I’ve always liked trains, since I was a little kid. I was transfixed by their immensity. I would always count the carriages as they rumbled past, and wonder where they were going.
In that spirit, here’s my favourite news story of this week (actually this is my equal favourite, along with numerous reports that everyone in New Zealand has simultaneously gone batshit crazy over a shortage of chocolate milk). Anyway, I really can’t get my head around the idea of losing a train altogether. I mean… what is a train, like 8,000 tonnes?
Seriously. Trains are big. They also run on things called train tracks, ideally, which I’ve always assumed to be fairly static and predictable. Surely you can’t just forget where you parked your train after a few drinks. Odds are it will be at the train station somewhere.
Well, apparently the Egyptians are the people to ask about lost trains, because they just found one that had been missing in the desert for eight years.
The story goes that the train in question made its last journey into the desert from the north-west Egyptian town of Dakhla in 2006, and never returned. Authorities have explained that thieves had stolen 150km of railway track in the area (those were some very committed thieves), which prevented the train from returning.
Somewhat troubling is the news that, eight years later, the whereabouts of the train’s driver remains unknown. It has obviously been very difficult to find this individual, and presumably anyone else living in that part of Egypt, because the thieves stole about 7,500 tonnes of railway steel (a clever trick without a train to cart it away with) and it took eight years for someone to take some other kind of vehicle along that same route to find out what the hell had happened.
Ok, so… this story first published two days ago by Gulf News looks and smells like so much camel shit. Yes, checking again now… the story has in the last couple of hours been deleted by Gulf News, who originally ran it with no sources (except a ‘local newspaper’) or even a photo (save for one of another desert train ‘for illustrative purposes’). Of course, the fact that this was an obvious hoax hasn’t stopped the story being reprinted verbatim by lazy idiots from Cairo to Manila.
The world’s media is seriously fucked these days.
If it is any consolation though, the Kiwis’ chocolate milk crisis appears to be wonderfully real… I hope.