WASHINGTON—In response to a decline in revenue from routes running between the two disparate planes of existence, Amtrak announced Friday that it plans to cancel the mysterious, mist-enshrouded trains offering late-night service into the darkest realms of the spirit.
The trains, which according to Amtrak timetables leave once daily at the stroke of midnight, their headlamps cutting through thick tendrils of billowing fog as they travel nonstop to points along their accursed route, will cease all operations September 1 as part of an effort to better allocate resources.
“The cost-cutting measures we’ve introduced today include the termination of service to all stops between Amtrak terminals and the domain of shadows that drives men to complete and utter madness,” CEO Charles Moorman told reporters during a press conference. “The fuel required for these long journeys to ominous and inexplicable destinations within the spirit realm greatly increases our operating costs, as does the need to staff each car with the ghosts of our passenger’s deceased relatives.”
“Service will continue through the end of the month,” he added. “At that point, any pained, restless mortals unable to find a moment of solace since the horrible accident on the eve of their wedding will have to make other travel arrangements.”
“The cost-cutting measures include the termination of service to all stops between Amtrak terminals and the domain of shadows that drives men to complete and utter madness.”
According to financial records, the Hereafter Regional Line, which originates in a faint hazy glow in the distance and makes stops along the void bridging the worlds of the living and the dead, has been operating at a loss since the early 2000s. Though its service has been curtailed over the years, the train’s stops have been known to include a deserted station at which a faceless man in a frock coat waits to board, a perfectly still moonlit lake, a manor house in which the motionless silhouette of a young woman can be seen in the only lighted window, and a gaping chasm from which one can hear the tortured screams of the damned.
Officials confirmed they had been unsuccessful with a recent fiscal plan to rein in expenses by running fewer trains during solstices and on the anniversary of the ill-fated night all those years ago when one’s life went horribly, horribly wrong.
Compounding the line’s economic woes are its aging 19th-century locomotives, which reportedly require constant maintenance in order to continue barreling down the tracks at ever faster speeds while the banshee’s screech of metal upon metal echoes the wails of the accursed souls onboard. Sources added that the track, portions of which curve around forgotten graveyards with half-uprooted tombstones or corkscrew straight up into the night sky, cannot easily be shared by other Amtrak lines, leaving the track largely unused and unprofitable during daylight hours.
“These days, a lot fewer people are being drawn into an abandoned rail yard by the beguiling whisper of their lost loves only to find themselves emerging into a flickering phantasm of Grand Central Station in the 1940s,” said Moorman, noting that Amtrak had struggled to shift from a rider base of spectral gangsters and Civil War soldiers reliving their final moments on earth to millennials. “Unfortunately, that means this service will no longer be available to customers on their way to meet the hollow-eyed ferryman who, if you cross his palm with silver, will take you on harrowing journeys that pierce the veil of death, but that’s a reality we have to face.”
“Often there won’t be a single person waiting on the platform when our conductors shamble off the train and hold their lanterns aloft in long, skeletal fingers,” he continued. “So clearly our current approach isn’t working.”
While Moorman acknowledged that canceling the routes would inconvenience many otherworld commuters, he said Amtrak planned to ease the transition by running a shuttle service to and from the land of everlasting torment through November.
He went on to state that customers who had exchanged their most cherished memory for a ticket on the now-defunct line would receive full credit for their fond reminiscence and be allowed to apply it to the fare of any other Amtrak route.