The National Rail of Vekllei

SOCIETY
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Overview

߷ This article is about Vekllei society
This article discusses one of the most important and visible organisations in everyday Vekllei life: Vekllei National Rail. Vekllei is criss-crossed by hundreds of different rail lines of various gauges, grades, and purposes. In fact, it runs many lines at a total loss, often under capacity. To understand these inefficiencies is to understand why the National Rail exists, and to some extent, how Vekllei’s state assets and powerful bureaus shape life in the country today.

T he National Rail of Vekllei (VNR) is a catch-all term for bureau-backed, state-owned rail operators of Vekllei. In casual use, it refers to the Vekllei National Railway A.r.R. and its sister companies, like Vekllei Metro, which are structured within the service-oriented Railways Bureau. More precisely, Vekllei National Rail encompasses several different bureaus that operate, design, maintain and communicate rail service in the country, which itself is further included under the Transport Requisite of the Vekllei Government.

Like most critical organisations of Vekllei, the structure and directorship of Vekllei National Rail is complex, but can be simplified by understanding that all rail transport in the country is ultimately the responsibility of an organisation called Vekllei National Rail, and it is towards this organ that this article is addressed. Today, the National Rail operates nearly 20,000km of track, indicating the density of the rail service it provides, and services nearly 20 million people each day through its network.

Introduction

Since nationalisation of the private Vekllei rail companies in 1925, the structure and reach of Vekllei National Rail has changed several times. Operated as a for-profit enterprise at a historical loss, the National Rail’s history of service is reflected in the variety of trains and track gauges it maintains.

Vekllei is unique in the density of its rail, a feature of deliberate postwar city planning and the Home Island’s history as an industrial port city-state. Very few Vekllei people own automobiles, and trains remain by far the most common method of travel in the country. Because of this, the rail network in metropolitan areas is extraordinarily dense, and is designed to offer access to nearly every residence in urban areas. This fact also explains the presence of dedicated rail lines to small towns and villages that would otherwise not justify their maintenance. As visible on the map above, the passenger rail network in Vekllei is unsurpassed in its density, which contributes to the dependence Vekllei people have on their trains.

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A map of the rail network and boroughs of Vekllei, showcasing maglev (red), high-speed (yellow), regional (orange) and local (brown) lines | 100 Boroughs

Similarly, almost all freight is run along rails of varying gauges. These range from conventional freight trains at standard gauge, to municipal delivery trains at metre guage, and even narrow gauges for moving freight and equipment within large factory complexes. Most major stores and grocers are arranged along freight lines with dedicated sidings, or have their own narrow-gauge tracks dedicated to their use.

Unusually, Vekllei National Rail is legally absolved of all non-rail transport, and possesses no busses or ferries for public use, which are operated and maintained by dedicated adjacent bureaus.

History

Although Vekllei has used wagonways since the 18th Century and developed horse-drawn railways for industrial transport in its ports, the first passenger rail line in Vekllei was founded in 1855 by the Pharos Rail Company.

The history of rail in Vekllei can be summarised in three key eras of development.

  • Early Development and expansion, from early service in 1855.
  • Late Junta/Prewar nationalisation, from nationalisation in 1925.
  • Postwar refounding and development, since independence in 2015.

Since the foundation of VNR after nationalisation, rail in Vekllei has seen the scale of its passenger rail networks quadruple in size. It is internationally regarded for its safety and reliability.

Early Development

The first railways in Vekllei developed alongside its ports, as Vekllei’s position as an intermediary free port between Europe and the Americas rapidly developed Vekllei’s industrial base. Although the earliest internal rail wagons were pulled by horses, primitive steam locomotives had modernised most ports by the early 19th Century.

The first passenger rail line opened in 1855 between Pharos and the present-day borough of Little Vekllei to alleviate the expense of moving goods from the Pharos Port to established settlement further inland. The original line was only a few kilometres long, but was extended in 1858 and again in 1872. By this time, several other lines had been established under private rail companies, including passenger services between Vekllei Proper and Little Vekllei, as well as the beginnings of the Montre-Vekllei Railroad.

By the beginning of the 20th Century, Vekllei had a half-dozen major railroad companies, and dozens other limited/local services provided by private operators or their municipality. This saw a massive increase in both the movement of freight and ridership, and helped entrench Vekllei’s position as a stopover port city for transatlantic freight and passage.

Nationalisation

The early 20th Century was marked by an exponential increase in ridership, which saw a proliferation of new railroads across the Home Islands. Metropolitan and suburban lines during this period were characterised by overcrowding, poor reliability and irregular service. These factors, in addition to the growing economic power of rail barons in the country, saw the Atlantic Junta (known as the Crown) move to nationalise all metropolitan and intercity passenger rail service in 1925 as the Vekllei National Rail Company (VNC).

