New Book "American Railroads; Decline and Renaissance"

For topics on Class I and II passenger and freight operations more general in nature and not specifically related to a specific railroad with its own forum.

Moderator: Jeff Smith

New Book "American Railroads; Decline and Renaissance"

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Sat Jul 12, 2014 6:55 am

A new book "American Railroads; Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century" has been published and is available through the retailer of your choice.

The Wall Street Journal reviewed the work this past Wednesday: ... 1404860605

Brief passage:

These are good times for America's railroads. They are making money. Freight routes are busy. Diesel locomotives have become both more efficient and more powerful. Mile-long trains used to be considered the limit, but now trains are routinely a mile and a half or even 2 miles long. Some have gotten so heavy that they use "distributed" power—not only are there locomotives pulling the train in front but there are also remote-controlled locomotives in the middle and on the rear.

This is a remarkable turnaround for an industry that was in serious decline for most of the 20th century. Caught in a vortex of diminishing traffic, profits and investment, the railroads went from employing one million people in 1900 to 246,000 in 2000. Over the same period, the miles of track shrank by a third. Deteriorating track conditions got so bad in the 1970s that there were "standing derailments"—stationary freight cars falling off the rails thanks to rotting crossties.

In "American Railroads: Decline and Renaissance in the Twentieth Century," transportation economists Robert E. Gallamore and John R. Meyer provide a comprehensive account of both the decline and the revival. (Meyer, an acclaimed scholar at Harvard University, died in 2009, and three of the book's 13 chapters were written after his death by Mr. Gallamore.) They point to excessive government regulation of railroad rates and services as the catalyst for the industry's decay.

Retailers: ... n+r.+meyer ... 0674369375

From the Journal's review, it would appear that to whom the railroad industry is all about passenger trains, there will be little interest here, however for those of us who participate at this Forum, it could be a different story.

That it is "heap big wampum". I guess that is a "sorry bout that"
Gilbert B Norman
Posts: 13805
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 6:52 am
Location: Clarendon Hills, IL (BNSF Chicago Sub; MP 18.71)

Re: New Book "American Railroads; Decline and Renaissance"

Postby SouthernRailway » Sat Jul 12, 2014 7:45 pm

I read the book (which is available in a Nook and other e-reader versions, too). It's excellent. It includes a strong defense of freight railroads and private ownership towards the end, which I liked.

Sadly, one of the authors died a few years ago.
Posts: 1438
Joined: Fri May 27, 2011 8:27 pm

Return to General Class I and II Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest