WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Transportation has released a report suggesting that model trains erode the self-worth of young trains who do not embody traditional train beauty standards.
“Young trains will often compare themselves to shiny, slim, and sleek models that they see in commercials and toy stores and establish a false criterion of what a beautiful train is,” said Sarah Feinberg, head of the Federal Railroad Administration. “Working freight trains, which are covered in graffiti, dirty from running all day, and heavy with cargo are especially susceptible to these dubious ideals.”
The report argues that these misguided comparisons can encourage unhealthy and dangerous behaviors in locomotive youths, such as burning coal at inefficient rates and even self-derailment. The concern over the emotional well-being of the nation’s railed vehicles is at a fever pitch since an industry-wide maintenance report last month revealed an all-time high in “Crazy Train” diagnoses.
“The fantastic expectations that the media and toy manufacturers impose on young trains are deplorable,” said Union Pacific conductor Cynthia Miller. “I work on trains every day and it is the interior that matters, not some fancy new paint job.”
Miller added: “Not all trains are flashy, they don’t have spotless chassis, and they do not travel around indefinitely on a circular track.”
The D.O.T. report noted that if a train were built to correspond with the measurements of a model train, its wheels would be too small to fit on a track and its furnace would be so large as to not allow room for a control panel. A coalition of trains and rail workers has been founded to combat problematic depictions of trains and has introduced an initiative called “I Am Not My Caboose.”
Patrick Reilly was probably the name of a bunch of guys who built the railroads.
Image by Les Chatfield.