The centralisation of Vekllei rail accompanied standardisation of its commuter track gauge, which improved travel times across the country. The VNC period was characterised by reliable investment and a commitment to modernisation of rail in the country. By the late 20th Century, the Vekllei Metropolitan Underground was widely regarded as one of the most beautiful subway systems in the world.

In the late 1980s, VNC started work on what would eventually become the Vekllei-Montre bullet train. The programme overran its cost estimates and was delayed several times, and was not completed until 2004, shortly before the Atomic War.

Postwar Development

National Rail Company assets that had been operated by the occupation Vekllei Provisional Government were transferred to the Vekllei Interim Government in 2015 and reestablished as Vekllei National Rail (VNR) in 2018. The Floral Period has been marked by steady growth in ridership and the scale of its network. The organisation also invests heavily into the development of new locomotives and EMUs, culminating in 2047 with the announcement of the Vekllei East Coast Maglev Scheme, which are the fastest commuter trains in the world.

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A Lesvesn 59-Series EMU arrives in the village of Cult | Shrine-Minded Girls

In 2055, VNR celebrated “250 years of rail,” and its livery and staff uniforms were overhauled to mark the occasion.

Today, VNR represents the sole means of medium/long-distance transport for over 80% of Vekllei commuters, indicating its continuous status as a monopoly of travel, not just rail, in the country.

Structure

Vekllei National Rail is an organ of the Transport Requisite of the Vekllei Government (A.r.R., or requoisesiasn amourisocietie resmesnghet) as several individual state requisite bureaus, which in turn are charged with different transport companies. Although its structure in Vekllei might be analogous to a government ministry abroad, it functions in practice more like a state-owned enterprise with private subsidiaries. It is not a state-run corporation, and maintains seperate accounting.

Vekllei National Rail is administered through three State Requisites: the Vekllei National Rail itself including all regular operations and rail service, the National Rail Insurance Scheme which finances construction through Government White Bonds, and the Rail Safety Commission.

Vekllei National Rail
  • Vekllei National Rail
    • Vekllei Railways Bureau
      • Palace of Rail
        • Vekllei National Railway A.r.R.
          • VNR Atlantic
          • VNR Kala
          • VNR Overseas
        • Vekllei National Magway A.r.R.
        • Vekllei Metro A.r.R.
        • Government Railroad R.S.
        • Vekllei Freight S.A.
      • Railroad Police Office
      • Office of Steam
      • Office of Electrification
      • Nuclear-Electric Rail Commission
      • Private Railcar Commission
    • Vekllei Industrial Rail
    • Railroad Democracy Hall
      • VK Rail Chapel
      • Public Rail Chapel
    • Vekllei National Rail Press Bureau
      • Vekllei Rail Press
        • Vekllei Rail Transport Journal
          • Locomotive Magazine
        • Rail Periodicals Office
        • Friends of Rail Office
      • Public Relations Office
      • Industrial Relations Office
    • Vekllei National Rail Municipal Land Company S.A.
    • Vekllei National Rail Construction House
    • Railway Laboratories of Vekllei
      • Senrouive House Office
      • Company House Office
  • National Rail Insurance Scheme A.r.R.
    • Passenger Accounting
    • Rail Democracy Office
  • Rail Safety Commission
    • Track Safety Vekllei
    • Passenger Safety Vekllei
      • Platform Investigation Office
      • Carriage Investigation Office
      • Incident Investigation Office

Service

Since most Vekllei people catch a train each day, VNR is a uniquely intimate and treasured organ of the Vekllei state. It is somehow exempted from the public apathy and resentment of bureaucracy that targets other monopolies of the Vekllei state, and is routinely regarded as among the most beloved and appreciated “companies” in Vekllei.

Access to public transport is considered a “critical luxury” of the Vekllei state (the Vekllei turn-of-phrase for essential state services) and, by extension, the functioning of its society. By design, it makes no profit, and is subsidised entirely by the Transport Requisite of the Vekllei Government and various independent transport bureaus for the benefit of any Vekllei person. Even prior to the war and investment of the Floral Period, Vekllei’s public transport was widely regarded as among the finest of any network in the world thanks to its impeccable safety record, timeliness, and comprehensive coverage.

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A Mustard 56-Series EMU arrives in the village of Cult | Shrine-Minded Girls

Rail transport contributes tremendously to the national culture and common affection for Vekllei’s public institutions. It is also commonly percieved as a triumph of the postwar floral Period, despite rail history in Vekllei dating back hundreds of years prior. The ongoing expansion of the VNR network and renovation of stations and railhubs commands attention internationally, which is watching Vekllei celebrate its golden age of rail.

National Rail

National rail access is generally provided directly by Vekllei National Railway A.r.R. through a branch office dependent on the location. The Home Islands are served by VNR Atlantic, whereas Kala is served by VNR Overseas. The Home Islands house thousands of rural villages outside of urban metropolitan service, and Vekllei’s dependence on rail transportatiion demands their inclusion in the VNR network. As such, almost every village in Vekllei has a rail line or interurban tramway, and villages as small as 20 persons see daily service to the capital.

