Stop, Look and Listen: Railroad Transportation in the United States

By David Hinshaw; W. Espey Albig | Go to book overview

Chapter IX
UNECONOMIC TRAINS AND MILEAGE

THE railroads' great and growing financial problems, which include meeting increased costs of operation, the demands of labor, mounting taxes and the whittling process of rate reduction, seem insurmountable when viewed as a whole. However, when they are broken up into parts, solutions appear. One man who, for over forty years, has been an authority on railroads, their operation and their relation to the public, when asked the question how best to help the railroads financially, thought for a moment and then answered:

"I would take 100 local passenger trains off the first day, and then I would take another 100 off the second day, another 100 the third day, and so on every day until I had reduced this $250,000,000 annual loss the railroads suffer from operating these trains--trains which they are having to run now as insurance that the public has transportation if the buses and automobiles fall down."

Neither lowered rates nor improved equipment will be able to bring much of the lost short-haul passenger business back to the railroads. Either a voluntary or forced train service operated at a loss is unwise.

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