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

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

Chapter III
RAILROAD PROBLEMS AS SEEN BY RAILROAD OFFICIALS

HOW to secure adequate net profit looms as an important railroad problem. The present business depression accentuates its importance because upon it rests the faith of the investors in railroad securities. They are legion.

When the present depression is over it will be found that many industries will make recovery, (1) by charging whatever prices the public will pay and their competitors will permit, (2) by efficient management, and (3) by the help of new inventions which permit savings in manufacturing processes. No restraining hand of regulation will be placed upon them. With the railroads the situation will be different, for the government fixed rates which limit earnings to 5¾%, and takes away half of any sum earned over 6%. Their competitors, the buses, trucks, waterways and gas pipe lines, are free to make their own rates and earn as much as they can. If the railroads effect any economies in management, these are passed on to the public in lower rates. If new inventions create machinery which will reduce the cost of manufacturing transportation units, then this saving will be passed on to labor in higher wages and to the

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