American Railroads (Google eBook)

Front Cover
University of Chicago Press, Apr 15, 2008 - Science - 324 pages
6 Reviews
Few scenes capture the American experience so eloquently as that of a lonely train chugging across the vastness of the Great Plains, or snaking through tortuous high mountain passes. Although this vision was eclipsed for a time by the rise of air travel and trucking, railroads have enjoyed a rebirth in recent years as profitable freight carriers.

A fascinating account of the rise, decline, and rebirth of railroads in the United States, John F. Stover's American Railroads traces their history from the first lines that helped eastern seaports capture western markets to today's newly revitalized industry. Stover describes the growth of the railroads' monopoly, with the consequent need for state and federal regulations; relates the vital part played by the railroads during the Civil War and the two World Wars; and charts the railroads' decline due to the advent of air travel and trucking during the 1950s.

In two new chapters, Stover recounts the remarkable recovery of the railroads, along with other pivotal events of the industry's recent history. During the 1960s declining passenger traffic and excessive federal regulation led to the federally-financed creation of Amtrak to revive passenger service and Conrail to provide freight service on bankrupt northeastern railroads. The real savior for the railroads, though, proved to be the Staggers Rail Act of 1980, which brought prosperity to rail freight carriers by substantially deregulating the industry. By 1995, renewed railroad freight traffic had reached nearly twice its former peak in 1944.

Bringing both a seasoned eye and new insights to bear on one of the most American of industries, Stover has produced the definitive history of railroads in the United States.
  

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Review: American Railroads (The Chicago History of American Civilization)

User Review  - Edgar Raines - Goodreads

Stover's volume,part of the Chicago History of American Civilization, is a classic overview of the development of railroads in the United States. The first edition was published in the 1960s, the ... Read full review

Review: American Railroads (The Chicago History of American Civilization)

User Review  - Art - Goodreads

A good primer for a overview of the history of US Railroads through the 1980s. Covers a lot of information in detail in a small package. Read full review

Contents

2 First Rails
10
3 Early Maturity Expansion and War
35
4 The Rails Move West
61
5 Corruption Discrimination and Regulation
96
6 Uniformity and Consolidation
133
7 Railroads at War
167
8 Railroads in Decline after World War I
192
9 Troubles in the 1960s and 1970s
226
10 The Staggers Rail Act of 1980 Brings Prosperity and Many Mergers
245
Important Dates
263
Suggested Reading
273
Index
287
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