Varje gång jag åkter tåg numera, må det vara tunnelbana eller X2000, så tänker jag på den här passagen från kapitel 14 i Isaac Asimovs Prelude to Foundation (1988).
Once they were safely ensconced in an Expressway car, Seldon turned to Hummin and said, “What amazes me is how quiet the Expressways are. I realize that they are mass-propelled by an electromagnetic field, but it seems quiet even for that.” He listened to the occasional metallic groan as the car they were on shifted against its neighbours.
“Yes, it’s a marvelous network, “ said Hummin, “but you don’t see is at its peak. When I was younger, it was quieter than it is now and there are those who say that there wasn’t as much as a whisper fifty years ago though I suppose we might make allowance for the idealization of nostalgia.”
“Why isn’t it that way now?”
“Because it isn’t maintained properly. I told you about decay.”
Seldon frowned. “Surely, people don’t sit around and say, ‘We’re decaying. Let’s let the Expressways fall apart.’“
“No, they don’t. It’s not a purposeful thing. Bad spots are patched, decrepit coaches refurbished, magnets replaced. However, it’s done in more slapdash fashion, more carelessly, and at greater intervals. There just aren’t enough credits available.”
“Where have the credits gone?”
“Into other things.”
Prelude to Foundation är en kraftigt underskattad bok, för övrigt.