(ETW April Fools) Amtrak Retires its Ailing Tank Engine, Thomas
BY JENNA FORTUNATI
WASHINGTON, D.C. – After a distinguished career of service, Thomas the Tank Engine is retiring from Amtrak’s rolling stock, the company announced Thursday. Thomas’s retirement marks the end of an era for Amtrak, being the last 100-year-old engine to pull an Acela train.
“Thomas has truly defined what being a 21st-century railroad means to us,” said Sir Topham Hat, Amtrak’s Chief Operating Officer. “I’ve worked extensively with Thomas and his slow but steady commitment to customer service has always inspired me.”
Thomas has led a long and colorful career in rail. The anthropomorphic tank engine has charmed passengers with his steady and smooth ride ever since he joined Amtrak in 1970. At age 80, he sped the very first Acela Express down the Northeast Corridor at a record-breaking 40 miles per hour.
The retirement announcement has stunned the industry as Thomas has been the postertrain (so to speak) for Amtrak since joining the company. Known for his reliability, the distinctive blue engine will leave big tracks to fill.
Not everyone is mourning the news however. Some Amtrak passengers applauded it. “I mean, isn’t he over 100 years old?” scoffed a European rider who wished to remain anonymous on an Acela this Friday. “I thought this was high-tech rail?”
Others applauding the retirement announcement included the grassroots group started by Diesel 10, Thomas’ nemesis. Last year Diesel 10 garnered over one thousand signatures on his petition to have Thomas removed from service. According to sources, Diesel 10 is planning a “Not My Engine” march on the National Mall.
Despite Thomas’s retirement, Annie and Clarabel, two passenger cars often attached to Thomas, will continue in service on the Northeast Corridor route.
Thomas is now heading to Amtrak’s rail retirement depot at Sodor where he will join fellow railcars Percy and Toby.