On the Orion Express

The Wayrail! Every advanced steam-using civilisation in the Galaxy is connected to it. A vast interstellar transportation network carrying the passengers, goods and mail of the Galaxy.

The Orion Express cosmic steam locomotive

The Orion Express cosmic steam locomotive

When the Builders trundled their Tracklayer into Sol system, humans had been crossing the aether between planets for nearly a century in their steam-powered aetherships, but no-one had imagined anything like the great loop of diamond-hard rail track strung around the Sun between the orbits of Jupiter and Saturn. At various points, junctions came off the ring and headed out, disappearing into Railspace to emerge at other stars.

When the Solar Terminus ring was finished, the Builders left a message for the Empire of the third planet, sometimes called Earth or Tellus, announcing that the station was open for business and inviting Mankind to build and operate locomotives on their completed track.

And so humans descended upon an unsuspecting Galaxy…



A cosmic steam locomotive running on an interstellar hyperspace railroad. Even for steampunk, we’re in strange territory.


I could pull the excuse that as a genre, steampunk operates on Rule of Cool, not physics. When it comes right down to it, very few steampunk creations would work in the real world; coal-fired steam power just isn’t efficient enough to power the monstrous walkers or massive land-dreadnoughts of real steampunk, and there is no lifting-gas, not hydrogen and certainly not helium, that could lift the armoured airships which are nearly standard.

No matter. This is steampunk. A willing suspension of disbelief is required.

No, the excuse I’m going to use for the insanity of a steam railroad through hyperspace is that this is LEGO. We imagine the unthinkable, and then try to build it.


This, then, is my cosmic steam locomotive, the Orion Express. Yes, that is an “Orient Express” reference. It’s microscale; I’m imagining that the phantom track on which it rides is something like a 37 1/2 ft gauge, making one stud length a little over six feet for scale.

The tender could really do with another axle in the middle, but I only have two of that size of wheel mount, so it’s not happening. And you’ll have to imagine the goliath four-storey carriages, too.




10 thoughts on “On the Orion Express

  1. Pingback: On the Orion Express — Square Feet | Cogpunk Steamscribe

  2. Luke Skytrekker

    This. Is. Brilliant. So, so brilliant.
    I would honestly love to see what kind of a universe you could get out of this idea. The idea of an interstellar steampunk hyperspace railway, or even any interstellar railway is just… Yeah, brilliant. I’m already a sucker for steampunk, but my love of trains and fantastical spaciness just makes this… Oh, man so perfect.
    On a less gushy note, lovely build. The overshadowed greebling (especially the turbine) looks excellent, and the whole design is quite nice.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. geoffhorswood Post author

        I noticed. I’m still in two minds about posting it over there, partly because I’m so in two minds about the LMBs in general, and partly because it’s at best only tangentially a LEGO story.
        It may even get posted here, if I decide I want to do that. My “dawn of Classic Space” story will definitely start over there once “World of Iron” finishes, but that’s definitely a LEGO story.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Luke Skytrekker

        Yeah, all of my stories over there were always only tangentially Legoian (and that’s stretching it), which is why I basically stopped sharing them over on the LMBs. Have you ever heard of Wattpad? If I ever decide to share a story on the internet again, I’d probably use that. Posting it here would work just as well, though.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. geoffhorswood Post author

        Wattpad, eh? Hmm, I may do that. I already have two WordPress blogs, which I believe is the limit before you have to start paying for the privilege, and I don’t really want to turn Square Feet into a story platform.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Luke Skytrekker

        There’s actually no limit, from what I understand—I have around a dozen or so and I don’t pay a cent. 😛 I literally have one that’s just reserving a really cool URL for a project I never actually made (feel a little guilty about that). Unless they changed it, you only pay for special themes and URLs. Wattpad would probably reach a larger audience, though, and it has the benefit of being a platform built directly for storytelling.

        Liked by 1 person

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