Commander E. Jay Quinby's 1945 "Warning" regarding bus takeover of streetcar lines

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Commander E. Jay Quinby's 1945 "Warning" regarding bus takeover of streetcar lines
Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, July 26, 2018 8:49 AM

This is such old history as cannot be regarded as political, just historical.  

To the mayor, to the city manager, to the city transit engineer, to the members of the Committee on Mass-transportation and to the tax-payers and the riding citizens of your city:  You are entitled to this warning.  The further you read through these pages, the more you will realize how much you need every word of it.
http://www.historyisaweapon.com/defcon2/quinbyswarning/

THIS WILL OFFEND THE GUILTY,
BUT WILL ARM THEIR PROSPECTIVE VICTIMS

This is an urgent warning to each and every one of you, that there is a carefully, deliberately planned campaign to swindle you out of one of your most important and valuable public utilities, your Electric Railway System.

The purpose of this message is to spread before you the actual facts, the complete truth concerning a selfish, unscrupulous plan to double-cross the citizens and taxpayers, to cheat them out of the superior facilities which they now enjoy and which they are rightly entitled to continue to enjoy, and the even better facilities which they can enjoy in the future.

The plan is to deliberately destroy valuable public utilities which represent large investments and which you will find impractical to replace after you discover your mistake, if you permit this destruction.

You owe it to yourself, your city and to your fellow citizens to read this document carefully,—to investigate its veracity and its source most thoroughly,—to completely weigh and consider every statement made herein. Unless you do this, you will be most certainly exposed to the danger of being taken in by the cleverly worded half-truths and the subtle misrepresentations which will soon be, or which have already been, aimed at you with the intention of deceiving you and influencing your opinions and actions.

IF THERE IS STILL TIME, BE ON GUARD

Let us hope that there is still time for this information to help you and your city. If you have already lost your electric railway, this warning is arriving too late. You need not bother reading further unless you are interested in learning how it happened. Here you will find explanation of strange points which may have puzzled you in that connection. This document spreads before you names, dates, places, facts and figures.

Chiefly, this is addressed to those who need help in deciding the future of their mass-transportation systems—those whose good fortune it is to now have an electric railway system—WHETHER THAT ELECTRIC RAILWAY IS AT PRESENT IN GOOD REPAIR WITH MODERN CARS, OR IN A POOR STATE OF REPAIR WITH BADLY WORN EQUIPMENT. IN EITHER CASE, YOU NEED THE VITAL INFORMATION THIS DOCU­MENT BRINGS BEFORE YOU TO PROTECT YOU FROM SELFISH , UNSCRUPULOUS INTERESTS WHIH WILL STOP AT NOTHING IN THEIR EFFORTS TO PERPETRATE A VICIOUS SWINDLE WHICH, IF YOU PERMIT IT TO OCCUR, WILL BRING A PERMANENT IMPOSITION UPON YOU AND YOUR FELLOW CITIZENS.

SUPERIORITY OF ELECTRIC RAILWAYS DEMONSTRATED DURING DIFFICULT WAR-CONDITIONS

This campaign to destroy our electric railway utilities is nothing new. It was well under way before the tragic Pearl Harbor incident of December 7, 1941. Since then, the Office of Defense Transportation managed to put a temporary stop to it as a national defense measure, so that the electric railways of our country which still remained intact might be preserved to furnish the superior mass-transportation facilities which we so desperately needed during the acute shortage of oil, rubber and automotive equipment caused by the war. All during the recent war, our electric railways established new records of maximum passenger per-hour capacity. The newer cars became the marvel of transportation. Even old cars which had been considered worn out and had been relegated to the scrap-yard were pressed into service to carry the loads which were necessarily transferred to them from collapsed and laid-Up automotive busses and privately owned cars. Over-loaded and under-maintained as a result of the difficult war conditions, the electric railways of our nation carried on While bus after bus, truck after truck, automobile after automobile dropped by the wayside in a hopeless state of disrepair, or stood idle with empty gasoline tanks and worn out tires. Have we learned anything from this lesson? Are we satisfied that this could never happen again? One unfortunate city after another came to the sad realization during this recent war that a great mistake had been made in permitting its electric railway to be destroyed. Each soon discovered that those cities which had fortunately resisted the "bus-blitz" and had kept their electric railways intact - were the cities which continued to enjoy efficient mass-transportation throughout the war, whereas the cities which had scrapped their electric railways found it increasingly difficult to obtain tires, fuel or even replacement parts for their swiftly deteriorating buses. To obtain new buses in replacement for those which became hopelessly beyond repair was out of the question.

