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The Future of Rail Passenger Service in the West 1966
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HSSRAIL
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The Future of Rail Passenger Service in the West 1966
 
« on: Jul 23rd, 2017, 11:58pm »
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July 23, 2017 CDT
 
Southern Pacific sponsored a study through Stanford called:
 
The Future of Rail Passenger Traffic in the West.
 
It was written by:
 
Ely M. Brandes
Alan E Lazar
 
Does anyone know about these author's background and whether or not Airlines or their associations had anything to do with writing this report?
 
Thank you?


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HwyHaulier
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Re: The Future of Rail Passenger Service in the West 1966
 
« Reply #1 on: Jul 25th, 2017, 9:56am »
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HSSRAIL - Lodge Members -
 
With this ESPEE funded study, any actual date of publication? Title of the work? Perhaps available in Stanford Library?
 
Recall, at least three major lines with new equipment, into service in mid 1950 era. ESPEE likely with in house thinking  
that much of its own DAYLIGHT fleet reaching replacement ages. At the time, ESPEE regarded with running a most  
conservative management style...
 
Recall these two Presidents of the line, and the dates:  Donald Russell (1952-1964)  Benjamin Biaggini (1964-1976)
 
The air carriers? Of course this a dominating set of factors. The Boeing 707 types began arriving; a new TWA one  
present at Baltimore MD, in service in 1958...
 
.............  Vern  ...........


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Norm_Anderson
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Re: The Future of Rail Passenger Service in the West 1966
 
« Reply #2 on: Jul 27th, 2017, 11:47pm »
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I did a quick Google search for Mr. Brandes, and he seems to be a serious researcher.  I had never heard his name until I read this thread here, but he does not impress me as being a "hack."
 
By 1966, the handwriting on the wall was already writ large.  I doubt that Southern Pacific would have needed any advice from the airline industry, or from anyone else, to persuade them that the passenger ship was sinking.  Most likely, it may have been SP's appeal to serious and respected researchers to answer the question, "Is there any hope at all?"
 
It is well known that SP in the mid-to-late 1960s acquired a (perhaps deserved) reputation for being positively hostile to passengers.  There were reports circulated in the Press of SP posting advertisements for airlines on the bulkheads of their chair cars or commuter cars. They were accused of deliberately holding their trains in yards or sidings, just shy of their destinations, to guarantee that passengers would miss their connecting trains.   Automat Cars replaced Dining and Lounge service, even on the flagship Sunset, and several trains were reduced to three-days-a-week. There was an overall weariness and a sense of defeat in their service.  It was, I think, a self-reinforcing downward spiral.
 
As a young railfan, my attitude was contempt for them.  I made lots of jokes at their expense.  I thought they deserved my derision.  How dare they??  The deliberately- missed connections were uncalled-for, of course, but in hindsight, SP may have been fighting for its own survival.  
 
At that time, passenger trains were considered an essential public service, and the private railroad companies were required to operate them at their own expense, whether they received a return on their investment or not.  Passenger service was not taxpayer-funded, but was funded out of the railroad company's own profits, after their other necessary expenses (maintenance, equipment, payroll, etc.) had been paid.  Railroads had to receive Government permission to discontinue any train,  and that permission was difficult to obtain.  In the meantime, the losses kept adding up.  If SP's profit margin was already weak, maintaining passenger service could conceivably bankrupt the entire railroad.  As I see it now, SP may have felt that the only way they could get relief was to present a truly dismal picture to the Interstate Commerce Commission, as support for their plea for mercy.   In other words, the SP ship may have been foundering, and passenger service was drilling holes in the bottom of the boat.  Driving the passengers away may have been an act of desperation, and not intentional cruelty.
 
 
Regards,
 
Norm


« Last Edit: Jul 28th, 2017, 7:14am by Norm_Anderson » Logged
HwyHaulier
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Re: The Future of Rail Passenger Service in the West 1966
 
« Reply #3 on: Jul 29th, 2017, 1:39pm »
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Norm - Lodge Members -
 
Many Thanks for your thinking on all this.
 
Indeed! When ESPEE wanted out of the passenger trades, it wasn't pretty at all. IIRC, the line excoriated in Readers Digest for its  
sudden downgrading and exit from any services. To this day, your writer doubts were he to purchase a ham and cheese, or (gasp!)  
tuna fish sandwiches on the Automat Cars. (Death wish otherwise? <G>)
 
Again, ESPEE (and the ways it did business) with much reluctance to consider orders for newer passenger equipment. The good  
money after bad the maxim here?
 
.................  Vern  ............


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HwyHaulier
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Posts: 3439
Re: The Future of Rail Passenger Service in the West 1966
 
« Reply #4 on: Jul 31st, 2017, 3:07pm »
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HSSRAIL - Lodge Members -
 
Mention of airline competition? See this: http://www.psa-history.org/about_psa/history
 
Also, your writer with an anecdote ("... and I was there...) from an old friend who explained, "The Last Of The Hiawathas"  
on the old MILW lines...
 
................  Vern  ..............................


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