Railroads, the Free Enterprise Alternative

By Daniel L. Overbey | Go to book overview

3
DEGREES OF
STANDARDIZATION

During the latter half of the nineteenth century the railroads matured as an industry of national stature. Numbering in the thousands, railroad companies pushed back frontiers in all parts of the nation. In doing so they were forced to rely largely on their own separate ingenuity and resources in solving various technological, operational, and organizational problems. This self-reliance resulted in a great multiplicity of designs and procedures. With the criss-crossing of the continent, the individual lines found themselves becoming more and more interdependent. Conflicting standards and policies resulted in service deficiencies and higher costs. Within a thirty-year span the railroad industry resolved the major differences and established procedures for addressing future problems. This was quite possibly the greatest exercise in industrial statesmanship and self- discipline the nation has ever witnessed, resulting from the demands of the railroads themselves and not from outside authorities.


INDIVIDUALISM A NECESSITY

The extent of standardization in the United States today is taken for granted--a fact of modern life. New Jersey light bulbs fit California sockets. A motorist can drive almost anywhere and find parts for his automobile. Railroad cars and locomotives routinely cross the country in interrailroad service.

Such was not the case during the mid- 1800's. The lack of transportation and communication facilities eliminated the need for national standards. Each community had its own time, setting noon at the time the sun was directly overhead. The concept of interchangeable parts was still a new idea with only limited application.

Both freight and passengers changed cars when changing from one railroad to another. Each crew on a railroad had its own locomotive and caboose, and the equipment stayed on its assigned run except when going to

-15-

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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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