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Midnight Express

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For the book, see Midnight Express (book).

The Midnight Express is a nightly train that runs through the Shadowlands, the Tempest, and Stygia in Wraith: The Oblivion. It is one of the few available means of transportation in the Shadowlands, and is considered among the "safest", as it is run by the Ferrymen and is generally free from the political machinations of the Hierarchy. The Ferrymen frequently take advantage of its popularity to tell wraiths of the benefits of Transcendence.

The Midnight Express as it is currently known was created on August 10, 1887 when a train crashed into a culvert. The second engine of the train, No. 13, its engineer Gabriel McClintlock, and its conductor J.W. Stillwell, were put into service by the Ferrymen when the wraiths and the relic engine arrived in the Shadowlands.

The current configuration of the Express is lead by the still pristine No. 13, and followed by a number of cars, all relics from notable accidents in the Skinlands and bearing the marks of its destruction, from algae and mold in cars that were submerged and drowned their passengers to scorch marks and smoky odors in cars that were lit on fire. Each car has its own origin and quirks; among the more famous are a salon and dining car from the Orient Express, a boxcar used to transport Jews to Dachau during the Holocaust that was burned by the Nazis, a 1956 circus car that was full of clowns when it crashed into a flooded river, a caboose that jumped the tracks in Canada, and other miscellaneous rail-bound sites of horror and death.

The physics of the actual train defy conventional description. The train arrives at each stop at exactly 12:00 a.m, and departs three minutes later. If there is more than one stop in the time zone (such as New York City and Atlanta), it manages to stop at both of them anyway at the same time. At each station, only one car is accessible for boarding and disembarking; the other cars can be seen, but only faintly as though they barely existed. As long as a wraith is on the platform at midnight, they will be allowed on board.

Stillwell, the conductor, directs each wraith to the car they need to be in to disembark after the train starts up again. Transportation is free, but specially requested stops, food and drink, and first-class service all require payment.

The Midnight Express also plays a major role in the "Last Dance Macabre" chapter of Ends of Empire.


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