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About CSSmith

  • Rank
    Train Attendant

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Villisca, Iowa
  • Interests
    Understanding how to make the system work well and grow. Enjoying it when it does work now.
  1. Clearly, the members of the ICC in the forties and fifties should have been shot and the buildings burnt down and salt scattered on the ground so that nothing of it could ever spring up again. What made the ICC irrelevant and clearly wrong-headed was the rise the highway system with trucks and automobiles and the rise of aviation. At that point rail had competitors and no longer needed to be forced to be a common carrier and regulated to protect its users from its monopoly status. It may be unduly charitable to describe Amtrak as an attempt to "save" passenger rail. As Rush Loving's reporting makes clear, many of those involved regarded Amtrak as a pot into which all passenger rail activity could be consolidated and then eliminated. As Loving also reports, one of the effects of Watergate was that many railroad leaders were sadly disappointed because Nixon and company put abolishing Amtrak on hold and let passenger rail service survive. The question of the government putting "excessive regulations on the railroad" is more complicated. When the railroads held an effective monopoly on long distance transportation, the only survivable arrangement was to treat them as regulated public utilities. Theodore Vail touched on some of this when he was inventing the concept of a regulated public utility as part of his creation of AT&T. I'm traveling so don't have my library handy to provide footnotes, but some of Peter Drucker's exegesis of these ideas still applies in particular to the arguments over the current Senate proposals for narrow extensions of STB regulatory authority.
  2. This is a wonderful resource, and beautifully executed. It is a rare pleasure to be able to view in full resolution. Thank you very much. Thank you also for the nicely conceived and well run AmtrakUnlimited website. Is anyone aware of online editions of Railway Guides for those of us who need pre-Amtrak schedule data?