In an action film, the hero climbed on top of a fast moving train, then jumped forwards from one carriage to the next to get to the front of the train. Is it possible in real life, and whats the physics behind it?

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In an action film, the hero climbed on top of a fast moving train, then jumped forwards from one carriage to the next to get to the front of the train. Is it possible in real life, and whats the physics behind it?

In: Engineering

Yes, that’s possible. You are moving at the same speed as the train you’re on. You can move forward simply by walking or jumping, which increases your speed relative to the train. (This is the same principle as walking inside the train.) Now standing on top of a fast-moving train you would be hit by a lot of air resistance making movement more difficult, and even small movements from the train could make you lose your footing–that’d be the real danger.

If it was a slower moving train it would be possible, just because it’s not going that fast.

However, on an actual fast train the wind would easily blow you away.

Yes it’s possible. The only thing making it difficult would be the rushing air pushing you back.

A side issue: what is almost never possible is jumping onto a moving train from the ground. I know several people–one a highly athletic ballerina–who lost a foot or both legs trying to jump onto a moving train. You can’t jump faster than the train, even though it’s moving slowly at the station. you will fall and your legs will be crushed under the wheels.