Twilight of the Great Trains By Fred Frailey Hard Cover 1998 192 Pages

Twilight of the Great Trains By Fred Frailey Hard Cover 1998 192 Pages

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Twilight of the Great Trains By Fred Frailey Hard Cover 1998 192 Pages
 
Twilight of the Great Trains By Fred Frailey Hard Cover 1998 192 Pages
The view from 1960, KCS UP SP Santa Fe  MKT MP Burlington NP GN Southern ACL SAL B&O C&O NYC PRR NH Amtrak INDEXED
At the dawn of the seventh decade of the twentieth century, a transportation icon that had served the public well since the presidency of Andrew Jackson stood in a precarious way. I'm speaking of the passenger train, of course, and it was beginning to totter. In 1944, near the end of World War II, 74 percent of intercity travel by public transport was by rail. By 1949 the rail share had fallen to 48 percent, and by 1960, to 29 percent.
Most people wouldn't have known this. Those who still wanted to travel by train retained plenty of choices. The hemorrhaging occurred on the margin, the all-Pullman trains of railroads such as New York Central and Santa Fe adding coaches, while marginal trains serving the least purpose disappeared altogether. All of the better trains had been reequipped with new cars and locomotives since the war, and they remained in service. But now the wear and tear was showing.
So without doubt, the 1960s would test the commitment of Americans to passenger trains, not to mention the willingness of railroad management to offer a service that people wanted to patronize. The
popular notion was that railroads didn't give a damn Railroad presidents stood somewhere between cemetery lot salesmen and carnival pitchmen in public esteem, and the common wisdom was that passenger trains weren't doing well because their owners didn't want them to. Why, with a little bit of enthusiasm and some buckets of paint (not to mention charm schools for on-board employees), the passenger problem would heal itself. This, at least, was the popular opinion uttered by editorial writers.
Twilight of the Great Trains examines that premise. You'll see how 11 railroad systems withstood or welcomed, fought or embraced the inevitable decline of their passenger services. No two railroads reacted quite the same way. Heroes and villains abound on the pages that follow. You will be looking over their shoulders-second-guessing them, even. And maybe in reading this your assumptions about what was killing the intercity passenger train will be tested. That, at least, was the case during the sixties with perhaps the nation's best known railfan, an introverted and introspective magazine editor named David P. Morgan.

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