by Max Barry

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by The Kraterocracy of Uvoan. . 16 reads.


Published in the May, 1940 issue of 'Trains' magazine, NAGEF2GSTMK020002001 follows the perspective of an over-seas railroad consultant, during the 1930s, sent to look at the UGR and it's operations.

NAGEF2GSTMK020002001- January 1936

One freight-hop west of New Asan, you climb into the cab of 'NAGEFG1STM090018004', a Uvoanian Governmental Railroad time freight which is now waiting for a clear signal to pull out of the marshalling yards at Hunzan...

You have ridden this train all the way from New Asan, but up untill now, it's been running underneath the designation NAGE1 - From here, the train exits the localized control of the New Asan Port Railroad Authority, and enters the control of CTC, and the Uvoanian Governmental Railroad. You don't remember a lot about the near-midnight departure from New Asan, expect the swaying lights of the caboose and the bark of steam locomotives rolling past the freight train. One thing you do remember though is how the engineer, James Matterson, spotted the caboose at the end of 187 car long train right in front of you, so you could board without much trouble.

It had been very late when you boarded- About 11:00 PM, after the train had finished marshaling in the yard. The breakman, one Ukkiz, had dimmed the oil-lamps thoughtfully so you could sleep. Accustomed to a very different time-zone, you were thankful for the courtesy, and had managed to find some sleep despite the constant changing of slack in the 187 car long train, as it rumbled it's way over the swaying mainline. The time you had spent sleeping meant the train had managed to navigate it's way to where the UGR would pick the train up, as you were shaken awake by the new crew due to taken it over, and given about 30 Gella to go get some food, and a shave if you wanted one. You decided to skip on the second one, and ate at the nearby Railroad Cafe, run out of two old Pullman coaches, where you got pancakes, bacon, coffee, and some toast for a scant 2 Gella.

But now, you're sitting in the observation seat of a heavy UGR made 4-10-10-4, designed to haul these trainloads clean across the railroad without issue. The engineer, now Okal Vennit, takes a few minutes to explain the terrifying complex train name- The explanation is fairly simple, starting with the Origin City, than moving onto the End City, the Type of Train, the Type of Engine, it's Priority, the Departure Time (in a 24 Hour clock), the Scheduled Arrival Time and then the number of days under travel. It was a fairly marvelous explanation, and filled the time as the signal ahead glared red- Before the light shifted to green, and the engineer turned to pull the throttle open. At this time, you were introduced to the fireman, one Nettu Kiiz, who shoo'd you off to your seat so he could get to work firing the monster.

Starting such a monster of a train was a noisy task- The slack in each car was used to help gain speed before the next one 'clanged' into movement. It was a noisy few minutes, as the train slowly navigated out of the bustling yards, passing a dozen other trains in the early morning. The train didn't take too long to pick up speed, however, and is soon winding it's way into the rolling mainline which will whisk this train along to it's destination. The early morning hours do little to persuade to sleep further, mainly due to the thunderous roaring of the fire in front of you, and the constant barking of the pistons driving the train across the rolling plains.

Now you're running out on the mainline itself, having passed through Voroan without stopping. The mainline from here expands into six tracks, the largest in the world, where you trundle along the outer-most tracks, cars swaying lightly, as you talked with the engineer. You'll make another stop in a dozen hours at Atlana, and then it'll be clear running to Gerat. You find out he's been running this rail-line for a decade, and is one of the most senior engineers, happy to explain away questions as the train rambles down the mainline, being passed by a mixture of rushing commuter and express trains, and locals, as the sun begins to dawn.

The 'Racetrack', as the UGR calls it, is actually still being built past Atlana. The work of Zkto to ensure a far more stable economy- You're distracted as the train suddenly sways right onto an inner track, an armored train racing by on the outermost rail - to ensure that Uvoan could have a solid basis for economic expansion. You're enthralled in the explanation, even as the train roars. After a few more hours of talking- Comparing locomotives, salaries, and the state of your respective railroads. He even lets you have a go at the throttle of 8448 - The locomotive you're riding in. It doesn't last for long, however, as the train soon rounds a corner, a large viaduct supporting the six-track mainline, revealing the gleaming skyscrapers of Atlana.

The train begins to slow, as it navigates across the confusing web of junctions, cross-overs, and crossings, into the massive freight-yard. You exit the cab as the train stops, and go to get some more food and drinks. You find a another railroad cafe, and ate much of the same meal you had back near New Asan. Expect the bacon is substituted for some scrambled eggs and ham, as the waiter directs you to a nearby barbershop after you ask for directions. Thirty minutes later, you're walking back to the yard, to step back into the cab of 8448 and back onto NAGEFG1STM090018004. You do divert, and spend a few minutes at Central Station, getting to watch the premier 'Varnish'[1] set, the 'Atlantic Racer', pull out. Then you head back down to the freight yard, and climb back into the cab. You talk with the conductor, Verniz, for about a half hour. Another 47 cars have been cut into the train, and you find out the train will pick stop at a coal-mine in the middle of the continent to pick up another 44 cars worth of coal, that got left off the last train leaving. It's not too long after this the new engineer and firemen, you never catch their names, climb aboard.

And then the fire is stoked, and train is rolling out again, with the sun setting in front of it You spend most of your time on this leg of the journey looking out the cab, studying the terrain as it passes. Rivers, lakes, rolling fields, towns, and far-off mountains. As mentioned, you do stop about halfway through, outside a coal-mine, where a dozen shunters scurry about adding the coal-cars that got left behind earlier. You're also told they're adding cutting another two 4-10-10-4s on to help push the train up to Gerat, and up the 3.4% [2] grade. The train then sets off again, as rolling plains slowly turn into mountainous canyons, and then into a steep climb. Looking back across a wide horse-shoe curve, you get to see the two locomotives cut onto the far-end pushing.

However, despite the long climb, the train soon pushes it's way into Gerat, that mountain-side city. The train comes to a gentle stop soon, as the engineer, fireman, and you, all climb down. The two direct you to a nearby railroad hotel, which one of Gerat's interurban lines takes you too free of charge, thanks to the rail-pass the UGR gave to you. After you pay for a room, you take a hot bath, eat a hearty meal, and hang a 'DO NOT DISTURB' sign on the door, you collapse into the bed provided. You sleep long into the next morning.

[1] - 'Varnish' - A slang term used to refer to the fast passenger express trains.

[2] 3.4% Gradients - For every 100 feet forward, the track raises 3.4 feet.

The Kraterocracy of Uvoan