in the present.
Maybe you want to travel the world, to talk to as many people from different cultures as possible, and experience everything the world has to throw at you.
Think about the carriages of a train. If you see one car disconnected from the rest, this dream can also be a call to reconnect with the people around you. Maybe you’ve been feeling more than a little lonely or isolated lately, and it’s time to do something about it.
Your Natural Talent
A train appearing in your dream can also refer to a skill that comes more naturally to you than others.
The track the train relies on refers to the ease in which you accomplish tasks using this talent or skill, and the speed of the train refers to how well you are currently using it to your advantage.
If the train stops, or it’s moving sluggishly, this means that your natural talent means very little without the intention to act or to put in the work.
While you can scrape by on your natural skill, it doesn’t mean you should do the bare minimum to get there. You’re capable of so much more.
If the train is howling through stations and narrowly missing cars on crossings or people or animals crossing the tracks, this suggests that you need to develop a better plan in order to use your skills to full effect. Your intentions or goal may ‘derail’ without a concrete plan in place.
In dreams, trains can also refer to your specific past and memories, or history in general. It also indicates the effect your past has on your future, where your memories and experiences have shaped your expectations of the future and the people around you.
If you dream of a steam train, this suggests that you long for the past, or you have a great feeling of nostalgia which you are feeding. Remember not to live in the past.
Feeling Out of Control
When they were first invented, trains caused a lot of uncertainty, as the speeds they reached were considered completely unnatural, hurtling along at speeds people weren’t used to.
There were concerns that the speeds a train reached would interfere with the natural rhythm of breathing, and the subsequent vibrations of the train being on the tracks would be harmful.
Dreaming of driving a car directly relates to the idea of control, whilst being a passenger on a train denotes those things you cannot change, or feeling as though you cannot control your life’s path.
If you dream of driving a train, this reflects feelings of ending up in the same place in the future, no matter what you choose now or your intentions. It’s closely linked to your belief in fate and inevitability, and can refer to feeling powerless, too.
Trains are also linked to consistency, where they are always bound to a rigid schedule and fixed journey with the same number of stops. You may feel as though you cannot deviate from a set routine for one reason or another, and it’s making you feel trapped or frustrated.
Things to Consider When Interpreting Your Train Dream
As trains can manifest themselves in your dream in different ways, it’s worth looking at ways you can interpret your dream, as the details can be extremely specific to you, and your own associations and experiences of trains.
Was the Train Actually a Train?
It’s worth pointing out that dream symbols are rarely a literal interpretation to reference the objects they look like. Sometimes it can feel near-impossible to grasp what the symbol actually means to your individual dream, but this, of course, is the nature of dreaming.
The point is that it’s surreal, but it still feels real.
The train may be a pun on ‘to train’, indicating your desire to get better at something, or feeling out of your depth somewhere in waking life. It can reflect your expectations of where you’ll start a new job or chapter in your life, where you’ll need to work to adjust accordingly.
If you dream of missing a train, or your specific stop, this reflects how you feel you’ve missed out on an opportunity in waking life, or you didn’t see a chance for what it was when it crossed your path.
In addition, a train can also refer to the importance of always looking ahead and moving forward. While it’s useful to look at the past occasionally, consider focusing on the present, and what you want out of the future.
The Type of Train
The type of train can also influence the symbolism behind your dream.
Dreaming of sitting in a passenger train, for example, and watching people around you refers to how you want to connect better with others, or how you want to watch the world go by. You desire a better connection to the world around you.
Dreaming of a cargo train suggests that the dream has an important message that you could do with noticing. Perhaps you’re in denial about something.
A freight train appearing in your dream means there is something causing a lot of uncertainty in your life. This may be an undercurrent of feeling incapable of something.
If the freight train plows into the middle of an unrelated setting where it has no business being, like your workplace, it indicates that this cause for concern is undermining your performance at work.
A steam train reflects a longing for the past, or looking back on fond memories. You want things to be the way they used to be, or you may wish to reconnect with someone in your past.
If you dream of shoveling coal to feed the train, this points to your hard work, and how this can make an incredible difference to your life. You get out what you put in.
Alternatively, you’re focusing too much on work, and other areas of your life could use your attention. Maybe you’re working too hard.
Where was the Train Taking You?
Another question to ask yourself is where the train was taking you in this dream, if there was a destination in mind at all.
If the dream wasn’t focused on a destination and just the journey, this suggests that you need to concentrate on your efforts now, in order to make the future a little easier for yourself.
Dreaming of waiting for your stop, or having a concrete destination in mind, refers to your desires for the future. You have a clear idea of what you want to do, or who you want to be.
If you manage to get off at the right stop, this reflects how the hard work you put in now will help you towards your goal.
If the train takes you somewhere wildly different, or you end up in a different country entirely to where you wanted to be, this suggests that your end goal will lead you somewhere unexpected, on a completely different path to what you originally planned for.