TRAITORS AND TREASON

Let's investigate the cause of this acute shortage of mass-transportation. Prior to Pearl Harbor, the oil-rubber-bus interests were busily engaged in destroying our electric railways so as to expand the market for their own, inferior products. As buses were substituted for one electric railway after another, the cars were either burned up or shipped far away where they would no longer offer any obstruction to the all-out bus campaign. Copper wire and cable was pulled down and steel rails were ripped up—in many cases these materials were quite sound and serviceable, with many years of usable life ahead. WHAT DO YOU SUPPOSE BECAME OF THESE FINE PUBLIC UTILITY MATERIALS? In the majority of cases, these vital materials were SHIPPED TO JAPAN—shipload after shipload of them.

Evidently it mattered not in the least if our Navy had issued repeated warnings that Japan was feverishly building up a great navy with the obvious intention of attacking the United States. These steel and copper materials, already refined, were obviously of vital importance to Japan's naval construction pro­gram and for Japan's munitions supplies. JAPAN WAS PAYING HIGHEST PRICES FOR SUCH "JUNK"—AND JAPAN GOT IT!

I contend that any man who will knowingly furnish a prospective enemy nation with vital materials for armament and munitions in the face of repeated warnings that such a nation is in the process of arming to attack his own country IS A TRAITOR AND IS GUILTY OF TREASON. That no federal restrictions were imposed to prevent, is no excuse whatever. Whether or not that man dealt through an intermediate "junk dealer" is beside the point. The tragic result is the same, as was proven when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and throughout the entire war. When the magnitude of these "junk" deals is considered, it is appalling. Greed and avarice were the deplorable motives behind these deals. No doubt the sons of some of the very men who perpetrated these deals lie dead out there in the Pacific beside many of our other boys.

1.      THE ORGANIZATION SET-UP FOR DELIBERATE DESTRUCTION OF PUBLIC UTILITIES

Now that the restraining hand of the Office of Defense Transportation has been removed from the all-out bus campaign, we witness an immediate resumption of the destruction of our electric railways — just as though the war had taught nothing by its tragic lesson.

THE OIL-RUBBER-BUS COMBINE IS DIRECTLY RESPONSIBLE.

Ruthless in its campaign to deprive the American people of valuable public utilities, this combine deserves immediate and complete exposure. One of the leading organizations operates under the name of NATIONAL CITY LINES. This organization has a subsidiary, which it controls, known as the AMERICAN CITY LINES. In my opinion, it is about as un-American an organization as ever banded together in this country to swindle the public on a huge scale under the protection of the law with the obvious and demonstrated purpose of gaining control of our mass-transportation utilities PARTICULARLY OUR ELECTRIC RAILWAY SYSTEMS, WITH THE INTENTION OF ELIMINATING THEM TO CLEAR THE WAY FOR THEIR OWN INFERIOR PRODUCTS. These organizations have already bought heavily into our public utilities and have already scored successes in their announced purpose. The American public and all their elected public officials as well as the officers of electric railways throughout our nation are entitled to know just WHO THE CORPORATIONS ARE behind this campaign — WHO is financing the movement, and just WHY they have invested MILLIONS OF DOLLARS in the “National City Lines” and the “American City Lines”.

Here is the set-up: AMERICAN CITY LINES COMMON STOCK IS OWNED BY: National City Lines 180,000 shares (value $999,000), General Motors Corp. (16,667), Phillips Petroleum Co. (13,333), Federal Engineering Corp. (13,333), Firestone Tire and Rubber (10,000), General American Aerocoach (10,000) 243,333 shares Common Stock – a subsidiary of Standard Oil of California. The above shares are solely entitled to exercise voting power. As may be seen from this arrangement, American City Lines is controlled by National City Lines through the latter’s control of 73.9% of American City Lines Common (American City Lines Preferred stock does not exercise voting power.) American City Lines Preferred Stock is an equally-interesting set-up. Its implications are equally obvious. At present there are 47,500 shares of Preferred stock, par value $100 per share. AMERICAN CITY LINES PREFERRED STOCK IS OWNED BY: General Motors $1,250,000 (12,500 shares) Phillips Petroleum (100,000), Federal Engineering (S.O., Cal.) (1,000,000) General American Aerocoach (750,000) Firestone Tire and Rubber (750,000 – $4,750,000 aggregate par value). By holding a comparatively small block of American City Lines common stock (less than one million dollars), National City Lines thus controls the whole works, for this is the VOTING stock—the block with the CONTROLLING VOTE. Notice the preponderance of companies connected with the automotive bus industry in the American City Lines set-up.

