RAILROADS: Something for the Common

Most perennially disgusted group of U. S. stockholders are those who own railroad shares. Long familiar facts: a third of U. S. railroad mileage is insolvent or in the courts. Another third operates in a twilight zone halfway between receivership and solvency, periodically sparked by RFC handouts. Only the top third of U. S. rails (some of them, like the gilt-edged Union Pacific, heartbreakers to earlier generations of stockholders) pay steady dividends.

But last week, for the first time in years, U. S. investors were thinking about rail stocks once more. The...

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