Min menu

Pages

Latest [LastPost]

A trip inside the "Secret Congressional Train"... A world unknown to Americans

A trip inside the "Secret Congressional Train"... A world unknown to Americans

For decades, the Capitol Underground Railroad has been the preferred mode of transportation for some of the world's most powerful politicians...but most Americans are unaware of its existence.

A trip inside the "Secret Congressional Train"... A world unknown to Americans For decades, the Capitol Underground Railroad has been the preferred mode of transportation for some of the world's most powerful politicians...but most Americans are unaware of its existence.


For more than a century, this network of small trains that crisscross the metropolis of the Capitol in Washington has been frequented by presidents, parliamentarians, Supreme Court justices and even Hollywood stars.


The booths of the "Secret Congressional Train" have occasionally made headlines on various occasions, including a failed assassination attempt and an impromptu art show, but they daily attract obscure visitors.


"The kids love it, so there are always senators willing to bring relatives with their kids" to ride this train, Dan Holt, a Senate historian, told AFP. "It's really special."


The railway stretches for nearly a kilometer, and the 90 seconds it takes to get from one station to the next under neon lights provides barely enough time to talk politics, circulate the latest news, or let your imagination run wild for even a moment.


Failed assassination attempt

Enthusiasm reigns at the main station in the basements of the Senate, when parliamentarians sit down. When the bells ring for each train, a throng of reporters rushes to the senators to ask questions about hot topics. But the conversations are not always friendly.


In 1950, Republican Senator Margaret Chase Smith was about to deliver a critical speech on the Capitol in which he sharply criticized her colleague, Joe McCarthy, who was campaigning against the Communists.


"Margaret, you look so grouchy," said her colleague, on the same train. "Are you going to give a speech?" "Yes," she replied, "and you wouldn't like it very much," according to Holt's account.


Three years ago, former Capitol policeman William Kaiser shot Senator John Bricker. This losing presidential candidate took refuge in another train compartment that was parked in the place, and loudly asked the driver to start while a second bullet flew over his head.


"Only luck and poor shooting skills saved the senator," the New York Times wrote at the time.


In other, quieter phases, this train offered politicians an oasis of peace away from the frenetic pace of life in Washington.


William Howard Taft, the twenty-seventh president of the United States, caused panic among those close to him after he disappeared during a Saturday in January 1911 for about an hour... to find that he had gone to see the Capitol trains.


"An intense wave of fear swept the city when the questions of those concerned in the White House were answered that the president's whereabouts were unknown," the Washington Times wrote at the time.


This congressional train has been ridden by White House candidates such as Ronald Reagan, as well as, of course, Barack Obama and John McCain, who were senators during their campaigns.


On the other hand, John F. Kennedy, when he was an ordinary young senator, was refused entry, and was told, "Let the senators pass, son."


impromptu show

The first underground congressional network opened on March 7, 1909, and was intended for senators who hoped to avoid the sweltering heat and sweltering humidity of Washington's summer when moving from their offices to the Capitol.


Initially, the trains were electric "Stadbaker" vehicles, which were replaced three years later by a monorail.


Then, in 1960, four small electric trains were launched at a cost of $75,000 at the time under this railroad plan called the "Democracy Express".


On the side of the House of Representatives, another line was drawn five years later. In 1993, a driverless motorized train line was opened, worth $18 million, with great fanfare. But the train does not impress everyone.


Former Republican Representative Mike DeWine banned his team members from using the train in protest of what he considers a waste of public money.


Many famous people, including Richard Gere, Chuck Norris, Denzel Washington, and musician Bono, also rode this train. In 2017, composer and actor Lin-Manuel Miranda, the author of the musical "Hamilton," even filmed himself singing at the top of his voice aboard what he described as the "Secret Congress Train."


However, an increasing number of members of Congress are reluctant to use the train as many of them strive to stay fit and choose to walk next to the tracks.

A trip inside the "Secret Congressional Train"... A world unknown to Americans For decades, the Capitol Underground Railroad has been the preferred mode of transportation for some of the world's most powerful politicians...but most Americans are unaware of its existence.

A trip inside the "Secret Congressional Train"... A world unknown to Americans For decades, the Capitol Underground Railroad has been the preferred mode of transportation for some of the world's most powerful politicians...but most Americans are unaware of its existence.

A trip inside the "Secret Congressional Train"... A world unknown to Americans For decades, the Capitol Underground Railroad has been the preferred mode of transportation for some of the world's most powerful politicians...but most Americans are unaware of its existence.

A trip inside the "Secret Congressional Train"... A world unknown to Americans For decades, the Capitol Underground Railroad has been the preferred mode of transportation for some of the world's most powerful politicians...but most Americans are unaware of its existence.

A trip inside the "Secret Congressional Train"... A world unknown to Americans For decades, the Capitol Underground Railroad has been the preferred mode of transportation for some of the world's most powerful politicians...but most Americans are unaware of its existence.

A trip inside the "Secret Congressional Train"... A world unknown to Americans For decades, the Capitol Underground Railroad has been the preferred mode of transportation for some of the world's most powerful politicians...but most Americans are unaware of its existence.


A trip inside the "Secret Congressional Train"... A world unknown to Americans For decades, the Capitol Underground Railroad has been the preferred mode of transportation for some of the world's most powerful politicians...but most Americans are unaware of its existence.


Source:

AP , 1

Rate us :
Admin
Admin
Welcome to cairotimes24.com. We hope our topics satisfy your interest and admiration. Please do not forget to like our page on Facebook, our page on Twitter and on Pinterest to receive all new

Comments

This site translates the news to English and does not make it