THE STEADILY TIGHTENING GRIP

American City Lines in 1944 purchased securities of the Baltimore Transit Company to the extent of $2,391,000. (30% of the outstanding Preferred, 11½% of its remaining Common and 9.77% of the outstanding Income Bonds.) American City Lines’ Fred Nolan was promptly made president of the Baltimore Transit Company. American City Lines then bought the Los Angeles Railway from the estate of Henry E. Huntington, paying about $13,000,000 for assets appraised at $29,000,000. Although It is an established fact that in 1944 the 1,034 electric railway cars of this company made a profit of over 15 cents per car mile while the company’s modern (?) buses made only 9½ cents per bus mile, this may be considered due to the unusual circumstances caused by the war. Accordingly, let us consider 1941 — the last normal year prior to the war. During that year, the electric railway cars made a profit of 6 cents per car mile, while the buses made only 3 cents per bus mile — a ratio at two to one in favor of the electric railway cars versus the bus system! In the face of these figures, the American City Lines have publicly announced they will scrap all but three of the electric rai1way lines and will substitute buses. American City Lines’ Fred Nolan was made president of THIS system. The National City Lines as of February 1st, 1945 had outstanding 22,139 shares of Class A stock and 538,039 shares of Common stock, both of these exercising voting rights. As of that same date, Mr. E. Roy Fitzgerald, his four brothers and their immediate families were the beneficial owners of 168,116 shares of National City Lines common stock (approximately 31% of this class then outstanding). National City Lines has become the beneficial owner of 159,108 shares of the St. Louis Public Service Company’s Class A stock, together with $3,430,192. face value of its 25 year Collateral Trust Notes and $72,200. face value at its 25 year Convertible Income Bonds. As St. Louis is the home of one of the largest manufacturers of modern P.C.C. electric railway cars, and the electric railway system there has recently been modernized with the installation of a fleet of these cars, this operation of National City Lines will bear watching. Baltimore, Los Angeles and St. Louis represent the largest of the cities in which National City Lines purchased significant interests in the transportation systems. Prior to that, National City Lines confined its operations to cities of smaller magnitude throughout the nation.

IS IT LEGAL?

That the Oil Producing interests, the Rubber Tire Producing interests and the Bus Producing Interests are permitted to thus combine their strength (for any purpose whatever) and specifically for the purpose of gaining control of the mass-transportation public utilities of our nation with the demonstrated and announced purpose of destroying the electric railway utilities is difficult to understand. Particularly discriminatory does it appear when one considers the fact that the Electric Power Producing utilities of our nation are being forced by government regulation to divest themselves of their Electric Railway Properties under the contention that such a combination constitutes monopoly. If ever there was a perfectly natural combination, it is the Electric Railway and the power plant that drives its cars. Since the very beginning of the electrical industry, power generating plants and electric railways have been considered obviously inseparable. In some cases the power plant was parent to the electric railway, the plant being constructed large enough to serve the residential and industrial customers in the various communities through which the railway ran, using the poles and the right-ofway of the railway to transmit the electric power to both the railway and the customers along the line. In other cases, the railway was parent to the power plant, building it big enough for not only the requirements of the railway but also to accommodate the communities through which the railway ran. In either case, the combination resulted in a maximum degree of efficiency and economy for the public (both riders and power consumers) because profit charges for electric power furnished to the railway by the power plant were eliminated, and one management staff served both the power plant and the railway. However, it seems that now our government suddenly considers the combination of electric power plant and railway monopolistic unless the power of the plant is used exclusively by the railway. If power is sold to the community or communities, the combination is “illegal.” Accordingly, the Texas Electric Power & Light Company has reoently been forced to divest itself of its electric Dallas Terminal & Railway property. Similarly, a Virginia electric power company has recently been forced to divest itself of its electric railway properties. THIS BEING THE CASE, HOW AND WHY ARE THE OIL-ROBBER-BUS PRODUCERS PERMITTED TO PURCHASE, OWN AND OPERATE MASS-TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS? WHAT IS MORE IMPORTANT, WHY ARE THEY PERMITTED TO DESTROY VALUABLE ELECTRIC-RAILWAY UTILITIES AFTER THEY GAIN CONTROL OF THEM? The fact is that an electric railway which has been saddled with continually increasing taxes and increasing labor and maintenance material prices and which has been repeatedly denied any increase in fare rates to compensate, might be just about able to continue to show a narrow margin of profit while supplied with power from its own plant at cost. But forced by law into separation from its power plant with the resultant higher costs for power, this electric railway might be driven into receivership and might quickly fall prey to the depredations of the National City Lines-American City Lines clique. WHEN THE ELECTRIC RAILWAY IS FORCED BY LAW TO BE SEPARATED FROM ITS POWER PLANT, HOW CAN THE RESULTING SACRIFICE OF EFFICIENCY AND ECONOMY POSSIBLY BENEFIT THE PUBLIC? When the Texas Electric Power & Light Company obediently offered for sale its electric Dallas Terminal & Railway Company — WHO IMMEDIATELY SUBMITTED BIDS FOR IT? You probably guessed — the NATIONAL CITY LINES-AMERICAN CITY LINES outfit! WHO IS BEHIND THIS CAMPAIGN TO SEPARATE THE OBVIOUSLY ECONOMICAL COMBINATION OF ELECTRIC RAILWAY AND ITS POWER PLANT?

