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

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

Chapter V
COMPETITION BETWEEN RAILROADS

COMPETITION between different railway companies is perhaps the most expensive, the least necessary and the greatest weakness in the rail transportation situation of today. The spur of competition between one railroad system and another, as some persons interviewed pointed out, has produced most of the bad practices indulged in by shippers and railroads. Also, this spirit of competition and freedom from government restraint for many years combined to help give America the best equipped and best operated railroad systems in the world. The records show that competition has been encouraged officially and unofficially. Judge Cooley, when a member of the Interstate Commerce Commission, stated in an official opinion that "the purpose of the Act to Regulate Commerce was to foster railway competition." Communities and shippers all over the nation have encouraged railway competition. It may have advantages, but it has been highly expensive in the past, and promises to become more expensive in the future.

Railroads have been operated in the United States for approximately one hundred years. For the first ninety years of this period every encouragement was given the development of competition between rail-

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