Railroads: Strength Through Union

Only eleven airlines fly the 285,000 miles of U.S. trunk routes, and seven American steamship lines dock in U.S. ports. By contrast, nearly 100 railroads —the greatest conglomeration anywhere in the world—compete unevenly over 214,000 miles of Class I track, both among themselves and with a growing number of trucks, buses, automobiles and barges. The result is massive inefficiency and chronic headaches for the U.S. railroad industry, which has failed to keep pace with the vast changes in public transportation.

One answer to the railroads' problems is the merger. Since 1959, the Interstate Commerce Commission has authorized 18 railroad...

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