HOW WE LOST OUR INTERURBAN RAILWAYS AND THEIR CONTRIBUTION TOWARD DEFRAYING PUBLIC EXPENSES

Small wonder we have been losing our valuable electric railway utilities right and left! The cross-country Interurban electric railways have been falling prey more readily to the depredations of the bus promoters. This is chiefly because increasingly large taxes levied upon the private-rights-of-way which the Interurbans had purchased and on which the electric railway cars could safely speed without interference from vehicular traffic have been used for the purpose of building expensive concrete public highways parallel to the railways. Upon these highways, competing buses and trucks were given franchises to operate without having to assume the same burden of taxes as the Interurbans or even the expenses of the construction and maintenance of the highways they use. As a result, the buses and trucks can and do offer services at rates ruinous to the Interurban railways. This of course constitutes subsidy on the part of the government to the inferior and dangerous type of service offered by the buses and trucks in direct competition with the Interurban railways. The railways were in effect penalized for their superior services, and the money thus taken from them was used to actually drive them out of business by cheap competition whioh owns little or no taxable property. Schools and other public institutions which were formerly supported in a large measure by the interurban railways through taxes are not similarly supported by the buses and trucks. These expenses must now be paid by the local taxpayers, many of whom forsook the superior services offered by the Interurban railways to patronize the cheaper facilities of the competing buses and trucks. Thus the buses and trucks have been responsible for our losing literally thousands of miles of fine high-speed urban electric railways. Only those Interurbans remain which are doing a sufficiently large business to show some small margin of profit in spite of this discrimination and abuse. HAS ANYTHING BEEN LEARNED FROM THIS LESSON? IF OUR ELECTRIC STREET RAILWAYS ARE ALLOWED TO BE SIMILARLY ABUSED AND DESTROYED, WHO WILL ASSUME THEIR TAX BURDEN?

