Kandor Automatic Railway

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KAR, the "Kandor Automatic Railroad", was a critical part of the rapid construction of The Watchtower, Old Town, and later the greater Kandor area; Kandor City in general. KAR took and takes material from the surface and sub-surface mines, to the buried autofabs, processed material to the build yards, and where needed also moves personnel and medium-sized machinery around. Over time machinery has been deliberately redesigned so it will split into modules convenient for KAR transport.

Early attempts to control the rapidly expanding network were mixed. The initial monolithic system was quickly replaced by a distributed net of controllers, but none of the classic programming methods made these operate well. Eventually a system based on a genetically programmed logistic net, which continually simulated future load, and evolved routing schemes, proved to work quite well.

Unfortunately, various contractors learned to 'play the system'. They tweaked orders and routing priorities so their competitors just couldn't keep up with them. When this was unraveled the system was re-designed, after the style of the 'Tor Project', so cargo was moved and routed anonymously; all 'routing frauds' promptly collapsed. Theft of material in transit nearly completely stopped, as well.

There were complaints that you didn't know exactly when your goods were going to arrive. That KAR was deliberately blocking people's attempts to track their goods in transit (a number of the control systems seem to take a malicious pleasure in this). But, everything seems to have worked pretty well for quite a few years now.

The 'Ghost of the Lost Commuter' is an urban legend, and a desperate face, looking out from a personal transit car, waving for help, or banging on a window to be released, is believed to be a practical joke a few people find amusing. A news crew spent weeks trying to track one down, and eventually found a number of cars with disposable holo projectors, configured to show a 'ghost'. Kandor City Tourist Department declined to comment.

The personal transit cars have proved a popular, though a little slow, way of moving around the rim of Kandor City, to a network of places under the nearby Lunar terrain, and most recently to areas within the crater. Their free use for light goods has helped a lot of local business. Transit charges are only made for moving heavy, commercial, goods, and to those who have maliciously abused the system.

When needed cars are automatically routed-off for cleaning and repair. Short-term logs, thoroughly erased, are kept of those entering and leaving cars. Carefully separated statistics are kept about the need for cleaning and repair after transit. No logs are kept of who has travelled where. AIs with designed to be erasable short-term memories watch the stations for security and safety reasons.

Commuters are sent a warning if they start causing statistically significant extra work. They have to start paying for travel and are eventually charged with malicious abuse if these warnings are ignored. This system was all carefully secured and anonymised after a transit official was blackmailing businesses with threats they'd find themselves paying for travel.

Where some get confused is the rail systems around Kandor were at one point very diverse. The construction process left many with different names, and in some cases all sorts of waved-up rolling stock. KAR was originally the light to medium non-passenger rail system, but, as time went on, it absorbed the others, with minimum conflict.

In more recent years the Heavy Cargo Transport system on the crater rim has become more lightly used, as if possible goods are split into medium-loads to go on KAR. If you want to move around quickly, then you'll use the Kandor City Maglev trains, as they run on the surface, whereas most of KAR is underground - tourists typically prefer that as well. KAR is one of the things which has contributed to Kandor City staying green.