The Engine also known as The Engine Eternal is the propulsion method of Snowpiercer. The Engine is a perpetual motion machine that propels the train forward without any obvious need for fuel or maintenance. The secondary function of the Engine Eternal is also that of a powerplant for car bogie-motors[1] and on-board batteries. As such, the speed of the train is directly tied to its power supply.

History[edit | edit source]

Little is known about the history of The Engine or its perpetual motion technology. Before developing this class of Engines, there was at least one prototype build[2].

Technology[edit | edit source]

As mentioned previously, the Engine is using an unknown perpetual motion technology while also generating energy. The average speed of the train appears to be around 100km/h or 62mp/h. While perpetual in motion, the maximum speed of the train is 130km/h[1]. While moving through the mountainous Yukon Territory, the Engine was using all of its power to move the train, and little to none energy was left to provide the electricity, as such, the train had to use its onboard batteries.

Mr. Wilford's signature on the blueprint.

When Javier De La Torre suggested slowing down, as such at its current speed Snowpiercer was causing numerous avalanches, Melanie Cavill notes that she cannot allow that, as it would cause blackouts. After the train was hit by Class 3 avalanche, Snowpiercer slowed by 12%, which caused numerous blackouts as the batteries were already nearly depleted. The train also has a "dead-minimum speed" at which it can run; if the Engine slows down, even more, its likely the perpetual motion Engine would cut off. From on-screen evidence, this appears to be about 40-50km/h.

As later revealed by Melanie and Miles, the train becomes slower with each revolution and it is on the Engineers to reverse that "because if Snowpiercer stops, we all die."

Stopping the train for short periods appears to be possible as the train was halted by Big Alice at the end of 994 Cars Long. When stopped, the train remains powered on its on-board batteries.

Interior[edit | edit source]

Snowpiercer's Control Room.

The Engine has two levels. On the first level is a bio-locked[3] compartment, most likely containing the Engine. It's currently unknown if anyone can enter the Engine itself, as it does not use RFID Access Chip technology as other security measures aboard the train. 

Directly above the Engine is the second level, containing living quarters with 4 bunks, which is currently occupied by Melanie Cavill and the trains Control room.  While the train has automatic controls[4], the Control room is usually occupied by one pilot and one engineer during the day and a single pilot during the night.

The pilot has an unrestricted view and access to numerous control systems ranging from speed control and diagnostic panels that alert the pilot to potential issues ahead.

The Control room also servers as an information hub for the entire train[5]. If the train detects a breach or mechanical malfunction, it will alert the Control room operators. 

One of the systems that can be controlled from the Engine is separating sections of the train. However, this is a complicated step and requires two safety switches to be disabled, one on either side of the separation while the Engine has two switches as well that require two operators to work. The switches must have keys turned in them simultaneously to be activated and then the switches themselves must be flipped at the same time to initiate separation of each end of the disconnected section of the train.

Exterior[edit | edit source]

Snowpiercer's plow.

If Snowpiercer encounters extreme obstacles or heavy snow, the Engine can deploy a retractable Plow[6]. When closed, the plow seamlessly retracts into the Engine's hull and does not disturb its aerodynamic design. While deployed, the pilot can change the configuration of the plow to best serve the rough terrain ahead. On top of the Engine is a large spotlight directly above the cockpit. There is also a Wilford Industries logo on the front of the Engine.

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Season One

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Only 7 people so far were seen in the Engine: Melanie Cavill, Bennett Knox, Javier De La Torre, Jinju Seong, Miles, LJ Folger, and Andre Layton.
    • Of this group, only Jinju, LJ, and Layton have not been seen piloting the train.
  • Miles and Layton are the only people to travel the entire length of the train, from the Docking Car, to The Engine. Miles was first, Layton was second.
  • Despite the Engine requiring the perpetual motion to work, the train was stationary at boarding with no issues[2].

Gallery[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

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