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The Smoke Stack

Agatha Christie’s Fondness for Trains

Posted on December 21, 2017

By Beth Scanlon

“Trains are relentless things, aren’t they, Monsieur Poirot? People are murdered and die, but they go on just the same. I am talking nonsense, but you know what I mean.” So Agatha Christie wrote in one of her popular Hercule Poirot detective novels, The Mystery of the Blue Train.

While Murder on the Orient Express may be the most well known of her novels to incorporate a train, it is by no means the only one to do so. The novel 4:50 from Paddington and the short story The Girl in the Train also contain trails and rails.

Ms. Christie was long fascinated with and inspired by trains. In her autobiography, she wrote, “Trains have always been one of my favorite things. It is sad nowadays that one no longer has engines that seem to be one’s personal friends.”

The Orient Express had been running for seven years by the time Ms. Christie was born in 1890. Noting how it was something upon which she wanted to ride her whole life, the Orient Express was especially captivating to her. Agatha Christie finally accomplished her life long goal of riding the Express for the first time in 1928.

To Ms. Christie, trains were the perfect place to observe people and take notes to create fictional characters. In her autobiography, she states, “Trains are wonderful; I well adore them. To travel by train is to see nature and human beings, towns and churches and rivers – in fact, to see life.”

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