Friday, May 27, 2005

Another Rail Blog

Through the good graces of Technorati, I've found another railblog: RipTrack "deals with Railroad Track Engineering, Design and Construction. Not only should Professional Railroad Track Engineers find something of interest here, but also those whose tax dollars are being spent for all of thsoe new Light Rail and Commuter Rail Projects". The postings are somewhat sparse, but I would like to point out that which caught my eye: -Posting of an interview with former Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) man and Rock Island Railroad president/CEO John Ingram The Rock (more properly the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad) probably stands as the most visible victim of the absolute mess the Federal Government had made of railroad regulation in the post-World War II period. (The Penn Central died of a variety of wounds, some of which were self-inflicted; blame for that mess can be spread to the government and everyone else involved as well.) Suffice it to say that the Rock Island and the Union Pacific started merger talks in 1960. The Interstate Commerce Commission approved the merger in 1974. There are of course a lot of factors in this, I'm sure, but fourteen years is a long time. Ultimately, the UP lost interest in the by-then deteriorated CRI&P, so the Rock was left to rot. See here for documentation. The Ingram interview was interesting to me above and beyond the Rock Island---of which I am not particularly enamored---because Mr. Ingram hints at some of the talk of railroad nationalization, something that was kicked about in the 1970s as the Penn Central collapsed and the Consolidated Rail Corporation loomed on the horizon. Interesting stuff. RipTrack makes list.

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