Surplus Train Rides or--Travel In The Age Of Plenty
JANUARY 01, 1960 by H.P.B. JENKINS
Economist at Fayetteville, Arkansas
It was a sunny afternoon
At story-telling time.
Old Kaspar settled in his chair
and poured a rum-and-lime,
While Peterkin and Wilhelmine
Looked at the futurama screen.
They saw a long and winding stretch
Of rusty railroad tracks,
And multitudes who trudged along
With baggage on their backs;
While others turned aside to eat
Or rest with elevated feet.
"Why don’t those people drive their cars?"
Asked little Peterkin.
"Because they’re in a hurry, Pete,"
Said Kaspar with a grin.
"The traffic jams have grown so thick
That walking now is twice as quick."
"Why aren’t there trains for people now?"
Asked little Wilhelmine.
"The railroads have them," Kaspar said,
"But now they’re seldom seen.
The idle coaches gather rust
While people walk in mud or dust."
"There was a time," Old Kaspar sighed,
"When railway fares were cheap,
Before the unions came of age
And taxes took a leap;
But now a ride is priced too high
For ordinary folks to buy."
"How will it end," asked Peterkin,
"Will everybody walk?"
"Why, as to that," Old Kaspar said,
"Already there is talk
Of handing out a Subsidy
To railroads hauling people free."