It made headlines as the site of a botched assassination attempt, an improvised off-Broadway stage, and hiding place for a president who disappeared from the Oval Office without telling anyone.

Published: September 27, 2021 11:26 AM |

Last updated: September 27, 2021 11:26 am

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Capitol Hill employees are seen in a subway car at the US Capitol in Washington DC. (Photo | AFP)

WASHINGTON: Haunted by presidents, Supreme Court judges and the occasional movie star, it’s the mode of transport of choice for some of the world’s most powerful creators – yet few Americans know it exists.

The Capitol Subway System, a network of trolleys in the fluorescent bowels of the maze of 600-room Washington Congress, has transported politicians back and forth for more than a century. It made headlines as the site of a botched assassination attempt, an improvised off-Broadway stage, and a hideout for a president who disappeared from the Oval Office without telling anyone.

“Children love it, so there is always.” Senators willing to bring family members with young children, nieces, and nephews to ride on the Senate Historic Bureau, AFP said.

The trail stretches 3,100 feet – a shadow under a kilometer – with a 90 – Skipping a second between stations, just enough for serious political debate, idle gossip, an impromptu press conference, or a moment of silent reverie.

“Make sure you get on the train to go to work in a different context where you have that moment where you can just sit for a minute and think – or sit down and chat casually. The Capitol train served that purpose too. “Over time,” Holt said.

It also provides useful photo opportunities for presidential candidates who want to show the common touch, like Ronald Reagan, albeit a boyish JFK – then only simple old Senator Jack Kennedy – denied entry and scolded for “standing by for the Senators.” son. “

Today the busy Central Station is open when the Senate is in session. Journalists are patiently waiting for MPs to disembark to vote in the House of Lords. But underground political discourse isn’t always as sociable as it is in the Senate.

In 1950, Maine Senator Margaret Chase Smith prepared to reprimand her fellow Republican, Joe McCarthy, as the intimidating anti-communist crusader and slanderer saw her in a subway car. “Margaret, you look very serious,” Smith later recalled, according to Holt, of McCarthy. “Are you going to give a speech?” “Yeah,” she replied, “and you won’t like it very much.”

Three years earlier, the subway had seen its only recorded attempted assassination when the disgruntled ex-Capitol cop William Kaiser opened fire from a pistol 22 caliber opened on hopeful President John Bricker.

The Ohio Senator took cover in the waiting subway car and yelled at the driver to get him away when a second bullet whistled over his head . “Only luck and the bad marksmanship of his attacker saved the senator,” reported the New York Times after the shooter fled the scene only to be arrested later. Bahn seen as a kind of refuge from the hectic pace of Washington politics. William Howard Taft, the 27th President, alerted aides on a Saturday in January 1911 when he was missing for about an hour in order to inspect the trains Haus brought the answer that the president was nowhere to be found. The alarm spread like a forest fire, “reported the Washington Times at the time.

The first subway opened on March 7, 1909, for senators hoping to punish them Avoiding Washington’s heat as they walked between their offices and the House of Lords. Studebaker electric cars were replaced with a single-track monorail three years later, and in 1960 officials added four $ 75,000 electric subway cars – dubbed “democracy’s fast chariots” by the Senate minister.

Five years later, a line of houses connected the Rayburn House Office Building to the Capitol, and in 1993 a $ 18 million Disneyland-style driverless train was introduced to a great roar.

Not all supported these improvements. Some senators grumbled about bumpy drives while others complained that gusts of wind had ruined their delicately coiffed hair. Mike DeWine of Ohio banned his employees from driving in protest at government waste.

In addition to the future presidents, the system’s famous patrons include actors Richard Gere, Chuck Norris and Denzel Washington, satirist Jon Stewart and the Rock star Bono.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, the Tony Award winning creator of the hit musical “Hamilton,” decided to take a midnight ride and blare show tunes for his Twitter followers when he was in the building in 2017, to receive an award.

Some Capitol Hill employees see the sophistication of subway interactions less as health-conscious politicians increasingly walk between buildings with pedometers. But the clientele will never really go away as long as the urgent task of managing the land requires busy people to be in 10 locations at the same time. “If you’re in a hurry, that’s great,” Holt told AFP.

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