Railroads: A Need for Profits

In Williamsport, Pa., one day last week, two diesel locomotives hummed slowly toward each other. When they were close enough, smiling crewmen leaned across the gap and shook hands. Trainmen from the Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York Central were plainly delighted that after a decade of proposition and opposition their lines had finally been formally merged with the permission of a federal court in New York. As far as the railroads were concerned, it was about time.

The basic premise behind the merger is that it will yield greater efficiency—and therefore...

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