YOU ARE ENTITLED TO THIS WARNING

This is to warn you as to the exact methods employed by the Oil-Rubber-Bus-combine in depriving you of your electric railway so as to clear the field for them to sell buses — and more buses. Their methods are frequently subtle, insidious, but relentless. They persevere and employ the principle that they can make anyone believe anything if it is repeated often enough, and that it it appears in PRINT, it will carry convincing force. Your newspapers will carry an increasing amount of news items ridiculing your electric railway system, criticizing its operations, claiming that it is worn out, outmoded — and that it should be scrapped to make way for “modern” buses. You will probably notice that no suggestion is made to preserve the electric railway intact so that if the buses are tried over a suitable period of time and found wanting, you may resume electric railway operations. The established method is to immediately rip up the tracks, tear down the power wires and burn up the cars as soon as the buses are placed in operation. Thus you find yourself stuck with the buses, whether you like them or not. There is then no possible chance of correcting your mistake. THIS HAS BEEN DONE REPEATEDLY TO THE DISMAY OF CITIZENS IN MANY CITIES THROUGHOUT OUR NATION. Particularly you should observe that throughout the “campaign for transit improvement” mention is avoided of the possibility of improving your existing electric railway by installing modern P.C.C. cars and realigning the tracks — or even replacing worn rails where necessary. It would be,very interesting to you, were you to investigate the real source of most of this campaign energy. Usually the “Citizens Progress Committee” or the “Main Street Improvement Association” is nothing but a figment of the imagination of the publicity expert engaged by the bus interests to stir up artificial dissatisfaction amongst the riding public and the taxpayers. Perhaps a small but noisy minority group of citizens will be prevailed upon to clamor for bus-substitution, and will be effectively used as a “front” by the bus promoters. Politicians are approached and influenced by those interested in selling the buses in the attempt to prevail upon them by various methods to betray the voters and taxpayers by becoming a party to the scheme to destroy the splendid electric railway public utilities, in order to create a market for the oil-rubber-bus products. If they are unprincipled, these politicians will soon be heard echoing the song taught them by the propaganda experts of the oil-rubber-bus combine: “The electric railway is outmoded — it is obsolete — it must be scrapped – buses are the modern solution to transit problems – buses constitute progress.” The plan is to get that electric railway away from you at all costs, by fair means or foul. Those who instigate this plan will stop at nothing. It they can not undermine your faith in the obviously superior transportation facilities of which your electric railway is capable by subtle campaigns of criticism and ridicule, by direct approach and the usual means of attempting to influence those in political power, they will in desperation attempt to gain financial control of this valuable public utility so that they will then have the power to destroy it — which they will do without delay when they get control.

THE METHOD EMPLOYED:

METHOD “A” – This method has already been employed in many cities throughout the nation to the great regret of the riders and taxpayers alike. Without the approval of a majority of the riders and taxpayers their electric railway utilities have been taken away from them, and they now endure the conditions which the bus invariably imposes upon the riding public. Under the guise of “modernization”, “progress,” “improvement” and even “economy”, the promoters of bus sales have managed in some cases by their half-truths and falsehoods to actually convince those in power that the electric railway is “outmoded”, “worn out”, “inefficient”, “uneconomical”, “a remnant of the horse-and-buggy days”. By making fantastic claims to superiority for the bus, and by spreading vicious and unfounded yarns derogatory to the electric railways, they have succeeded in many cases in actually convincing those in power that they would be bringing the people a great blessing by scrapping the electric railway and substituting buses. They are satisfied if this conviction can be made to last at least long enough to sell the buses and get the railway tracks ripped up and the cars destroyed or shipped to South America or some other remote place. After that, it makes little difference to the bus sales promoters what the officials, passengers or taxpayers think, for it is then too late to correct the mistake. The city officials and transit officials will not be likely to admit making so great a mistake.

METHOD “B” – Where officials and citizens alike remain unconvinced by the claims that the buses offer better facilities or even as good facilities as the electric railway, a sufficient number of powerful but not too ethical politicians are influenced to stampede through the local legislation necessary to eliminate the electric railway and to substitute buses OVER THE PROTESTS OF THE RIDING PUBLIC AND THE TAXPAYERS. Once the rails are ripped up, the wires removed and the cars either burned up or “sold down the river”, the riding public and the taxpayers can raise all the objections they want to and can investigate, indict and convict as many offending public officials as they want to. BUT THE BUS PROMOTERS WILL THEN NO LONGER BE INTERESTED IN THE MUNICIPAL QUARRELS AND WRANGLES. THE DAMAGE THEN IS ALREADY DONE. THE RAILWAY IS GONE BEYOND RECALL, AND THE FIELD IS LEFT CLEAR TO THE BUSES.

METHOD “C” – Where altogether too much objection is experienced by the bus promoters from the public, from conscientious public officials and from railway officials who refuse to be attracted by the proposed scheme to “shake down” the riding public and the taxpayers for more money in return for AN INFERIOR SERVICE, another and most effective tactic is adopted. The bus interests actually buy into the electric railway utility sufficiently to gain control — and then proceed to destroy the property in order to expand the market for their buses. THIS HAS BEEN DONE AND IS BEING DONE RIGHT NOW.

