The Future of the Railroad

I am in awe of the men in our history who built the railways. This was back in the day when there was no internal combustion engine. There were no cars or trucks. There was no traffic. There was little technology.

These transportation pioneers had the vision of a network of trains to carry goods and people across the vast stretches of North America. In doing so, they built strong countries, and strong economies that are the economic powerhouses in our world today.

When you look at it logically, a railroad is an improbable thing. You need narrow corridors of land between cities. Then you need to cut down a forest to make the railway ties. You need enough iron to crisscross the continent twice with steel ribbons. And you need several million spikes. It was a daunting task, and yet they did it.

These days, the railways are not as important as they once were. Trucking has taken over the movement of goods, because it is much more immediate and a truck can go from door to door. However, I believe that we will see a new incarnation of the railway.

Instead of ribbons of steel crisscrossing the continent, we will have electro-magnetic tunnels in their place. The stuff to be shipped, will not be loaded into railway cars, but into computerized compartments that will fly through these tunnels at incredible speeds. There will be no humans managing this. Computers will be responsible for collision avoidance and routing. There will be no wheels on these compartments and they will not require volatile fuels like gasoline. It will be the greenest way to ship goods across this country and it will be faster than using the highway network, or the congested skies of the airlines.

Companies will actually own their own self-transporting containers, while casual users just rent one for each trip. Because the tunnels are enclosed, you will not see the accidents and derailments that happens with the conventional railway.

This new form of railway will cause havoc in other places though. People throughout the world will wonder why a train is called a choo-choo train because the trains won't make any noise, except the sound of a box whizzing past your head. And "Thomas The Train" will have to be re-written. Nobody will know what a locomotive is. However there is one thing that will remain. If a person gets electrocuted by the new means of shipping, that person will definitely be a conductor.

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