Trains Magazine 1959 August Railroading into L.A.
Trains Magazine 1959 August Railroading into L.A.

Trains Magazine 1959 August Railroading into L.A.

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Trains Magazine 1959 August Railroading into L.A.
Trains Magazine 1959 August
August 1959Volume 19 Number 10
NEWS - -5
THE L.A. STORY - 2 - - -42
Railway post office 52
Second section55
Of books & trains 54
Running extra58
Interchange 58
COVER: SP's Coast Daylight en route over Santa Susana Mountains to L.A. Robert Hale.

JET is becoming increasingly difficult on an enlarging number of industry topics for a journalist to begin a sentence with "The railroads think . . ." There is no such unity of opinion on Railway Express or the $2.75 per diem rate or break-even subsidies to cover commuter losses or piggyback plans or mergers -and these items by no means exhaust the differences. The intramural battle lines are, with minor exceptions, drawn between East and West. In contrast to the technological revolution of the 1930's, the political upheaval of the 1950's casts the Eastern roads in the liberal wing of the A.A.R.
Mr. McGinnis is happy to have the Federal Government guarantee a 3-million-dollar loan for Boston & Maine improvements. Mr. Alpert is pleased to write off $900,000 of New Haven's Old Colony commuter deficits with a state subsidy and he wants more of the same - there and in New York. Mr. Perlman welcomes operation of New York Central suburban trains whose title rests with the Port Authority. In the language of the East's most lucid spokesman, Pennsy President James M. Symes, all this amounts to living with "present facts and realities -instead of by custom and tradition."
Nine hundred miles west, the Chicago camp regards such footsie-playing with Government as unjustified radicalism and alien to a proud, do-it-yourself industry tradition. The IC's and Santa Fe's and UP's want no part of Mr. Symes's proposed Federal equipment lease agency; they think the commuter's fare should cover his rail expenses; and they're confident that given regulatory freedom and the right to engage in other forms of transport, the rails can hold the line. The West is convinced that there's too much Government (e.g., the I.C.C.) in railroading now; any more is tantamount to socialism. And the West is not at all pacified by the schoolmaster pose of the onetime "Standard Railroad of the World."
To which Jim Symes replies, in effect, that it depends on whose ox is being gored. For example, Pennsy lost 44 million dollars on its passenger trains in 1958, a sum which swallowed up 79 per cent of its freight profit; Chesapeake & Ohio dropped 111h million dollars on its passenger business, a figure equal to 15 per cent of its freight income. "The answer ," says Symes, "is that they operate 38 passenger trains while we operate 725." Moreover, he insists that the ills of the East are not temporary regional pains due to a recession, but a cancer of national proportions. He notes that Union Pacific lost 43 mil
lion dollars on passenger trains last year and both Santa Fe and. Southern Pacific dropped 40 million each. And, anyway, assuming only the East is sick, "much southern and western business that originates or terminates here in the East would not move at all if it couldn't originate or terminate in the East."
(Even the embattled East is not immune to family squabbles. Pennsy likes hauling common carrier truckers on its flats and it would dearly love to merge with New York Central which, on the other hand, has a hands-off approach to both subjects.)

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