RAILROADS: The Human Touch

When he became president of the Southern Railway System 14 years ago, Ernest Eden Norris set a goal for himself: humanize the railroad. A longtime railroader who got his start as a telegrapher, Norris had a brash air about him, a funny story for every occasion and a firm belief in the Southern's slogan: "Look ahead—look South!" But the Southern needed more than humanizing; it was deep in debt and losing money fast. Norris decided to fix that, too.

He set up a traveling office in two private railroad cars, with dining room and living quarters, spent most of his...

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