Imagine going to a railroad station in the future,and buying a ticket to ride a train. Let's suppose you're going from Detroit to Chicago. But,remember,this story takes place in the future. Let's assume that the price of diesel fuel has skyrocketed,and let's suppose that a gallon of fuel doesn't cost three or four dollars like it did way back in 2010. Let's suppose a gallon of precious fuel costs more like 30 or 40 dollars. So,a train ticket would be a very expensive item,since trains run on fuel,and the cost of fuel went sky-high. Not to worry. This train ticket won't cost you a fortune,because this train does not require any fuel at all. This is a human-powered train.

When you get inside,the first thing you notice is the set of pedals on the floor in front of your seat. When you sit down,you settle back in the wide,comfortable chair. You stretch your legs out,and put your feet on the pedals. Actually,this is going to be rather easy. It's a little bit like riding a bicycle! You won't be alone at the task of providing power for the huge train. You are only one of five hundred passengers on board,and all of you will be pedaling simultaneously. Seems impossible? You would be amazed at how much power can be obtained from the leg muscles of five hundred people who are all pedaling at the same time. After you sit down,a train attendant dressed like an airline stewardess asks everyone to 'please be seated'. Then the conductor shouts,"All Aboard!" That is the final notice to get on board,and take your seats.

The train attendant says everyone should start pedaling. When you bought the train ticket,you signed an agreement that said you agreed to pedal during the entire trip,so you are obligated to pedal. You will not have to pedal continuously,though. You are entitled to a ten-minute rest break once every hour. During these rest breaks you are allowed to get out of your seat,and use the restroom. After the train attendant tells the passengers to start pedaling,everyone starts to pedal. There are fifty people in your train car,and there are ten cars in the entire train,for a total of five hundred people. The passengers pedal for a minute or two,and the train doesn't go anywhere. Finally,the engineer puts the train in gear,and the entire train slowly starts to move forward.

The set of pedals on the floor in front of you resembles a set of bicycle pedals,and they are connected to an electrical generator located under the floor. When you pedal,the energy produced by your leg muscles is converted into electricity. The electricity produced by your generator goes through cables to electric motors that drive the train. As five hundred people crank their pedals simultaneously,the train is supplied with a massive amount of electricity. Soon,the train is traveling at more than a hundred miles per hour. Although you have to pedal,it's as easy as riding a bicycle,and unlike riding a bike,you are sheltered from the wind,rain and cold while you're inside the train. A few hours after leaving Detroit,you arrive at your destination in Chicago. Your train trip consumed no fuel whatsoever,it did not pollute the air,and it did not contribute to global warming. Welcome to the rail transportation system of the future.