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In the opening third of Solo, the protagonists are involved in

a train heist. They do this by uncoupling a car from the rest of the train and flying off with it.

The group is mostly together, except for

Val, who is mining a bridge the train would later pass over. Which if the plan goes off successfully the group is gone before the bridge is reached. If the plan isn't successful, they blow up their take. Her separation from the group results in her death as she blows the bridge.

What was the point of that action during this event? I imagine the logic behind the event is explained more in a tie-in book, or I otherwise missed in the movie.

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  • The tie-in book is released today, along with a partial-adaptation titled Train Heist. If it's not in the films there may be a better answer in one of those two.
    – Edlothiad
    Commented May 25, 2018 at 6:29
  • @Edlothiad - There's nothing in the Train Heist book that explains her actions or role
    – Valorum
    Commented Jun 9, 2018 at 19:06

2 Answers 2

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Each car on the train consists of an upper and lower container, which are connected. While the cars can be decoupled from the one in front of and behind it, the only way to decouple the upper/lower pair to lift it from the track appears to be by moving it off the rail. Presumably this can be done at a station, but as we don't see a station in the movie, their best bet to grab it while on the move then was to remove the track themselves via the explosives, so that it could be lifted away freely.

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  • What's the point of getting it off the rails if you've already flown off with the car you've stolen? (Based on the information given in the OQ)
    – Edlothiad
    Commented May 25, 2018 at 6:30
  • 3
    @Edlothiad You can't fly off if it's still attached to the car beneath it and the rail. Destroying the rail is how you fly off with it.
    – Mwr247
    Commented May 25, 2018 at 6:33
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    @Edlothiad I don't think they did. I seem to recall that they flew away with the top half of the car just after it goes past the end of the track. The car needed to be decoupled horizontally and vertically, the vertical decoupling happened with the disappearance of the track. Basically, the whole car is coupled around the track.
    – user71418
    Commented May 25, 2018 at 6:33
  • As I said, I was basing all my information off that which was given in the Original Question.
    – Edlothiad
    Commented May 25, 2018 at 6:44
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According to the film's official novelisation, the train isn't just riding on the conveyex rail, it's actually wrapped around it. Unless the upper part of the train is explosively decoupled from the lower part and the bridge severed, it's not actually possible to pull the car they want into the sky.

“Here it comes,” Beckett said as if he hadn’t heard Han. He handed the scope to Val. Over their shoulders, in the dusk, Han could barely see the streak of an armored freight carrier pulled by a heavy-duty drive chain. It had three sections: engine, supply cars, and caboose. Han could just tell there was a turret-mounted cannon atop the caboose. It had an over–under design, with cars both sitting on top and hanging beneath the tracks. As the train snaked around the mountain, it shuddered and thundered on high trestles, knocking loose snow and rock as it passed close to the cliff edges.
Beckett pointed, his hand on Val’s shoulder. “We hit the conveyex between the tower and the bridge, Rio drops us in, we separate the payload container, hook it up to the AT-hauler—”
“Rio jams their distress signal,” Val said, taking up the narrative, “I blow the bridge, the payload slides off the track, and we sail away.”
She spoke casually, as if she were giving directions to the cantina.

Solo: A Star Wars Story: Expanded Edition

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