Un-Raveling the Symbolic Meaning of Trains

Trains are very prominent in my dreams, however, once in while something shifts, and rather then a train appearing as my transportation a bus will appear to take me to my next connection point. Which makes me feel as if I am on a never ending search for my destination (where ever that may be). But it is the trains that appear for me as if they are longing for me to wake up and “see” what I am missing, a connection from lives past or a meaning deeper then I have ever thought to explore. My dreams are never as simple as I long them to be, but the complexity of them serves the purpose of my existence. While I was young I was deeply sad, a dark night of the soul in waking life. It has always been my dreamtime that I relied on for survival and happiness. It is the traveling, the long mysterious journey’s in my dreaming realm, in which I am allowed to roam free and unravel the unknown world as it was meant to be discovered. Are trains the meaning to my feeling of roaming free?

During my journeys within the dream realm, I am able to walk for hours, days, and weeks wandering the lands of many country sides, traveling down a path to what I hope to be a final destination. Some nights I will happen upon train stations hoping to catch a train. Many times I am never able to catch a train or when I am able to I seem to happen upon the wrong train that is usually going in the wrong direction, leaving me to go back to start all over. However, some of my train dreams leave me wandering around a train station searching and waiting… waiting for a train, searching for someone, and wandering around until someone approaches me and decides to guide me in a direction. What leaves me wondering most about these dreams are the people, the souls, moving around the train stations and on the trains. These dreams, that seem to leave me in a very light breathing state in waking life, have a presence of death & dying symbolism.

Recently, I finished reading the book Dreaming Beyond Death: A Guide to Pre-Death Dreams and Visions by Kelly Bulkeley & Rev. Patricia Bulkley. Over the past few days I had many Aha! moments connecting the dots and making some sense of my own nightly dreams that have left me in a tail spin over several years.

I have always known that Trains, Cars, Buses, Boats represent transportation, they represent a part of the total Self. But it is the explanation that I read in Dreaming Beyond Death when the authors spoke of Cars that gave me a sense of finally fitting a piece of my dream puzzles together. They explained the symbol of a car through metaphor, while translating a dream of a dreamer who was at the end of their life. And this is what I came to realize for myself:

The train is a metaphor for me personally as my true Self traveling. For me, it is a means to an end, a transport through my journey. But in my dreams, with my greater connection to death, trains also represent the journey for those who are dead – a metaphor for souls both dead in waking, dead in limbo, and the spirits residing in the afterlife. When I dream of being on a train with a bunch of people, we can always see each other, but I always notice that I can see right through them. In a way they feel like zombies to me, they are trying to get somewhere, they are searching for their destination; they are wandering but stuck in this one place, on this one train. If I ask them a question they have the answer for me as if they were guided to point me in the right direction. However, they never speak to me on the trains or in the train stations. If I am not supposed to arrive at the end of a particular train dream, someone will always push me off at a stop even if I did not want to get off.

Some trains I am searching for someone, sometimes I know them and sometimes I do not. I have come to understand that if I know them and I can not reach them, then upon waking I always realize that it is someone who is still alive – an friend (new or old) or a family member who wishes me to make contact with them. If I do not know them I usually find them, they have called for me to help them and they are happy when I locate them. They are usually lost and need some type of guidance. Under these circumstances I find myself holding the hand of this stranger, who appears to have passed, and I am guiding them; together we are on a train. When I travel with a stranger many times there are no words if they are ready to cross over into the light, if they are not ready there are many tears and we communicate telepathically.  Whether they are ready to move on or not, before the final destination I am asked to get off. I am not allowed to go with them any further and I am left at a random train station all along amongst a crowd of souls / people, some rushing pass me some wandering around like zombies. From fitting all the pieces together I realized after all these years that they could not allow me to go with them to the end of the line. It was not my time to move on. I had to stay and continue on until I arrived at my final destination. For me the train represents the passage way from birth to death, and all the stops in between are moments of life.

