Times change and so does technology. Not only the fiber optic speedways, but also the low tech stuff as well.
I am on my way south on my favorite Bundesbahn and I noticed something. The railway tracks are built on cement pilings and not wood ones, as they once were. Gone are the days of my childhood in Canada when we would wander down railway tracks in the countryside, heading to the next village store.
I imagine the cement used now is some super duper bionic material that is completely impervious to weather conditions, all the while being amazingly strong and flexible at the same time. Strange to think of some engineer spending their time inventing such a material. Not media worthy news. Yet it is used over thousands of miles of tracks.