If you’re anything like me, you’re trying more and more ways to find a little bit of goddamn peace and quiet in this era where we’re working, learning, and generally just living from home. And if you’re anything like me, the effort required for a hobby is simply too much. Thankfully, I have an alternative: cab-ride train videos.
I discovered this beautiful subset of YouTube a while ago without realizing it was a niche because I have a lot of friends who are Very Into trains. I am not, but I do appreciate the convenience provided by a well-organized train ride. A few pals would share very relaxing clips of, essentially, what a train would see if a train were a sentient being. These are cab-ride videos.
A recent article in The Washington Post taught me that it’s a whole entire subculture. There are entire channels dedicated to capturing that very specific kind of magic: the ambient clickity-clack of a train on the tracks, the occasional toot of the horn, and the scenery melting from one vista to the next as the train carves its lazy path across the world.
And it’s great. It’s absurdly soothing. I decided to start crocheting because I enjoyed how calm I got watching POV time lapse clips of folks crocheting—but the actual act of undertaking a crochet project loses a little bit of the appeal. I have to put in physical effort, for one, and the process of learning means my brain has to be engaged when I was originally intending to turn the whole damn thing off.
That’s why I’m loving these cab-ride clips. They can range anywhere from a few minutes to a six-day long trip through the Trans-Siberian Railroad that was posted on Russian YouTube but is unavailable in America. It’s like a choose-your-own adventure book that will lull you to sleep and let you get the vicarious sense that you’ve just traveled the world. There’s a full lineup of videos on railcabrides.com, and you can always tune into some live streams on YouTube.
One of my personal favorites is a two-hour video of the Berninabahn, which includes several features, according to the description: “The Bernina railway sets a few records, including being the highest railway alpine crossing in Europe (2253m), the highest adhesion railway of the continent, the open air railway with the greatest height difference (1824m) and furthermore one of the steepest adhesion railways (conventional railway without cogs) worldwide, with gradients of up to 7 percent.” It’s also just great if you like looking at crystal-blue lakes and snow-capped mountains.
As you can imagine, Switzerland is a favorite for these kinds of videos, but so are Asian countries that have long been advocates of high-speed travel, like this one from Taiwan:
But I think one of my newer, personal favorites is this shorter video from the Alishan Forest Railway, also in Taiwan. The tall trees cloaked in mist remind me of the kind of mystical landscapes you only see in fantasy epics like Lord of the Rings.
It’s a holiday weekend. Go on and relax.