Modern Day Rail Road Industry Term Paper

Pages: 5 (1567 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 7  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Transportation

¶ … Railroad Industry

The modern day railroad has evolved since the earliest of the railroads in the history of the United States. Some of the railroads are remembered as paragons creating new structural framework for business operations while others are remembered for 'featherbedding' tactics among their employees. This work will present some of the earliest beginnings of modern day railroad in the United States and will follow history to the present of some of the railroad companies and as well in the policy that governs railroad transportation in the United States.

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Term Paper on Modern Day Rail Road Industry Assignment

From the moment the first tracks were laid: "...early in the morning of April 28, 1869" (the Dominance of Rails, 1865-1885, until the present time the railroad industry has charged forward across the expanse of the United States daily in its mission. In one work it is stated that: "With the success of the Erie Canal and the urge of canal building in Ohio, Indiana and Illinois as a means to transport goods and people between the East Coast cities and the West, merchants of Baltimore was that their commercial advantage of having been linked to the National Road was declining. Indeed freight hauled via cart across even the best road for relatively short distances increased sixfold the cost of goods being shipped. Thus canals linking the seaports of the East with the Mississippi River Valley were seen as a major transportation improvement that would allow the raw materials and agricultural goods of the West to be exchanged for the imports and manufactured goods flowing in from the Eastern seaboard." (Samson and Previts, 1995) the railroad is stated to have had to cross 800 miles of "difficult terrain." (Samson and Previts, 1995) in the work entitled: "The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad" it is stated that the B&O railroad was capitalized in the amount of initially in 1827:."..with $3,000,000 issue of stock..." with practically "every citizen of Baltimore" owning a share." While it is stated that: "Nothing had been attempted during the first 75 years of having the nation's history, to match the $30 million of capital invested to link the port city of Baltimore with the Ohio River..." At the same time it is related that this initiative, in the beginning faltered as it took "3 years to construct 13 miles of track" and as well that construction halted at times when funds were low and physical obstacles presented as well. (Samson and Previts, 1995; paraphrased) Stated to be a great contribution of the B&O railroad is the "managerial information and the achievement of an efficient cost structure." (Samson and Previts, 1995) Noted as well is Albert Fink, "famous for his design of iron bridges" and who has been assigned the title of "The Father of Cost Accounting." (Galambos and Pratt, 1986, p.48; as cited in Samson and Previts, 1995)

II. The 'Reading Lines'

Another railroad company in the early days of the railroad was the Reading Company originally known as "The Philadelphia and Reading Railroad in 1833" (Reading Company.: A Brief History, nd) the railroad was established for the purpose of transporting anthracite coal. It was this railway line that "evolved into a mighty corporation serving eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware." (Reading Company.: A Brief History, nd) This railway "with its great complex of shops for locomotives and car building and repair, and constant advances in railroad technology...held a position of leadership in the railroad industry for over a century." (Reading Company.: A Brief History, nd) it was this company that attracted investors such as the "robber barons" in the late 1800's such as "Carnegie and Vanderbilt." (Reading Company.: A Brief History, nd) in 1971 this railroad company declare bankruptcy and was taken over as part of CONRAIL 1 April 1976, (Reading Company.: A Brief History, nd; paraphrased) the following chart lists the companies generally known as the 'Reading Lines'.

The 'Reading Lines'

Atlantic City RR

Catasaqua and Fogelsville RR

The Gettysburg and Harrisburg Rwy

The North East Pennsylvania RR

Perkiomen RR

The Philadelphia and Chester Valley RRThe Philadelphia, Newtown, and New York RR

Pickering Valley RR

The Port Reading RRReading and Columbia RR

Stony Creek RR

The Williams Valley RR

The Delaware River Ferry Co. Of New Jersey

Philadelphia and Reading Rwy

The Chester and Delaware River RR

Middletown and Hummelstown RR

The Rupert and Bloomsburg RR

The Tamaqua, Hazleton and Northern RR

The Norristown Junction RR

The Philadelphia and Frankfurt RR

The Philadelphia, Harrisburg, and Pittsburgh RR

The Schuylkill and Lehigh RR

Shamokin, Sunbury and Lewisburg RR

New York Short Line RR

Norristown and Main Line Connecting RR

Reading Belt RR

Source: Reading Company Technical & Historical Society (nd)

III. The Union Railroad

Called the: "...largest and most magnificent steam locomotives ever built..." The Union Pacific 'Big Boy 4-8-8-4 Steam Engine" pulled "large tonnage over the 1.55% continuous grade up Sherman Hill between Cheyenne and Laramie Wyoming." These engines ran on the North-East Union Pacific railways. The Union Railroad as its exists in the present is a result from five railroads uniting during the period from 1906 to 1915. Presently this railroad is owned by Transtar, Inc. which is a privately owned transportation holding company that serves the needs "of the steel, utility, mining, and chemical industries, although other business supplements this core." (Union Railroad, nd) the Central Railroad of New Jersey was formed in 1849 when two New Jersey railroads consolidated. This railroad became "part of the Conrail system in 1976." (Central Railroad of New Jersey, nd)

IV. The Interstate Commerce Commission and the Pennsylvania Railroad

Churella (2006) relates that in the period of the 1920s and 1930s an attempt was made, although be it an unsuccessful one, by the Pennsylvania Railroad to "become a multi-modal transportation company with investments in truck lines, buses, and air travel. " This failure is stated to be blamed by: "...historians, political scientists and economists..." On "the intransigence of either stubbornly traditional railroad managers or overly bureaucratic regulators." (Churella, 2006) the Pennsylvania Railroad had what it took to become an intermodal transporter more so than any other railroad according to Churella, however resolution of certain problems and specifically the 'weak road, strong-road' problem or the problem that: "...not all railroads were equal." (Churella, 2006) Specifically, some of the railroads were not equipped with efficient locomotives and cars as well as the fact that some railroads were: "undercapitalized and plagued by outdated equipment." (Churella, 2006) During 1932 Calvin Coolidge, Alfred Smith and Bernard Baruch formed the National Transportation Committee and since "new modes of transpiration ensured that 'governmental fostering of competition is no longer necessary as a defense against monopoly'" it was decided that "Railroads should be permitted to own and operate competing services, including water, bus, and truck lines in order to provide the most efficient service at the lowest competitive cost." (Churella, 2006)

III. Economic Downturn of Railroad Blamed on $500 million in annual 'Featherbedding'

Reported in a Time Report in partnership with CNN News entitled: "Make-Work Imperils Economic Growth" published Monday, August 3, 1959 is: "When Rock Island railroadmen complained about their corncob-filled mattresses half a century ago, they unknowingly baptized a working practice that is as old as man's labor and as fresh as this week's news. Chided the trainmaster: "What do you want - featherbed?" stated: "Modern-day featherbedding got its grip on industry as labor's answer to old-time management abuses such as the speedup, spread far and wide during World War II's crash production and cost-plus contracts." (Time & CNN, 1959) it is additionally stated that: "It is by no means an American phenomenon; featherbedding pervades many segments of labor in foreign countries, often disguised behind the Iron Curtain to create the illusion of full employment." (Time & CNN, 1959) According to the Interstate Commerce Commission: "...rail… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Modern Day Rail Road Industry" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Modern Day Rail Road Industry.  (2007, July 30).  Retrieved January 16, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Modern Day Rail Road Industry."  30 July 2007.  Web.  16 January 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Modern Day Rail Road Industry."  July 30, 2007.  Accessed January 16, 2021.