UnNews:Amtrak Future Uncertain; Could Be Replaced by Steam Engines
29 April 2006
(Washington, DC) The US government-subsidized railroad system Amtrak could be nearing its demise as it approaches its 35th birthday. Plagued by low ridership, John McCain, unattractive prices, and delayed trains, and even literally the plague, Amtrak is expected to arrive late even for its own birthday on Monday.
A recent proposal to decrease delays by eliminating brakes, which would "make the trains go faster" was opposed by the executive board. Now, the government is threatening to end its subsidies for the beleaguered train system. "We need the money for trains in Iraq instead," explained a White House spokesman.
But David Hughes, Amtrak's acting president (the last president remains hospitalized after a tragic
railroad crossing incident) has an ingenious plan on how to revive the US railroad industry. He says it's time to go back to the good old times. "With today's high electricity prices," he says, "electric trains are doomed for being too costly. But coal is as cheap as ever." At next week's board meeting, he plans on advocating a return to coal-powered steam engines.
A steam engine train can travel up to 10 times slower than an electric one, and cause up to 20 times as much pollution. But tickets could be less than half that of current Amtrak prices, analysts estimate. Plans call for the revival of all 4 railroads found on the Monopoly board. Baltimore residents are ecstatic, learning that they could finally easily travel to tourist hotspot Ohio on the B&O. The small town of Reading, PA, is also excited about the Reading railroad, although they are not quite certain where it would go to.
Hughes touts that the steam engine trains would be far more prevalent than the current Amtrak ones, and that they would be more convenient than cars when going long distances. A trip from New York to San Francisco by car would take an exhausting few days, while a luxurious ride on a steam engine train would be just 48 hours. Asked at a press conference of how the trains could compete against flying on planes, Hughes laughed and responded, "Flying? As in heavier-than-air aircraft? Ludicrous. That's impossible. And you can't fly across the entire country in a hot air balloon; and as for Zeppelins, we all know what happened to the Hindenburg."
Critics say that Amtrak can still be saved, but only if the railroad attempts to mimic those in Europe and Japan. They key, they say, is to find more attractive destinations. "People don't want to go to boring towns like Philadelphia or Providence; why doesn't the Amtrak travel to exciting cities like Paris, Rome, or Tokyo?" argued transportation buff Ian Bertis.
A final decision on Amtrak's future rests with board CEO Thomas The Tank Engine Esq. ; rumors have it he may favor the steam engine idea, as he himself lives off of coal.
- AP "After 35 Years, Amtrak's Future Uncertain" "", April 29, 2006