Railroads, the Free Enterprise Alternative

By Daniel L. Overbey | Go to book overview

PREFACE

The financial outlook for the railroad industry is the brightest it has been in many years, due largely to recent deregulation efforts and changes in the federal tax laws. It is not the best time to offer a treatise on the fundamental problems of the railroad industry. Still, those problems remain even if events in the past few years have made them somewhat more tolerable.

Prior to deregulation, only two policy options were available: the status quo of regulated private enterprise or nationalization. It was a question of choosing the lesser evil. Deregulation--actually a reduction of regulation, not its elimination--is an extension of the status quo in that much regulation is retained. Deregulation shows the potential for keeping railroad problems within acceptable limits. A number of knowledgeable people have doubts, however. The Interstate Commerce Commission has yet to develop a method for setting maximum rates acceptable to shippers, railroads, and the courts. Actions by some railroads have prompted calls for a reversal of recent trends and an increase in regulation. If the deregulation efforts should prove less than successful, the original options of old-style regulation or nationalization remain. The Free Enterprise Alternative offers a new option.

The Free Enterprise Alternative also offers an alternative approach to rail transportation. Simply put, it shows that a railroad need not always act like a railroad to be successful. By starting with what is routine in the other modes and not with what the railroads have always done, a new spectrum of markets and service possibilities emerges. This different perspective is useful in and of itself.

The Free Enterprise Alternative identifies those structural elements which have led to the success of the highway, water, and air transport modes--the same elements which have led to the relative decline of the railroad industry. It applies the desirable elements of those structures to the rail mode.

The ideas basic to the Free Enterprise Alternative, such as joint use of the fixed way and competition among carriers, are not new. They have been the

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Railroads, the Free Enterprise Alternative
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • New Titles From Quorum Books ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Copyright Acknowledgments v
  • Contents ix
  • Figures xi
  • Tables xiii
  • Preface xv
  • Acknowledgments xvii
  • 1 - Development of The Railway 3
  • Notes 6
  • 2 - A Product of Necessity 9
  • Notes 13
  • 3 - Degrees Of Standardization 15
  • Notes 18
  • 4 - Changing Times, 4 Changing Needs 19
  • Notes 31
  • Appendix To Chapter 4 Tables 1-4 33
  • 5 - For Everyone Else: The Typical Transportation Industry Structure 41
  • Notes 53
  • 6 - Railroad Industry Structure 55
  • Notes 65
  • 7 - Aspects of Joint Use 67
  • Notes 73
  • 8 - Aspects of Innovation 75
  • Notes 87
  • 9: Economics And Structure 91
  • Appendix To Chapter 9 109
  • 10 - In Theory, in Congress 113
  • Notes 124
  • 11 - A Proposal 127
  • 12 - Roadway Companies 131
  • 13 - Carrier Companies 147
  • Notes 161
  • 14 - Terminals 163
  • 15 - Regulation 173
  • Notes 181
  • 16 - Opportunity For Innovation 183
  • Notes 192
  • Appendix To Chapter 16 Service Alternatives For Short-Haul Traffic 195
  • 17 - The Promise And The Prospects 199
  • Notes 204
  • 18 - A Logical Conclusion 207
  • Notes 210
  • Bibliography 211
  • Index 221
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