The purpose of FEMA trains is to transport huge numbers of American citizens to concentration camps, according to a conspiracy theory concerning their existence. This theory contends that there is a secret plan in place for the Federal Emergency Management Agency to seize control of the government during a staged national emergency and for the agency to use to trains for moving large numbers of political opponents and citizens to concentration camps located near rail hubs across the nation.
The trains consist of multiple levels of benches equipped with shackles to accommodate large numbers of prisoners at one time, and the restoration of railroad tracks abandoned long ago are evidence of their existence, according to proponents of this theory. They further contend that plans are in place for FEMA to seize control of the government and declare martial law, and that the proximity of concentration camps to major rail hubs such as Los Angeles, Seattle, Indianapolis, New York and Washington, D.C., is no coincidence, but an efficient method of eliminating opposition modeled after Nazi Germany and Stalin's power consolidation in the Soviet Union.
The conspiracy theory seems to have its origins in the curious timing of Congressional testimony in which FEMA officials advised that the agency’s evacuation plans called for the use of passenger trains, the appearance of mysterious multi-tiered trains that turned out to be “auto”-trains used to ship automobiles to and from piers, and a general shift in public opinion against the agency and the federal government over its handling of Hurricane Katrina and the war in Iraq.