THE railroad giants of preceding generations wrought the magic of American rail transportation largely through the "courage, initiative and resourcefulness" which a modern leader says "completed the equipment of the old business leaders." The great railway systems which exist today are but the "lengthened shadows" of such men. If the facts on which they based their decisions were not carefully gathered, sifted and weighed it was due to lack of time and facilities. They did not consider the reaction of public opinion to any of their acts. Their work was in accordance with the practices and standards of that day.
These men concentrated their abilities, their fortunes, their affections upon one railroad and one section of the country. Frequently they produced profit by taking business from a competing railroad; cut-throat competition was the first law. They were not specialists in transportation; they personified transportation. When the public began trying to restrict their activities and to interfere with their methods, they went into politics. When blizzards or floods or bumper crops or other forces beyond their control taxed their operating capacity they became