John W. Barriger III: Railroad Legend

John W. Barriger III: Railroad Legend

John W. Barriger III: Railroad Legend

John W. Barriger III: Railroad Legend

Synopsis

In John W. Barriger III: Railroad Legend, historian H. Roger Grant details the fascinating life and impact of a transportation tycoon and "doctor of sick railroads."

After graduating from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, John W. Barriger III (1899-1976) started his career on the Pennsylvania Railroad as a rodman, shop hand, and then assistant yardmaster. His enthusiasm, tenacity, and lifelong passion for the industry propelled him professionally, culminating in leadership roles at Monon Railroad, Pittsburgh and Lake Erie Railroad, Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad and the Boston and Maine Railroad. His legendary capability to save railroad corporations in peril earned him the nickname "doctor of sick railroads," and his impact was also felt far from the train tracks, as he successfully guided New Deal relief efforts for the Railroad Division of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation during the Depression and served in the Office of Defense Transportation during World War II. Featuring numerous personal photographs and interviews, John W. Barriger III is an intimate account of a railroad magnate and his role in transforming the transportation industry.

Excerpt

In December 1976 the American railroad industry mourned the death of John W. Barriger iii, one of its best known, most talented, and most beloved figures. He was viewed by many as “selfless, scholarly, and dedicated.” Said a coworker, “If you asked me to name the most giving (especially to newly minted railroaders), knowledgeable, bright, interesting guy, it would be very easy, jwb iii.” Hardly surprising - Barriger had received numerous awards during his nearly sixty-year professional career, including the prestigious “Railroad Man of the Year” in 1968 from the popular trade journal Modern Railroads.

After graduating from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1921, this St. Louis, Missouri (technically Dallas, Texas), native wore many hats, and in the process he became an executive “boomer.” Barriger had been a rising employee of the Pennsylvania Railroad; a Wall Street financial analyst; architect of the Prince Plan for railroad consolidation; head of the Railroad Division of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation; associate director of the Division of Railway Transport for the Office of Defense Transportation; manager of the Diesel Locomotive Division of Fairbanks-Morse Corporation; president of the Chicago, Indianapolis & Louisville (Monon), Pittsburgh & Lake Erie, MissouriKansas-Texas (Katy), and Boston & Maine railroads; vice president of the New York, New Haven & Hartford (New Haven) and Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific (Rock Island) railroads; and associated with the Federal Railroad Administration. Since the 1930s he had gained a national reputation as a public speaker on railroad and regulatory topics, and his 1956 book, Super-Railroads for a Dynamic American Economy, became . . .

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