That Hell-Bound Train

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"That Hell-Bound Train"
Author Robert Bloch
Language English
Genre(s) Fantasy
Published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction
Publication type magazine
Publisher Mercury Publications
Media type Print (Softcover)
Publication date Sep 1958

"That Hell-Bound Train" is an award-winning fantasy short story by American writer Robert Bloch. It was originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction in September 1958.


Martin is a young criminal with a fondness for trains. One night, as he is considering whether to abandon crime, a large unmarked black train pulls up beside him. The train conductor offers Martin anything he wants, in return for which he will "ride that Hell-Bound Train" when he dies. Martin requests the power to stop time, which he plans to use at the happiest time of his life. The conductor accedes to this request; however, over the years that follow, Martin discovers that he cannot choose which moment is his happiest. In the end, he dies, never having stopped time, and indeed boards the train. However, he likes the sinful look of the passengers and chooses to stop time then and there. The train never reaches the depot and Martin, now the brakeman, finally finds happiness.


"Train" won the Hugo Award for Best Short Story in 1959.[1] Comic Book Resources has described it as "a classic deal-with-the-devil tale with a nice twist at the end".[2]

In other media[edit]

A comic book version of the story began publication on May 15, 2011. The adaptation was written by Joe R. Lansdale and John Lansdale, with art by Dave Wachter. Running for 3 issues, it was published by IDW Comics.

The song "Hellbound Train (Downbound Train)" by Chuck Berry is about a similar train.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ SF Awards Database
  2. ^ Lansdales and Wachter jump aboard That Hellbound Train, by Bridget Alverson, at Comic Book Resources; published March 25, 2011; retrieved January 6, 2017

External links[edit]