Once upon a time, my commute was two hours each way. I’d start with a half-hour drive to the train station, a 45-minute or so ride on the MARC train into DC, two stops on the Red Line of the DC Metro, and then five stops on the Yellow Line. Oddly, I found that time to be mostly relaxing, except for driving to the train station at 0515. I always thought, “Why can’t they just put in a monorail, just for me, so I could go from my house to the station without driving?” They never did.
So when it came time to design my own underwater city, I included a monorail. Aquataine in my book UNDERCURRENT is composed of a large Central Dome, surrounded by several smaller domes. Each of the smaller ones is connected to Central by a tube, and those tubes carry monorail traffic, as well as a small roadway (because there is only minimal vehicle traffic), and pedestrian and bicycle walkways. I suppose even I couldn’t help thinking this would probably look like a hamster’s “Habitrail.” Maybe it does.
But really, it was my commute that helped shape this transportation system. I used the monorail, which I called the Inter-Dome Transport, or IDT as the backbone of the system. I equated this to the MARC train (a commuter train in Maryland), which takes a few feeder lines from different parts of the state into Union Station in DC. At Union Station, you can drop down into the Metro system for the subway or go out and pick up a bus.
In Aquataine, the IDT monorail brings people from the surrounding domes to the IDT Nexus, which my savvy commuters call “The Crush.” Obviously, The Crush is Union Station. Like thousands of other commuters, I was at Union Station at around 7 a.m. and then again at around 5 p.m. There were people everywhere, jamming into the MARC terminal, visiting shops, dragging luggage to the Amtrak line, and just hanging around. It was sometimes a real challenge maneuvering through the crowd. It felt like I was being crushed by the crowd, so hence the nickname.
It seemed a little bit crazy to have a subway in a domed, underwater city, so I drew on a visit to Freiburg, Germany in around 2008 where the principle means of public transportation was the Tram. Same thing as the light rail around Baltimore, I suppose, but more useful. I figure the IDT probably deposited people in the middle of town, into the business district in each dome, and passengers could take the trams around town. All electric, of course.
I’m not sure what will still be around in 121 years, but I’m sure The Crush will have all the normal monorail and tram gates, and I’ll be a little bit sad if there’s not an Auntie Annie’s Pretzels, a Sbarro’s, and some sort of book store that sells actual books. Somehow, I imagine the bookstore of the future is just a kiosk that you tap your Lector tablet to and download whatever book you want, but that’s another story.
Want to buy UNDERCURRENT? You can, you know… Here’s where to find it: https://www.amazon.com/Undercurrent-Michael-Crowl/dp/1794008268/ref=sr_1_2?crid=1W84I6YLF2RZG&keywords=undercurrent+michael+crowl&qid=1557625918&s=gateway&sprefix=undercurrent+m%2Caps%2C148&sr=8-2-spell