A Traction Fortress (sometimes referred to as a Traction Castle) was a class of large, heavily armoured military vehicle used for transport and combat in the early Traction Era. They were commonly used by the armies of various polities, particularly the Nomad Empires. A Scriven-controlled Traction Fortress known as the Barbican was used by Auric Godshawk's ancestors. The Movement also operated at least two Traction Fortresses.

Traction fortress

A Traction Fortress of the Arkangelsk nomads, as depicted by Phillip Reeve himself

It is likely that Traction Fortresses were the conceptual ancestor of the later Traction Cities. When the first Traction City was built, the army brought against it by Nicola Quercus's enemies included Traction Fortresses, but they were destroyed in battle with their larger and more powerful opponent. They had long become obsolete by the time of Mortal Engines.

Notable Traction FortressesEdit

The BarbicanEdit

The Barbican was a Traction Fortress controlled by the Scriven two hundred years before the events of Fever Crumb. When the Scriven invaded London, they drove the fortress onto the summit of Ludgate Hill and removed its wheels and engines. It then became the seat the Scriven kings of London, and still stood over the city after the rise of the Skinner's Guild.

The Barbican was likely to have been torn down along with the rest of London when it was rebuilt as a Traction city.

Quercus's Traction FortressEdit

This unnamed Traction Fortress was the vehicle of choice for Land-Admiral Quercus, from which he commanded the armies of The Movement. It was a wheeled vehicle around a hundred feet tall whose external features included spires, turrets and gun emplacements. It was armoured in timber and metal and painted with white dazzle-patterns, presumably to provide camouflage when moving through The Ice Wastes.

It was originally a simple ox-drawn wagon for the chieftain of The Movement; over the years, it grew progressively bigger and accumulated multiple decks, and became powered by large engines as well as regiments of slaves walking on large treadmills. The Fortress also carried a long-aged tree towards its stern, originally taken from the Arctic Oak Forests.

The Fortress was present when The Movement conquered London; it was likely dismantled along with the city during the rebuilding of London into the first Traction City.


Another Traction Fortress operated by The Movement, commanded by Rufus Raven. See the full article for more information.

See alsoEdit

  • Landship, another large military vehicle in use during the same time period.
  • Traction City, the successor to the Traction Fortress.