Moloch Street Train Line Customer Service Review

This isn’t a review of The Twelve-Fifteen From Moloch Street, which is one of my favorite Exceptional Stories. Rather, this is a review of the Moloch Street Station train line from the prospective of a passenger.

The train is fairly fast, which is not a good thing unless you’re a Devil, so this is not a point in its favor. The scenery along the route is just awful, ranging from the simply depressing to the positively lethal:

There is naturally no sightseeing and bad things might happen if the train breaks down and you go to stretch your legs. Hell has a ton of interesting sights, but they are mostly horrible and do horrible things to you, so the dismal condition of the surrounding countryside is even more depressing.

First class is comfortably well furnished. Even utilitarian features of the train are rather pleasant to look upon, the gas lights and pipes having a whimsical Art Nouveau design. Second class is less ostentatious, but still reasonably furnished with leather seats. There are only two classes as the line doesn’t get very many passengers, for obvious reasons.

The train staff are incredibly polite and somewhat professional in performing their jobs. I say only ‘somewhat’ because they do systematically strip your luggage of anything remotely valuable. I know the passengers won’t need their possessions where they’re going, but at least the demons could have the bl___y decency to wait until the train actually arrives at Hell before robbing them!

The train’s one great amenity is its bottle after bottle of complimentary brandy. There’s absolutely no mystery about why the Moloch line has this generous policy. Being on a train to Hell and normally lacking someone to take vengeance upon, your average passenger has three choices: privately dwell on the poor life decisions that led them to this point, socialize with their equally doomed and miserable fellow passengers, or get bl___y wasted on free booze. Not a very hard choice, that.

The train staff also serve tea in the afternoon and will hand out cigars to anyone making the trip back, which is fairly nice. One would expect the Devils to be rather stingy on the return trip in which the train is late, but no, they do their part to make the occasion somewhat celebratory. How sporting of them. Presumably the occupants of first class enjoy superior attention as they can ring for room service, whereas second class passengers are served on a schedule.

Unfortunately here is no dining car. The only solid food the train serves are some biscuits, which are merely “passable.” Clearly the passengers are expected to dine in Hell and I can’t help but suspect this to be another bit of Devil humor :P It’s not as if the Devils and their human allies are bad cooks, Dante’s Grill is one of London’s premiere restaurants after all. Whatever the reason, it’s another strike against the Moloch line that they can’t even be bothered to give you a bl___y last meal.

First class is much more comfortable than second class. First class has gaslight, while the second class carriage is lit by candles and hence somewhat smoky. Then there’s this lovely detail:

Golden cages, some cute Hellish humor there. But what caught my attention is that these beds are up against the boiler room and hence getting a share of the engine’s inordinate heat. So, in addition to being a visual metaphor of your current situation, the beds are also uncomfortably hot, providing a taste of your rapidly approaching future.

Now, I considered it possible that the bed placement is actually supposed to be comfortable, as the Neath can be pretty chilly. But the fact that the more comfortable first class is the farthest carriage from the engine car, the inverse of how train cars are usually placed, argues against the second class beds being comfortable. After all, if being next to the boiler was a boon then that’s where the first class beds would be. There is something of a weird dichotomy between the generosity of the crew and these subtle hints that the second class quarters were designed in an intentionally sadistic manner.

So all in all, taking the Moloch line is not the best experience, given the uneven quality of its compartments and services. However, things could easily have been far worse, given that the train line doesn’t have all that many repeat human customers and so could presumably get away with dismal service and no amenities, as their customers are literally damned to Hell forever and never coming back. For this reason I couldn’t help but wonder why the Devils bothered making the train so relatively comfortable.

Part of it, particularly the staff’s passing out of complimentary cigars, I can’t help but suspect to be the result of simple Infernal pride. No one is going to accuse Hell’s railway of being shabby to its customers or being a sore loser! But I think the main reason for things like the booze, the tea and the various first class comforts is to try and keep the passengers mostly sedated in order to avoid any losses from heart attacks, suicides, rebellions or sabotage attempts. The fact that the trains actually carry coffins with them suggests that death is a fairly unremarkable occurrence. I wouldn’t be surprised if the amenities and petty torments were chosen based upon a calculation for keeping this death rate at the absolute bare minimum.

Conclusion: The Moloch line is adequate for taking you to your eternal damnation and surprisingly pleasant on the return journey should you fail to arrive on time, but that’s the best that can be said for it. Travel first class, bring your own lunch, and keep an eye out for opportunities for sabotage in order to have the best possible experience.
edited by Anne Auclair on 1/28/2017