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1961 Chet Huntley report on Passenger Railroad

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One could get the impression that the more things change the more they remain the same...

 

Railroads: End of the Line? (1961) CBS News

 

It is illustrative to consider how many of the discontinued systems have been or are being painstakingly rebuilt with new technology. Case in point, the Los Angeles - Long Beach Line is now essentially the LA Metro Blue Line.

 

Most of LIRR, New Haven and NYC/Conrail commuter service has been preserved with tremendously upgraded equipment on the East Shore, not so much on the West Shore. The PRR commuter service has been substantially preserved, the CNJ and Erie Lackawanna has been partly preserved, while Reading is lost completely at the NJ end, while substantially preserved at the Philadelphia end.

 

It does call out the chaos that was and to some extent still is, the management of transportation around New York, and there still is not real fix in sight.

 

Interestingly they are already talking of what came to be BART in 1961. Fascinating to see how reality matches with the vision - or not.

 

OTOH, there seems to be no mention of any planning for WMATA around Washington DC or anything in LA, presumably because they had not quite been conceived yet and were far in the future.

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The re-birth of commuter railroads shows how predictions and thinking from the time they were discontinued turned out to be widely off the mark.

 

This is a reason that I feel abandoned ROWs need to be railbanked, unless it beyond all doubt that they will never be required again.

 

Systems such as DART would never have been able to grow so quickly had they not been able to use abandoned ROWs for significant portions of the system.

Edited by cirdan

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Pinellas County Fl. replaced a couple of their old tracks with bike trails. I guess someone may have been thinking ahead, since we could convert back to Rails in the future! What have your communities done with your old tracks?

Edited by Rail Freak

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What a great time capsule of history, thanks so much jis, for finding and posting it!

And....good night, Chet...where ever you are.... :)

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One could get the impression that the more things change the more they remain the same...

 

Railroads: End of the Line? (1961) CBS News

 

It is illustrative to consider how many of the discontinued systems have been or are being painstakingly rebuilt with new technology. Case in point, the Los Angeles - Long Beach Line is now essentially the LA Metro Blue Line.

 

Most of LIRR, New Haven and NYC/Conrail commuter service has been preserved with tremendously upgraded equipment on the East Shore, not so much on the West Shore. The PRR commuter service has been substantially preserved, the CNJ and Erie Lackawanna has been partly preserved, while Reading is lost completely at the NJ end, while substantially preserved at the Philadelphia end.

 

It does call out the chaos that was and to some extent still is, the management of transportation around New York, and there still is not real fix in sight.

 

Interestingly they are already talking of what came to be BART in 1961. Fascinating to see how reality matches with the vision - or not.

 

OTOH, there seems to be no mention of any planning for WMATA around Washington DC or anything in LA, presumably because they had not quite been conceived yet and were far in the future.

 

anybody else notice that the train at 16:20 in the movie is German?

 

I guess the usage of stock footage for documentaries isn't just a laziness of our present times.

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Here in Austin, like lots of the Cities in the US, they paved over the old Trolley ( Streetcar)Tracks.

 

And the Late,Great Armadillo Buses, which were stupidly sold to San Antonio😣, were a great way to get around downtown for Tourists and Locals.

 

The Light Rail Red line, our only Transportation Improvement since the Armadillos, makes use of old Freight Tracks, which were updated to the tune of a Billion Dollars by another crack Transportation outfit, Capitol Metro.

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People who haven't watched the video yet might at least want to watch from 48:40 on -- that's the interior of New York Penn Station. (Pretty sure Chet Huntley is standing in front of a projection screen there, and was not actually in the station himself.)

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Pinellas County Fl. replaced a couple of their old tracks with bike trails. I guess someone may have been thinking ahead, since we could convert back to Rails in the future! What have your communities done with your old tracks?

One line in my town, a Great Northern branch line that was abandoned in 1966 was partially converted to a walking/biking trail. Another line, Union Pacific branch line that was abandoned in 2006 following a trestle fire that severed the line, sits unused. This line, that ran literally right under my bedroom window, has had crossings removed at either end so will never go back to rail use. There is some contentious disagreement as to what to do with the line. I guess, for right now, it's a good place for those who want to take photos of friends and loved ones on railroad tracks, something normally (and obviously)strongly discouraged. In this case, however, there's no chance of train traffic on the line. :)

Edited by JayPea

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I agree. The movie is an absolutely amazing time document. In some cases actually pretty prophetic. Some of the points made are surprisingly far sighted and addrerss deficits that have not really been resolved to this day.

 

They don't make documentaries like that any more, do they? I'm sure today it would be continually interrupted by "can you imagine what hapapned next?" type of teasers that just insult your intelliugence and waste your time.

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They were both Templars! The Good Knight Chet and the Good Knight David.

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They were both Templars! The Good Knight Chet and the Good Knight David.

I may be the only person under 50 who gets this joke.

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