The following is one of my train dreams:

I was walking on a sandy gravel road with a crowd of people towards this “make-shift like” train station. I was walking away from a landscape of forestry terrain with a vast blue body of water in the far distance. I did not know the people I was walking with.. at least they were not ‘familiar’ to me. We were walking as if we were inside a clear bubble… each step we took, towards the run-down train station, we took together in-sync. The sun was shining brightly, however, the sky was more of a fog color rather than a normal day light blue color.

The train station felt as if it was all open (except there was a ceiling, one wall at the other side in front of us, and one wall to the left of us). The train station was a rusty iron color and the space was very small. There were three platforms. We walked up towards one of the platforms that was long and narrow in depth. As we stood on this platform I looked down and noticed that there were two tracks located very close to the platforms.

“Be careful.” I heard someone say to me. “Stay still when standing on the platform and do not get to close to the edge. This is very hard to do since there are so many people and the platforms are so old and rickety.”

I nodded and thanked the person but I could not tell who spoke to me since the station was so crowed. “But why?” I responded telepathically. “Why are these platforms and tracks made this way? Aren’t people scared of getting hit by the train?”

“People get hit all the time. Just make sure it is not you.” The voice was very mater of fact.

I wondered to myself where I was going and why I was here at this place. I looked around at everyone, the crowd; I felt as though I was supposed to know some of the people since I traveled to this spot with them.

“The train is coming!!!” Someone suddenly yelled out. Everyone started scurrying to a platform hoping it was going to be their train that was arriving. I felt lost and I had a shiver of fear shake through me. I hurried to a platform where the others I had arrived with were.

“Stand back!” someone shouted at me.

“Oh shit!”  Someone else yelled out as they fell off the platform. Then others began falling off and quickly jumping back on to the platform closes to them. The train rumbled closer and louder. The rumble of the train, the shakiness of the platform, the strange souls that surrounded me made me very nervous.

The train came through fast and stopped with a sudden halt. I hurried to get on but someone stopped me pushing me out of the way of the train door.

“No this is not your train. Wait.”

I looked up but everyone’s face looked blurred. “But I thought I was on the right platform.” I called out.

“You never really know if your on the right platform. You really just have to guess and hope for the best. But don’t get on, just wait. The your train will come along eventually.”

I stood and watched everyone else pass me by and get on the train. I let them rush by me, rush through me, I refused to move out of their way. I longed to get on the train. I watched everyone push each other on the other platforms. I watched in awe as people continuously fell off on to the tracks. The train started up again and as it began to move forward it disappeared. I looked to my left.. I looked to the opposite direction from which it came from. I noticed that the tracks stopped right at the stations wall …so really, I thought to myself, the train can not go anywhere. At this moment it did not seem to concern me that the train went nowhere. It must go somewhere and I wanted to go to that somewhere. I jumped down onto the track and jumped up on the middle platform. I hoped the next train would come to this track and be the train that was meant for me.

Again, I observed as people pushed and hurried around falling and jumping to and from the tracks. After what felt like a few hours I decided to go back to the first platform and wait. As I jumped down onto the track someone yelled “Train coming!”. Everyone hurried around in a panic. My heart was beating so fast. I did not know how close the train was and I needed to get back up to the platform. As I scrambled to pull myself up, just in the nick of time, someone held out their hand and pulled me up. My black wallet fell out onto the track. I turned to go after it. 

“No it is too late! Do not reach for it.” A voice said to me.  I felt very upset but I knew that if I went for it the train would hit me. I pulled back and fell into the crowd. The train appeared in a quick flash.

As soon as the train stopped I heard a random voice say, “I think a few people were hit this time.”

My heart sank but I saw nothing. Once the doors opened, people scrambled, pushed, and pull off and on the train once the doors opened. I peered in, hoping to be pushed on board but I heard a voice say,“This is not your train.” My heart sank even deeper. I feared being left viewing the dead bodies on the tracks.

Again the doors closed, and as the train started up again going forward it just disappeared out of sight into nowhere.

I felt death, I smelled death, but I could see no death as I looked around. “Why can’t I see the dead people?” I asked out loud.

