A Journey in Other Worlds HTML version

Far-Reaching Plans
Knowing that the rectification of the earth's axis was satisfactorily begun, and that each
year would show an increasing improvement in climate, many of the delegates, after
hearing Bearwarden's speech, set out for their homes. Those from the valley of the
Amazon and the eastern coast of South America boarded a lightning express that rushed
them to Key West at the rate of three hundred miles an hour. The railroad had six tracks,
two for through passengers, two for locals, and two for freight. There they took a "water-
spider," six hundred feet long by three hundred in width, the deck of which was one
hundred feet above the surface, which carried them over the water at the rate of a mile a
minute, around the eastern end of Cuba, through Windward Passage, and so to the South
American mainland, where they continued their journey by rail.
The Siberian and Russian delegates, who, of course, felt a keen interest in the company's
proceedings, took a magnetic double-ender car to Bering Strait. It was eighteen feet high,
one hundred and fifty feet long, and had two stories. The upper, with a toughened glass
dome running the entire length, descended to within three feet of the floor, and afforded
an unobstructed view of the rushing scenery. The rails on which it ran were ten feet apart,
the wheels being beyond the sides, like those of a carriage, and fitted with ball bearings to
ridged axles. The car's flexibility allowed it to follow slight irregularities in the track,
while the free, independent wheels gave it a great advantage in rounding curves over cars
with wheels and axle in one casting, in which one must slip while traversing a greater or
smaller arc than the other, except when the slope of the tread and the centrifugal force
happen to correspond exactly. The fact of having its supports outside instead of
underneath, while increasing its stability, also enabled the lower floor to come much
nearer the ground, while still the wheels were large. Arriving in just twenty hours, they
ran across on an electric ferry-boat, capable of carrying several dozen cars, to East Cape,
Siberia, and then, by running as far north as possible, had a short cut to Europe.
The Patagonians went by the all-rail Intercontinental Line, without change of cars,
making the run of ten thousand miles in forty hours. The Australians entered a flying
machine, and were soon out of sight; while the Central Americans and members from
other States of the Union returned for the most part in their mechanical phaetons.
"A prospective improvement in travelling," said Bearwarden, as he and his friends
watched the crowd disperse, "will be when we can rise beyond the limits of the
atmosphere, wait till the earth revolves beneath us, and descend in twelve hours on the
other side."
"True," said Cortlandt, "but then we can travel westward only, and shall have to make a
complete circuit when we wish to go east."
A few days later there was a knock at President Bearwarden's door, while he was seated
at his desk looking over some papers and other matters. Taking his foot from a partly
opened desk drawer where it had been resting, he placed it upon the handle of a