RAILROADS: Danger Signal

Were U.S. railroads pricing themselves out of business? The Interstate Commerce Commission thought so. Since war's end, the railroads have asked for, and received, seven freight-rate increases, but freight revenues have been slipping anyway. Last week ICC reluctantly handed out an eighth increase (an average of 3.7%), boosting freight rates—and shippers' bills—an estimated $293 million annually. The commission also handed down a warning: the railroads' higher rates are diverting more & more business to trucks, a trend that "is too impressive and formidable to be ignored."

Railroadmen knew that this was true. The net income of Class I railroads had...

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