Another posting on this list mentions the arrival of Amtrak in cities like Toledo, Cleveland, etc. in the middle of the night and the impact that has on train passenger interest in arriving/departing from that city at those times.
I was looking at my 1961 railway guide, and looked for my Amtrak city of arrival and departure - Pittsburgh. In that guide, nearly all long distance trains passing through PGH are between 10:30 pm and 6:00 am. There are only a few daylight departures, always shorter trains originating in Pittsburgh.
If a train spans New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore or D.C., to Chicago or St. Louis; Pittsburgh will always be in the middle of the night (?)
I read someplace that Pittsburgh's Penn Station was fairly quiet during the day, but at night it "came alive."
And yes, Pittsburgh, Pa. does have an "h" on the end. Other American burgs don't.
Posts: 76 | From: Steubenville, OH | Registered: Oct 2004
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I was told in the 60s that by then, almost the only profitable part of Pennsy passenger service was what involved their cut of the through tickets on its trains that made good connections with the western trains at Chicago and St. Louis.
Posts: 137 | From: Willow Grove, PA | Registered: Dec 2005
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Historically, all the railroad companies in the United States have been private businesses. Quite a few had government assistance to get started. Some by purchase of bonds or stocks, but seldom by outright ownership. I can think of only a few, all relatively short or special cases: The North Carolina Railroad - Morehead City NC to Raleigh to Greensboro to Charlotte - built in the 1850's and owned by the state but operated by a private company under lease since about 1894, currently held by Norfolk Southern. The Western and Atlantic - Atlanta GA to Chattanooga TN - built in the 1850's and owned by the state of Georgia, also leased for operations since about the 1870's, lease currently held by CSX. The Cincinatti Southern - Cincinatti OH to Chattanooga TN - built by the city of Cincinatti in the 1870's, leased for operations almost from the beginning to the Cincinatti, New Orleans, and Texas Pacific, which is now part of Norfolk Southern. Then there are a few city or state owned local terminal companies: The New Orleans Public Belt owned by the City of New Orleans which owns trackage and operates within New Orleans and also owns the Huey P. Long Bridge (opened 1935 ) across the Mississippi River, which is used by all railroads that cross the river, currently menaing BNSF and UP. The Alabama State Docks owned by the state of Alabama which owns and operates the trackage in the port of Mobile AL. The Mississippi River Bridge at Vicksburg MS (opened 1930 ) is owned by Warren County, Mississippi and KCS pays a per car fee to the county to cover the maintenance cost, and taxes on the Louisiana approach.
Several of the western lines, some as far east as Illinois, were built under land grants bu which the Federal Government gave the railroad every other section (square mile) of land that they passed through. In return, the railroad had to charge only half the going rate for all government freight. This rate reduction stayed in effect until sometime after the end of World War 2, and is reputed to have saved the government several times the value of the land that was granted, so it was actually a highly profitible government program - maybe the only one.
Amtrak is set up as a private company, but functions as a government agency, requiring appropriations from the government to keep going.
A number of lightly used freight carrying short lines are owned by various states, counties, and associations of counties. Most of them are operated by private companies under lease. Most of these lines were built by private companies and the goverment takeover was as an alternative to abandonment.
Several of the big city area commuter lines are also government owned, but again most were built by private companies and operated by them for years. The sale to government entities has been a fairly recent thing for these lines.
Other than the above, the railroad lines in the United States are privately owned, were privately built, and are privately maintained, and pay taxes on the value of their property to every government entity they pass through.
The state or city owned lines I mentioned, the North Carolina RR, the W&A, the Cincinatti Southern, are not absorbing government money. Instead, the leasing operator is paying substantial money to the owning government. Another case, the Richmond Fredericsburg and Patomac, while private was about 20% owned by the Virginia state retirement system and the railroad company dividends were a significant part of the retirement fund's income. This line has since been merged into CSX.
In the case of North Carolina, almost all?, all?, all with money left over? of the passenger service related improvements within the state have been funded by the lease payments from NS for the North Carolina Railroad.
Posts: 2693 | From: Olive Branch MS | Registered: Nov 2002
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