Internet Time Lines is an n-scale (1:160) short line railroad that operates a single track from Kreuzberg, Switzerland, to Berkeley, California, a distance of 1,333 scale yards (100”). At midpoint, the tracks pass through a wormhole time wrap, enabling a steam train to ply the entire route in under 15 seconds. We are not a traditional railroad.
The original right of way was a mere 3 scale yards (2 real inches) wide. In January 2013, the railroad foundation board was screwed to the top of 2”x6” plank, increasing the overall dimensions to 130” x 6”. (1,333 x 9 scale yards). We robber barons always make out on the right-of-way land that we put to other uses.
Internet Time Lines (ITL) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Internet Time Lab. The proprietor is Jay Cross. SwissMine is a major investor. SwissMine is a make-believe company that extracts intangibles from deep mines on the Swiss border. Internet Time Lines transports the raw intangibles — social and customer capital, IP, know-how, stock-market MOJO — to California for further processing and exploitation.
Just past the Swiss border, the tracks pass by boundary objects before entering the 2500′ Kreuzberg tunnel. In 1966, a splinter group of radical, German-speaking Scientologists dug the tunnel by hand to provide an alternative to the overland route constructed by Druids from Schwyz in the 12th century.
Trains began running from Berkeley to Kreuzberg and back in 1974. In 1976, ITL added a passenger service. Swiss yodelers emigrated to Berkeley and soon fondu restaurants outnumbered Thai restaurants in the Gourmet Ghetto.
On the backhaul, hippies, recovering acid-heads, and retired Black Panthers rode ITL to Kreuzberg. By 1978, governments on both sides of the border were concerned that immigrants were tarnishing their cultural values and demanded that passenger service be curtailed. A occasional private car hooks up with a freight these days.
Original ITL mainline, 2″ wide x 100″ long.
On seeing the layout, my neighbor said, “But it’s not in a circle.” Of course, no real railroads are.
Internet Time Lines runs through very expensive real estate: the top of my desk at the Internet Time Lab. That desktop is a long piece of butcher block from IKEA, perched atop three cabinets, an architectural file, and a two-drawer file cabinet. Across the back I have 24 electrical outlets.
Internet Time Lines is headquartered in former passenger car (purchased for $1 at the local hobby shop). The car is permanently anchored on the Swiss border near the Rheinfalle. The railroad avoids real estate taxes by claiming the car’s trucks are still intact and the car is “mobile.”
The Lines’ operational headquarters is a converted European car.
Outfitted by MI-6’s Q, this modest car is equipped with high bandwidth direct-to-satellite links and elaborate anti-terrorism gear.
We are a low-overhead operation. Most of the rolling stock has been thoroughly weathered to reflect this. Internet Time Lines never buys new equipment. The more battered a car, the less it costs. This gondola, filled with Swiss accounting know-how, has obviously seen a lot of miles.
Our sole locomotive is a 0-6-0 switcher from the 50s.
Construction continues in late February.
This was only three weeks ago. Foam board, patching plaster, naked sides straddle the form 2″ railroad.
Here’s the same stretch today:
The camouflaged doorways give away the secret that the Swiss Army is protecting the border and the valuable intangible mines through the tunnel. Cannon extend from the entry portal. Cows graze beside large air intake and exhaust ducts popping up in their meadow. A Swiss guard stands watch 24/7. The nondescript tunnel’s internal architecture echoes that of large warships.
Intangibles are more valuable than gold, and the Swiss are nothing if not cautious.