Missing Train Carriage Arrived at Its Station 3 Years Later
How long does it take for a package to get to you? A day? A week? A month? How about over 3 years? A similar story happened in India.
Nothing surprising at first glance. Parcels reach the addressee with a long delay or even get lost on the way many times. But it wasn’t some standard package. It was a whole train carriage loaded with tons of compost! Something this massive couldn’t have just disappeared and then come back. Or could it? Let’s find out. And yes, today I’m going to tell you cool things about trains.
It all started in 2014. One Indian company ordered dozens of tons of compost. All the goods were in 21 wagons. The train left the city of Visakhapatnam on November 10. Its destination was in Basti district, Uttar Pradesh. The distance between these two locations was 870 miles. So, the train left, and everything was going well. A few days later, the buyer accepted the goods. 20 wagons arrived in excellent condition. But one carriage was missing. Where could a few tons of fertilizers have gone? Did someone steal the cargo? Did it get lost along the way?
The buyer asked the company that sold them the compost to find the missing part of the shipment. The employees checked all the documents and confirmed that the train of 21 carriages left the station on November 10. Several people from the rail station saw it. Then, the train passed through some settlements and lost one carriage! The buyer contacted the railway services but didn’t receive any response.
It seemed the train car had just disappeared. The documents indicated that all the paid goods went to the destination, which meant the buyer wouldn’t get their money back. So, they lost more than ten thousand dollars. Months and years had passed. And so, on July 25, 2018, railway workers discovered an old carriage with the number 107462 on it at the station in Basti district, which was the original destination point. Then, they found out that this was the missing cargo. The company contacted the seller, but they refused to accept the goods because the fertilizers had rotted.
It soon became clear that employees of one of the stations noticed some kind of malfunction in the carriage during the trip. Perhaps, the reason was different, and the car just detached from the train, but no one knew for sure. When they found the lonely carriage, they waited for the owner to come for it. But no one came, and no one reported it missing.
So, they towed the abandoned train car to Basti district a few months later. By that time, the buyer had already reported to the rail company about the lost compost. In the end, they stopped searching for it while the car was practically in front of them. I wonder if that customer got a discount from the company for the next order? I get angry if my pizza is late, and here we have a whole 10 tons of cargo!
Do you know where this would have never happened? In Japan! There, you can ride the most punctual trains in the world! They arrive at all stations to the minute! All the locals know the trains are never late, so they never have this good ol’ excuse to tell their boss. But when something really happens to it and the train is late, passengers receive a special ticket from the rail company. It’s the proof that will protect you from all the accusations of your boss.
Japan has not only the most punctual trains in the world but also the fastest. I’m talking about Maglev. It reaches 374 mph. And to give you an idea of how fast that is... If you build a racetrack next to the railway, the train will quickly overtake a Formula 1 car. And at this speed, you can comfortably sit in your seat and drink tea on the train. You won’t feel or hear the sound of the wheels because it has no wheels at all! Maglev rides with a magnetic cushion.
The unique railway lets the train move fast through the air with the help of magnetic force. It would be cool to have such trains in every city, right? I’d definitely forget about traffic jams. But unfortunately, they’re not popular around the world. Engineers spend a lot of energy charging the train’s magnets. They heat up to incredibly high temperatures during the trip, and then they need to cool down. And this also requires a lot of power and money. For many countries, such trains would be simply economically unprofitable.
That carriage in India would probably have been standing at the railway station forever if someone hadn’t noticed it. But what if it was a whole train with, let’s say, a hundred cars? I mean, what do people do with old train cars? Somewhere, they put the trains in a landfill, dismantle them for scrap, dispose of them under pressure, or melt them down.
But the most popular practice is to load the bare hulls of wagons onto a big ship and throw them into the ocean. The trains become a home for fish and other ocean inhabitants. In New York, people decided to get rid of the old trains in the same way. They cleared the cars of the seats and other details, cleaned them, and transported them to the coasts of different states.
From 2001 to 2010, they sank more than 2 thousand cars! And then something really cool happened. Trains became artificial reefs! Corals and algae covered them. Shells, crabs, sea sponges, mackerels, perches, and sea turtles settled in each car. Underwater photographers and divers filmed these wagons and saw dolphins swimming through them!
Such a seabed looks like an underwater city where trains are real estate for the fish. So, people provided modern housing for the fish and saved about $30 million on recycling! Although to tell the truth, this housing doesn’t seem modern. They look like phantom trains! And you know what the coolest thing about phantom trains is? They actually exist. And you know what’s even cooler? You can get in it and ride.
You can find such trains in England, in small towns like Snaith. The rail station there looks abandoned. There’s no parking, no ticket machines, or shops. And now, you hear the sounds of a train coming. It seems pretty normal. But when you go inside, you’ll probably feel uncomfortable since you’d be the only passenger on the phantom train.
You can walk from the first carriage to the last one if you want. Or you can get on other similar trains. Yeah, there are a lot of them moving all over England. They pass through abandoned railways because it’s economically beneficial for the country. To cancel the phantom train route, you need to go through many bureaucratic procedures and spend taxpayers’ money. There’s no need to do this if the trains just go and don’t bother anyone.
Also, they attract many people who love to visit abandoned stations. And it’s not so easy to find such routes. You need to carefully study train schedules on the Internet since not even all railway workers know about them. In some phantom places, trains arrive once every few days.
But what about real phantom trains? There are many stories about trains that have mysteriously disappeared. The most popular one is the legend of the Zanetti train company. Several wagons disappeared with dozens of passengers in a mountain tunnel in Italy in 1911. And popped up out of the blue ... in 1845 in Mexico!
But of course, there’s no evidence for this story. Someone just wrote it in a newspaper, and everyone believed it. The same thing happens with planes that travel through time and even ships. Although some vessels really sail abandoned for decades, there’s a lot of proof of that.
But if you really saw a mysterious train arriving at an old railway through the fog in the middle of the night, would you get inside?