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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 7, Issue 2 (June 1, 1932)

The Iron Horse, or Loco-moke, of To-morrow

The Iron Horse, or Loco-moke, of To-morrow.

Life is a perpetual moving-day, and perhaps the only permanency is the permanent way. The permanent way is
“The train of to-morrow.”

“The train of to-morrow.”

page 51 permanent because, like bread and breath, it is a primary essential of existence. The egotists of the air will have their fly and die, because they seek to found fact without foundation. They will continue for a space to span space and play “wings” with their playthings, but the railway train is more concerned with solid facts than airy notions. It is built, not for an age, but for the ages; its principles are fundamental and fundamentals are the only permanent boarders in the human hostlery. Like beer and beards, it improves with time, but is never likely to be pushed out of the procession during the march of progress. Let us imagine the train of the future—say in the year 2032, to save any argument later on. The engine will be a wedge-shaped missile propelled by propellers. It will be gyroscopic and telescopic to keep its end up both ways, and it will attain a speed which will make air travel appear like a bluebottle wading through a glue bottle. The carriages will be tubular and will float on cushions of oil supporting wheels as large as a song cycle, but more even. Every unit of the train will be fitted with low-set glider wings and there will be no bridges, for the train will attain such speed that it will fly across all chasms and other geological gashes. The wheels and the rails will be magnetized so that the train will impinge on the opposite rails without difficulty. There will be no stations because stations would appear with such frequency that one place would be as good as another. Passengers will be supplied with parachutes and air suits and when they wish to alight they will stroll through trapdoors onto the roof and take the air


without damage to life or limb. The guard will punch tickets with an air pistol, for the train will travel so fast that he could never get through it before it reached its destination. Freight will be shot out at intervals in pneumatic torpedoes, without occasioning any stop. The whole business will be so comfortable that in comparison a flea in a wool pack would be an insomnia patient. Seats will be full length pneumatic paillasses suspended from the ceiling and every passenger will view the scenery through a delayed-action periscope so that the scenery will not move past the vision as fast as the train moves past the scenery. At the termination of the journey the slice of scenery that has not caught up will be presented to him on a film so that he will be able to get an additional thrill by viewing it in his leisure. Safety will be insured by the use of a separate track for every train, and a jumping apparatus to enable the train to spring over any obstruction or trespasser on the track. Locomotives will still be propelled by steam, but there will be no coal or firing up, for steam will be manufactured by chemical reaction and pass through a compressor before use. Goodbye kissing at railway stations will be forbidden on account of the danger of starting a kiss at Wellington and finishing it with some person or persons unknown at Waipukurau, with the usual social complications. This will be a shame, for one often scores a kiss in public on a railway station that one would not get even in private elsewhere. If any reader doubts the authenticity of the above description of a railway train in 2032, all I will say is, “wait and see.”