“We are all dead.”

The moment I heard this  my wallet appeared in one piece still sitting on the track. I was so relieved. I jumped down and grabbed it, then jumped up on the middle platform. I decided I would wait on this track for the train this time.  I looked around me. There were still so many people, it seemed as thought no one ever really got on the trains when they arrived. 

I looked down towards the direction the trains came from… a deep dark tunnel of nothingness. I looked out towards the way I came into the station and I could see a line of thick green trees and the vast ocean both in the far distance. I looked at the sandy dusty road I walked in on and I knew I did not want to go back down that road. So I stood and waited. Train after train came and disappeared again….and I continued to wait for my train. As people were getting hit by trains, faces of saddness began to became familiar.

An eerie & creepy feeling bubbled up within me as I waited. I just wanted to get out, be on my way and be free.

I woke up.

I have dreamt of trains for most of my life; I have dreamt of connection dreams serving a purpose to help point me in the right direction. For years I wondered and researched why it was that I become lost, searching desperately for the right train, the right route, the right station. Why for years sometimes I would get on the train and soon after get off even if it was not my stop. Why for years I traveled on a train long and far just to reach a soul who has called for me? For years, I let my dreams guide me accepting the way the train dreams appeared for me. I had even discovered in my mid twenties that one of my more recent past lives dealt with me as an owner of one of the greatest railroads out of New York City. And I wonder can our past lives factor in, provoke, seep in, create & design what we dream presently? (I do believe this statement to hold truth in it – but this truth will be expressed and explained in another article / blog posting in the near future.)

But recently, by reading Dreaming Beyond Death, I finally put some big pieces of my train dreams together. I found a deeper understanding to what the train represented. Now instead of going along for the ride and letting my train dreams guide me, I have shifted within myself and in waking life I view these train dreams differently. So now that I am shifting my perspective, finding answers, putting the pieces of these particular dreams together… I am excited to find out what will happen following these waking life revelations. I am excited to go to sleep and be whisked out of my physical body to my next train destination.

…..Until my next train dream appears…..To Be Continued.  

Related article about train dreams: Trains & Healing

5 thoughts on “Un-Raveling the Symbolic Meaning of Trains

  1. I had a disturbing dream last night…a train (engine car) smashed through the wall of my house…from the inside…and left a gaping hole. I tried frantically to find something big enough to patch the hole but was unable. I woke up feeling helpless and confused.

  2. Thank you John for sharing your dream. The train may represent the transportation you were using to arrive at a particular or current destination. Smashing through the wall may represent the speed at which you are trying to arrive. Your house represents the foundation of your whole being. What may be causing you to frantically cover up or patch up in your life? Would love to explore this more with you. Please visit: http://www.ispeakindreams.com/8.html
    Blessings, Meredith

  3. Thank you Meredith. As I thought about your reply I was reminded of one of my favorite quotes by Rumi: “The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” That gaping hole represents a wound in my house (life) but it also let in an incredible amount of light.

    As a day trader (train?) I recently suffered a huge loss in my trading account. I attribute this to being greedy (speed?) and undisciplined in my trading. This has taken a tremendous toll on me emotionally and will likely take some time to recover my losses.

    This might not be the full interpretation but I am no longer upset about the dream.

  4. Hi John, Thank you for your feedback. Makes sense, and sometimes dreams do not need a full interpretation – as in this one, you are aware you have made the connection, and your intuition knows the meaning. Beautiful quote from Rumi.

    The most important knowledge to have about interpreting your own dreams is that…. your intuitive self already knows. Upon first awakening the translation is being spoken to you by your soul, do not awaken your ego or any fear, but rather only awaken your true self to listen to what is being said.

    Blessings to your days ahead, and you may be warmed in the glow of this new light shining through. I suggest placing a window there. ~Meredith

  5. Love your suggestion about the window! All this morning I’ve been humming that old Fifth Dimension chorus: “Let the sunshine, let the sunshine, let the sunshine in.”

    Bless you Meredith,

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