Railroads: Fighting Off the Pirates

Who on earth would want to pirate an empty boxcar? To hear the Interstate Commerce Commission tell it, many U.S. railroads would—and do. The ICC, at the urging of Midwestern roads, is knuckle-rapping some lines for holding onto boxcars from other lines for their own use. It has filed twelve suits against railroads and has five more upcoming, has already fined the Denver & Rio Grande for 14 violations. "Everybody's crying for boxcars," says Homer Wilson, superintendent of transportation for the Illinois Central.

The reason for the demand is that the U.S. boxcar population has dropped from 700,000 in 1958...

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