By THOMAS F. WOODLOCK
IT WOULD be unsafe to say of the railroad system of the United States that it had arrived at that stage where growth ceases and its condition approaches the static. Nevertheless, it is reasonably clear that it has passed the stage of adolescence and that its growth from now on will be relatively slow, depending upon the country's growth in population and the improvement in the living standards of the people. This would be true in any event, but the advent of new competitors in the field of transportation makes it quite certain that a new phase has opened in the history of the industry, and that it is no longer safe to rely upon the past as a guide to the future of railroad traffic and earnings. It has become evident of late years that the "curves" of traffic which in the thirty years or so prior to 1921 showed practically continuous ascent have in the last ten years notably "flattened," quite apart from the special influences of motor competition in passenger traffic and truck competition in merchandise and certain forms of carload freight traffic.
If we observe the shifts in carload traffic between