What Future for America's Railroads?

by Eugene E. Dallaire, Assoc. Ed.; Civil Engineering Magazine, New York, NY 10017,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1982, Vol. 52, Issue 11, Pg. 54-59

Document Type: Feature article


The public sees America's railroads as old, rundown, bankrupt and unreliable. However, after decades of decline, the rate of return on investments has begun to show a steady increase for the American freight-railroad industry. This is due to both the rising oil prices and deregulation on the railroad industry as a result of the Staggers Rail Act of 1976 and 1980. It is speculated that there will be a continuation of the railroad merger movement and a trend towards railroads merging with trucking, barge, and other transportation companies. Federal subsidies to operate the nation's intercity passenger railroad system will likely remain at their present modest level.

Subject Headings: Rail transportation | Industries | Investments | Pricing | Trucks | Barges | Federal government | Interurban travel

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