Federation Insignia

Insignia of the Amtrak Federation. Image by Pierre-Andre Tilley

The Amtrak Federation is one of the principle factions battling for control of the blue-sky world in the closing years of the 30th Century.



Starting around AD 1995, a man history remembers as George Washington Jefferson 1st became a major player in the politics of his home state of Texas. A self-proclaimed visionary who was a millionaire industrialist by the age of 30, Jefferson was also the head of the Confederate Revivalist Movement, an apparent attempt to separate Texas and any states who wished to join it from the wider United States, apparently due to concerns over the policies of the government in Washington, D.C. When this political movement failed to gain any traction, Jefferson instead reconstituted it as the Freedom Foundation. The precise aims of this body remain unclear, but one of the Foundation's goals was to create an immense super-computer complex which would become the repository of all human knowledge. The AI controlling the complex was named COLUMBUS and was built several thousand feet beneath the city of Houston.

Records are unclear on how Jefferson knew that a nuclear war between the United States and Russia was inevitable, nor how an individual apparently opposed to the aims of the overall government of the United States managed to inherit so much of that country's surviving manpower and authority. All that is known is that on 17 November 2015 the United States and its enemies ceased to exist as thousands of nuclear missiles were exchanged, followed by the detonation of highly secretive 'doomsday weapons' in low orbit, which spread lethal amounts of radiation through the atmosphere. 95% of the planetary population was killed either immediately, or in the several decades of nuclear winter which followed.

Jefferson and his followers, the Four Hundred, had survived in the immense fortified bunker of COLUMBUS Centre. With typical foresight, he had stored not only immense amounts of supplies in the complex but also the means to produce and create more food by means of hydroponic processes, whilst the air supply was recycled with maximum efficiency and power was provided by immense geothermal power plants. Jefferson's leadership is credited with helping the people survive those early decades trapped underground whilst the surface was ravaged by howling winds and radioactive rainstorms, with the sun blotted out by clouds for years at a time.

Jefferson died in 2044. In the last executive orders issued before his death, he formally named the network of rail tunnels and undeground bunkers as the Amtrak Federation and committed those who followed him to the last generation to the cause of reclaiming the surface world for humanity. COLUMBUS Centre, now renamed as Houston/GC, became the capital for this great new nation.


Between 2044 and 2465 the Federation expanded mostly through the underground, increasing the size of its main divisional base at Houston/GC and laying down tunnels to surrounding areas. Although Federation scouting parties were making periodic surveys of the surface, it wasn't until AD 2465 that the Break-Out took place, when a permanant interface between the underground and the blue-sky world was established at Houston/GC. From that point on the Federation expanded both above and below ground, with the establishing of new divisional bases and way-stations.

Over the next five centuries the Federation expanded into the Pre-H states of Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Colorado and Kansas, establishing new bases as it went. The Federation built large, heavily armoured and armed wagon-trains equipped with aircraft support to help clear out the population of Southern Mutes, killing those who resisted and enslaving the remainder to work as manual labour.

War with the PlainfolkEdit

In 2989 the Federation mounted the first deep incursion of Plainfolk territory when it despatched the Lady from Louisiana on a combat mission into Wyoming. The wagon-train was trapped in an attempt to cross the Now and Then River and suffered some minor damage but heavy casualties in an assault launched by the Clan M'Call, including the loss of most of its air wing. The Lady, despite inflicting considerable casualties on the attacking Mutes, was forced to withdraw back to base.

The debacle in Wyoming made it clear to the Federation that the Plainfolk were not only more numerous and better-equipped than their southern cousins, but their summoners were also far more powerful, capable of levelling the playing field against the Federation's superior technology. To neutralise this threat, the Federation's secret intelligence service, AMEXICO, was directed to eliminate or capture the M'Call's three premiere magic-users, namely Mr Snow, Cadillac and Clearwater. Steve Brickman, a wing-man from the Lady who had spend five months as a prisoner of the M'Calls and befriended the three Mutes in question, was employed as an agent to assist this plan.

After a lengthy and complex series of events, Mr Snow was indeed eliminated, but so was Steve. The Lady from Louisiana was destroyed, and Clearwater and Cadillac remained at liberty. However, at the conclusion of these events the Federation was left in possession of the child of Steve and Clearwater, Lucas, whom they believed was the Talisman of Mute prophecy.

