Future of American Railroads

Archive Report

State of Present Difficulties

Government's Reappraisal of Its Rail Aid

No form of transportation is more deeply ingrained in the national consciousness than the railroad. Trains evoke in most of us a sense of romance, a yearning for freedom and movement. Even after three-quarters of a century which has become increasingly dominated by other modes of transportation, trains still hold doggedly to their unique and symbolic role. Nevertheless, America's railroad industry is in trouble. During this decade, seven lines serving the Northeast and parts of the Midwest have tumbled into bankruptcy.1 The most highly publicized of these bankruptcies, the financial collapse of the Penn Central in 1970, was the largest business failure in American history.2 Its effect was magnified by the ensuing collapse of the six ...

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