- "Train Train Take Us Away. Take Us Away Far Away. To the Future We Will Go. Where It Leads No One Knows."
- —Selphie singing
Rail transportation (大陸横断鉄道, Tairikuoudantetsudou?, lit. "Transcontinental Railroad") is the main method to travel across the world of Final Fantasy VIII, until the party obtain either the mobile Garden or Ragnarok.
This particularly applies for moving between Balamb and the Galbadian Continent. The towns of Timber, Dollet, and Deling City are all accessible by rail, and the D-District Prison and Galbadia Garden are within a short walk from stations. There is also a connection between Timber and Esthar on the Horizon Bridge, going through Fishermans Horizon, although this line is disused.
Regardless of distance between stops, the charge for using the rail service is 3,000 gil. The player can continue to use the train system at any point within the game until disc 4.
Rail travel is used five times during the story. After graduation, the first SeeD mission is based in Timber, and the train is required to get there. During the journey Squall, Zell and Selphie have a strange experience where they dream about Laguna, but recover shortly before arrival.
Their mission in Timber is train-based, which involves hijacking President Vinzer Deling's carriage by uncoupling the train cars around the target. Afterward the party leave Timber by rail, heading towards the East Academy Station near Galbadia Garden. After the events in the Garden, the party travel to Deling City by train. The last use of the train is on disc 2, when the SeeD members travel back to Balamb to warn about the missiles fired at Balamb Garden.
Forest Owls' BaseEdit
- Main article: Forest Owls
The Forest Owls' base is a yellow train engine with a skull and crossbones print near the front. The inside of the train has a similar layout to most conventional engines with the back-most cabin being converted into a room for Rinoa Heartilly. The cabin on the lowest level is used as a meeting/planning room, with a table and a board. The other cabins remain the same as they had been designed (control cabin and boarding cabins).
With a blue and grey color scheme these trains are the primary type seen racing around the globe as civilian transports pulling groups of passenger carriages along. Powered by a turbine mechanism, their cars' coloring differs depending on the travel region. Usually the train is comprised of four cars.
In some trains SeeD have special cabins designated for private use. The cabin includes a large couch and two bunks as well as providing entertainment for long journeys, such as magazines.
Rollcars and MonorailsEdit
Trains and monorails are predominantly seen traveling through Timber. Composed of three cars each, the roll cars are given a flush and crisp design, while the monorails have more curved appearances. Local residents coming and going from the TV station make use of the roll car lines.
- Main article: Doomtrain
Doomtrain is a train-type Guardian Force. Similar to a ghost train, the Doomtrain appears and disappears into thin air and several issues of Occult Fan magazine make mention of it and its appearances.
Train Stations are dotted throughout the country of Galbadia with some located within towns/cities while others are solitary, located in various areas of wilderness. While most are in varying degrees of operation there are one or two that have fallen in disrepair due to lack of use, the most extreme examples of this being in Fishermans Horizon and the station near the Great Salt Lake, which have both been abandoned, due to the Sorceress War and Esthar's self-imposed "silence" thereafter.
Far East Galbadia StationEdit
A solitary train station in Galbadia for embarking and disembarking Galbadia Garden students. The station has a direct link to Deling City and is a constant site of students waiting for trains or simply "hanging out" after a hard day of school.
- Dollet Station - Near Dollet
- Desert Prison Station - Near D-District Prison
- Seaside Station - Near the Great Salt Lake
- East Academy Station - Between Timber and Galbadia Garden
- Far East Station - Next to Galbadia Garden
- An unused segment for the train ride to Timber where Squall, Zell and Selphie don't use the SeeD cabin and fall asleep exists as dummied content. In it, Selphie plans to check out the other cars and Zell keeps active, his intention to "warm up" for the upcoming mission. Squall is exasperated by his comrades' behaviour but keeps his feelings to himself, sarcastically noting that at least he won't get bored with these two around.
- Another unused line has Zell marvelling at the train, saying the transcontinental trainline goes around the world and they could go on an around-the-world trip on the train if they wanted to. This line was likely removed as the trains don't actually go around the world.