In 2994 the Federation began to suffer a number of unusual internal malfunctions, including several accidents involving computer-controlled mechanisms which resulted in the loss of life. The Federation began to fear that COLUMBUS was suffering from a possible malaise related to its extreme age, and attempts to isolate the cause proved fruitless.


The Amtrak Federation lays claim to the entire territory of North America, but in practice only has a permanant presence in nine of the Pre-H states and its control is only indisputable in Texas. The First Family currently lists divides the states into the following categories:

  • Inner Home State: Texas. Total control. All Mute clans killed or enslaved.
  • Outer States: Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi. Partial control. Some marauding Mute clans.
  • New Territories: Colorado, Kansas. Heavily disputed territory, way-stations established.

Although claiming these states, the bulk of the Federation's population and infrastructure remains underground in the large subterrenean cities known as divisional bases.

Federation divisional basesEdit

Federation way-stationsEdit

  • Texas: El Paso, Pecos, Redford, Sanderson, Odessa, Amarillo, Childress, San Angelo, Del Rio, Abilene, Brady, Laredo, Harlingen, Corpus Christi, Waco, Austin, Tyler, Huntsville, Lufkin, Beaumont, Texarkana.
  • Arizona: Kingman, Yuma, Page, Flagstaff, Tucson.
  • New Mexico: Farmington, Gallup, Lordsburg, Socorro, Roswell, Clayton, Tucumcan.
  • Oklahoma: Guymon, Enid, Lawton, Durant.
  • Arkansas: Fort Smith, Bull Shoals, Jonesboro, El Dorado.
  • Louisiana: Monroe, Natchitoches, Houma.
  • Mississippi: Corinth, Clarksdale, Columbus, Meridian, Natchez, Gulfport.
  • Colorado: Pueblo


The head of the Amtrak Federation is the President-General, the supreme leader of the nation who serves for life. Upon his death, the First Family appoint a successor, which usually involves an immense amount of political jockeying for position and power that often starts years, sometimes decades, before previous P-G dies. This constant political intrigue keeps the people at the top sharp and ensures that the most ruthless and intelligent members of the Family rise to the top.

The First Family controls all of the Federation's military forces and infrastructure. Family members control and run the Trail-Blazer division, the Life Institute, AMEX (the civil service) and AMEXICO (the secret intelligence service). Family members also serve as the heads of the various state governments. It is impossible for non-Family members to hold these posts, but it is possible (if incredibly rare) for members of the general populace to be adopted into the Family. This only happens under extraordinarily rare and special circumstances.

AMEX, effectively the civil service, deals with the day-to-day running of the Federation and institutes policy and orders handed down from the Family and the P-G.

Population and demographicsEdit

According to the 2985 census, the population of the Amtrak Federation was estimated at 450,000. Possibly due to a counting or assessment error, a 2991 investigation gave the figure as 750,000. No explanation has been found for this discrepency.

The lifespan of the average Tracker is approximately 45 years, although members of the First Family often live into their 80s. Trackers engaged in military operations above-ground and thus exposed to higher levels of radiation rarely make it past their 30th birthday, due to either enemy action or to radiation-induced cancer.

Military forcesEdit

The Amtrak Federation is a militaraised society where all citizens hold equivalent military ranks, even those in non-combat-related roles. However, its front-line military force is the Trail-Blazer division, which crews and mans the wagon-trains and their air wings, as well as those way-stations close to Mute territory. Trail-Blazers are heavy combat troops chosen for their ability to operate on the overground unhindered by agoraphobia. However, their exposure to surface radiation means that they have a shorter lifespan than those who rarely leave the earthshield.

The numbers of Trail-Blazers are uncertain, but there are at least 20,000 of them serving in the Federation's fleet of wagon-trains plus an unknown number crewing the front-line way-stations.

The Pioneer battalions serve as a secondary military force. Whilst their primary purpose is engineering work and resupply, the Pioneers are also given combat training and are usually used to man way-stations in pacified or friendly territory. The numbers of the Pioneers are unknown.


In the 1998 reissue of the series, the Amtrak Federation is renamed the Lone Star Confederation for unknown reasons, although here was speculation that the real-life Amtrak corporation was unhappy with its name being used in such a negative context. According to Patrick Tilley this was not the case. It appears that the planned film adaptation of the novels may also favour this 'new' name.

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