Common Train Dreams and Their Meanings
Waiting at a Train Station
Dreaming of waiting at a train station reflects waking life, where you’re waiting for something to happen. This dream is telling you that you should be more assertive in life.
Don’t fall into the trap of just waiting for things to fall into your lap. Go out and make them happen.
If a train hurtles through the station without stopping, this is your subconscious urging you to take control of your life. Don’t let it pass you by. Or, this suggests that you’re in danger of missing an important opportunity or something obvious, which will help you in the near future.
Following Train Tracks
Following train tracks on foot within your dream refers to your faith and perseverance, and considering the future and all its possibilities. You have a clear idea in your mind of what you want your life to look like.
You are planning meticulously for a project, or within your career, and you’ve tried to consider every avenue possible. As a result, you feel certain about where you will end up, and what it will take to get there.
A Train Crossing
Dreaming of waiting for barriers to rise at a train crossing reflects how you’re in a situation for the long haul, and this may be good or bad. Your subconscious may be urging you to readjust your plans or priorities as necessary.
A train crossing appearing in your dream embodies frustration, especially if you see flashing red lights warning you not to try to cross the tracks. You feel as though you’re getting nowhere, despite your best efforts or best intentions.
If you dream of a stop sign, this dream is warning against your current course of action, a specific coping mechanism or habit you’ve fallen into. It may have more repercussions than you might expect.
Dreaming of a Steam Train Filling the Station with Smoke
Dreaming of a steam train charging past a platform and filling the station or platform with smoke is an interesting image.
It mirrors bewilderment in waking life, usually as a result of missing the point of something, a missed opportunity, or a situation that turned out completely differently than how you expected it to go.
You may need to turn to an unexpected source to regain your perspective, or wait for the situation to diffuse itself before making any significant choices.
Dreaming of Watching People on a Train
If you dream of sitting on a train, and watching the people around you, this refers to how you want a better connection with people in waking life.
If the people on the train were strangers, this reflects your desire to get to know yourself better, as strangers in a dream are typically projections of aspects of your personality.
Consider the appearance and the behavior of the people on the train, as this can relate to how you’re subconsciously feeling.
Dreaming of exhausted or bedraggled people on a train mirrors how you’re in danger of burning out in an aspect of waking life, or a lack of motivation.
A Train Carriage Full of Monsters
If you dream of a nightmare train carrying monsters, or you’re commuting to work and notice that those around you aren’t human, this is an anxiety dream.
Worries and concerns from waking life have followed you into your dream, and it mirrors how you feel under pressure, or disconnected from other people.
Alternatively, dreaming of a train full of monsters represents your fear or distrust of people. Perhaps it’s time you learned to place your faith in them once more.
Blocked Train Tracks
If you dream of delays on a train journey due to obstacles on the tracks, this can be a warning dream.
Your subconscious expects trouble ahead, where you’ll face a tricky situation which may cloud your judgment. You will make choices based on how you feel, rather than what you think you should do to resolve a situation.
It can reflect waking life, too, if you’re already in the middle of an emotionally-charged situation. This dream is urging you to be careful about how you approach this situation, as it may need more of a delicate touch than what you’re inclined to give it.
Consider the nature of the objects on the track, and what they might mean to you. If they are easy to move away from the path of the train, you’ll easily solve the problems in your way.
If they are extremely heavy, such as a boulder, or a truck, or a tree, you may need some assistance in moving forward, and this can also signify your reluctance to do so.
If the objects don’t relate to the surroundings in your dream, you will encounter some unexpected difficulties. How easily you deal with these objects reflects how easy or difficult they will be to move past in waking life.
Dreaming of distorted or buckled tracks ahead of the train suggests that your current plans or approach will not succeed, or land you where you want to be. You may need to adjust your plans accordingly.
If you dream of someone standing in the tracks, in the path of the train, this reflects that someone in your waking life is holding you back, or clouding your judgment.
Alternatively, if the person is a stranger, this dream implies that you are your own worst enemy. You are engaging in destructive habits or self-sabotaging behavior, and it will take a while to pull yourself back together.
Dreaming of a Train Wreck
Dreaming of a train wreck can be a stressful experience. It can be a direct manifestation of how you feel life is going right now. You feel things have spun out of control, and you don’t have the slightest idea of how to approach things in order to fix them.
A train wreck appearing in your dream also refers to your fears concerning the future. The uncertainty it holds is less than ideal, and it’s causing you to be much more nervous than you should be.
Model or Toy Trains
Dreaming of a model train set refers to needing a better perspective on life or how you think things are going, or your future plans. It may be time to get another point of view.
If you dream of toy trains, this can refer to your immaturity, or how you are currently only concerned with your own feelings instead of looking at the bigger picture in front of you.
Feeling happy when you see a train set in your dream refers to childhood happiness, and the dream is also drawing your attention to the importance of finding joy within the little things of everyday life.