American Railway Problems in the light of European Experience or Government Regu
American Railway Problems in the light of European Experience or Government Regu
American Railway Problems in the light of European Experience or Government Regu

American Railway Problems in the light of European Experience or Government Regu

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American Railway Problems in the light of European Experience or Government Regu
American Railway Problems in the light of European Experience or Government Regulations vs Govt operation of Railways By Carl Vrooman Hard Cover 376 Pages 1910
THE purpose of this work is to present the broader economic, political and social aspects of our railway problem, while leaving in the background those technical and administrative questions which must remain largely the same, whether we adhere to our present policy of Government regulation or decide to embark upon a regime of public ownership and management.
While maintaining that our present experiment with State and Federal regulation should be tried out energetically and thoroughly, so as to bring it to the most successful attainable issue, at the same time I have endeavoured to make clear that the alternative of Government ownership, if brought about in a conservative and businesslike way, is very far from constituting the dangerous possibility which many railway apologists and others would have us consider it. As a matter of fact, in view of the indisputable success of State railways in Continental Europe, the assumption that we are constitutionally incapable of achieving similarly happy results would seem more like an interested prejudice or an exploded superstition than like a sound deduction from known facts.
A careful analysis has been made of various methods of railway nationalization, with a view to our avoidance in the future of anything like hasty and ill-considered action, or unbusiness like and unjust procedure, while a detailed account has been given of the powerful recent trend in Government railway circles, away from administrative red tape and inelasticity, and toward administrative autonomy, adaptability, and economic efficiency.
It was the original intention to treat the general subject of railway transportation by countries, as various other writers already had done, but upon mature consideration it was thought best to adopt the plan of taking up, one at a time, our most important and least understood railway problems, in order to focus upon each of them whatever light could be gained from the combined experience of the several European countries investigated. According to the method first contemplated, all the data conveniently obtainable at first or second hand, concerning each country, could have been joined together, for better or for worse, in the chapter devoted to that particular country. But when the particular railway problems, which seemed most vitally important, and which for one reason or another had received least satisfactory treatment from economic writers in the past, were singled out for special consideration, it was found that quantities of data already collected, would have to be discarded as not coming within the new limits assigned to the discussion, and that certain additional facts, some of them widely scattered and securely hid away in Government documents, would be absolutely indispensable to any real understanding of the questions at issue. As a consequence the adoption of the present plan, while reducing the size of the book by nearly one-half, has practically doubled the amount of work involved in the writing of it. Doubtless the reader will feel no regret at the absence of such heterogeneous historical and economic facts as thus have been weeded out, and as for the writer, he can but consider himself more than repaid for the additional work done, if by means of it there have been gained any increased definiteness and conclusiveness of treatment of the problems under discussion.
For permission to reprint magazine articles, acknowledgements are due to the editors of The Twentieth Century Magazine and McClure's Magazine.
I desire to make special mention of my indebtedness to Professor Edgard Milhaud, of the University of Geneva, to M. F. Vanderrydt, of Brussels, Chief Engineer of Material and Traction of the Belgian State railways, and to Ing. Filippo Tajani, Chief Inspector of the Italian State Railways at Genoa, for their invaluable counsel and assistance during my investigations of European railway conditions and problems. Acknowledgements are due also to Dr. M. 0. Lorenz, of the Census Bureau, Washington, D.C., who kindly read the book in manuscript and made many useful criticisms and suggestions, and to Mr. M. L. Jacobson, of the Bureau of Statistics, Washington, D.C., for his painstaking help with various translations of laws and other public documents as well as for important data furnished by him concerning Russian railways.

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