Metropolitan Service & Subways

The majority of VNR’s ~10,000 trains per day run in metro or subway services throughout Vekllei urban and interurban routes. These lines are primarily serviced by the EMU workhorses of the VNR fleet, particularly 56 and 59-Series trainsets. In urban centers, VNR service is frequent enough to be unscheduled, with trains arriving every other minute or so.

The majority of Vekllei’s underground metro network has been automated by Automatic Train Control, an industrial automan system that allows for driverless trains. Although still serviced by VNR platform staff with training to stop the train in emergencies, Vekllei’s automatic metros are otherwise entirely driverless. VNR Overseas metros in Kala and the Kalina Isles retain drivers.

Tramways

Vekllei operates a variety of trams and streetcars, including double-decker street-level units in the capital region and so-called “fast trams” (inter-urban cars) outside of the cities. Depending on the make and route of the tramway, they may be grade-seperated or integrated into streets. Their ubuquity in urban areas has caused observers to regard them as the principle method of transport in the country, second only to the bicycle.

Freight

VNR’s main freight lines run mostly on a seperate gauge and network, and are composed of several companies that operate regionally across a variety of locomotive types and industries. These include traditional freight locomotives and long/short cars, as well as freight trams and wagons used to transport goods around and between factories.

Operations

❖ Read more: Station Logic
VNR is typical of a ‘great Vekllei bureau’ – it instills national pride, is well-run and maintained, and loses tremendous amounts of money. It is the crown jewel of Vekllei’s insolvent organs, whose thin profit margins and charming inefficiencies are tolerated and even encouraged in this society which subsidises social benefit above all else.

Nearly 17 million people per day commute via VNR’s networks each day, making up a majority of the Vekllei population. In this sense, VNR’s quality of operations affects the Vekllei person more than the quality of their government. In addition to commuter service, VNR automatic freight transit systems are the lifeblood of all industry and commerce in the country, and are regulated directly as a state requisite for their critical importance to the functioning of Vekllei society.

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VNR operates 2,114 stations across the Home Islands, which vary from uncovered concrete platforms to tremendous terminus complexes that cover multiple city blocks. The largest station in the country, Vekllei Central, sees over 1 million people per day pass through its gates.

Vekllei’s stations are well-regarded for the beauty and decoration overseas. As part of the Millenia Rail campaign in the mid-21st Century, VNR initiated a dramatic overhaul of its passenger infrastructure, restoring heritage-listed station interiors and renovating much of the early postwar metro construction with murals, new lighting, enlarged caverns and shafts, and improved safety features. The cleanliness and safety of Vekllei National Railway is a great point of pride in the country, and in part justifies VNR’s tremendous fiscal losses in daily operation.

VNR services are mostly unticketed, and as a Vekllei industry, are free to ride.

Staff

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❖ Read more: The People of Vekllei National Rail

VNR employs 65,240 people, which include roles ranging from locomotive engineers and platform staff to editors of rail enthusiast periodicals. It is also one of the largest employers of 12-16 year olds in the country, via its Station Apprentice programme, unique among organisations of its size.

The organisation is administered by the President of the Rail Central Office, which is responsible to the Transport Requisite and the Palace of Rail. VNR has a close relationship with bureau and petty-bureau coachbuilders, and wields considerable power in Vekllei’s heavy industries as a major manufacturing partner.

Fleet

❖ Download the VNR Rolling Stock List (PDF)

Vekllei National Rail is perhaps unsurpassed in its variety of trainsets and their length of service. An unofficial policy of preservation has ensured that every unit type since the 1980s has seen an ongoing minor presence in current service. VNR rarely retires a trainset completely – in keeping with the contemporary cultural-political valuation of machines, a few units of each model are retained on various lines for their historical and technical significance. This includes steam locomotives, which continue to operate regular passengers service on some routes.

The backbone of the contemporary Vekllei rail fleet is the Electric Multiple Units (EMUs), which are designated by their year of manufacture.1 In particular, the 56 and 59-Series trainsets make up the majority of EMUs in service today, as they exclusively populate primary commuter lines in Vekllei’s southwest. VNR also retains Diesel Multiple Units (DMUs) in its long-haul cold-weather routes, particularly in the Afouisneh region and Kala.

VNR pioneered super-conductive maglev transport for mass consumption, and its SC3 trainsets are the fastest in regular service in the world today, reaching nearly 750km/h in places. Its slowest locomotive, the T400 2-6-2 steam locomotive Small Movements built in 1928, averages just 30km/h on its tourist route in rural Krafla. VNR is also experimenting with nuclear-powered trainsets, but none have so far entered public testing.

Notes


  1. Vekllei’s ‘war’ prefix is used as a designation for pre-war railcars and locomotives, transliterated from the native word for the Junta’s society. ↩︎