In spite of the definitely-voiced preference of the riding public for electric railways — in spite of the superior service furnished by the electric railways — in spite of the greater passenger-per-hour capacity of the electric railways (with a greater measure of comfort, convenience and safety to the riders and to all the citizens) – in spite of the demonstrated smaller interference with other traffic by the electric railways, AND EVEN IN SPITE OF THE TWO-TO-ONE NET EARNING POWER IN FAVOR 0F ELECTRIC RAILWAYS VERSUS BUSES IN THE SAME TERRITORY — the bus promoters stick to the same selfish policy to which they are committed: THE ELECTRIC RAILWAYS MUST BE DESTROYED.

UNLESS YOU MAKE AN ENERGETIC EFFORT TO PREVENT IT — UNLESS YOU TAKE THE TROUBLE TO INFORM YOURSELF OF THE REAL FACTS AND BONAFIDE STATISTICS — THE DANGER EXISTS THAT YOU WILL SOON LOSE YOUR ELECTRIC RAILWAY THROUGH THE DEPREDATIONS OF THIS UNSCRUPULOUS CLIQUE.

THE LOGICAL COURSE

Even if your electric railway system is not in good condition at the moment — which is quite possible as a result of the restrictions on materials and the shortage of skilled labor during the recent war — your electric railway still represents the best possibility for providing a maximum of safe, comfortable, efficient and economical mass-transportation for your city. Even though the rails may be in a bad state of disrepair, even though the cars may be old and badly worn, the electric railway properly repaired and equipped still represents the best and the least expensive transit facility. Any money spent upon transit improvements can be better and more profitably invested in repairing and improving your electric railway than in buying the finest buses that have ever been produced. If a given amount on money is invested in repairs and improvements to the electric railway, such as realigning the track, welding the rail joints, replacing worn rail and replacing old cars (that have long since paid for themselves) by the modern P.C.C. cars — you will not only be providing your city with the maximum in transportation facilities for the price BUT YOU WILL ALSO BE PROVIDING YOUR CITY WITH AN IMPROVED UTILITY WHICH IS MORE ECONOMICAL TO OPERATE AND MAINTAIN, AND WHICH HAS HIGHER EARNING POWER ON THE INVESTMENT.

DON’T BE MISLED BY THE EFFORTS OF BUS PROMOTERS TO CONVINCE YOU THAT THE ONLY SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEMS OF A WORN ELECTRIC RAILWAY IS TO SCRAP THE WHOLE INVESTMENT. THAT IS THE HEIGHT OF FOLLY. IT IS COMPARABLE TO THROWING AWAY A GOOD AUTOMOBILE BECAUSE ITS TIRES ARE WORN. If you have an electric utility now, guard it against the insidious attacks which this oil-rubber-bus combine will inevitably make upon it. GUARD YOURSELF AGAINST BEING INFLUENCED AND CONVINCED BY THEIR PROPAGANDA CAMPAIGN — LEARN THE REAL FACTS IN CONNECTION WITH MASS-TRANSPORTATION. LOOK AROUND YOU.

SEE FOR YOURSELF

Our biggest cities have the toughest mass-transportation problems, the most crowded streets, the densest vehicular traffic, the greatest number of passengers-per-hour to move. And there you will find that the electric railways provide the backbone of the transportation system. In some cases, the buses furnish service on branch feeder lines, where traffic is lighter. To the big city, the electric railway is obviously indispensable — BECAUSE THE ELECTRIC RAILWAY HAS THE HIGHEST PASSENGER-PER-HOUR CAPACITY OF ANY FORM OF MASS-TRANSPORTATION FACILITY EVER DEVISED AND BECAUSE IT IS THE MOST ECONOMICAL TO OPERATE. If our nation’s biggest cities find it advisable to take advantage of these demonstrated superior facilities of the electric railways UNDER THE MOST ADVERSE AND DIFFICULT CONDITIONS, isn’t it quite obvious that cities of less magnitude can profit to an even greater extent by utilizing the superior facilities of the electric railway UNDER LESS ADVERSE CONDITIONS?

BEWARE OF SELF-STYLED “TRANSIT EXPERTS” WHO HAVE BUSES TO SELL.

Have the bus interests suggested that your streets are becoming too crowded for the practical and successful operation of an electric railway? If your streets are plagued now by congested traffic, you can rest assured that were you to substitute buses for your electric railway system, you would immediately experience WORSE congestion. Why? Each bus carries fewer passengers than the electric railway car — whioh means that you will have to crowd MORE VEHICLES onto that street in order to accommodate the SAME LOAD. While the electric railway cars keep in an orderly line, avoiding traffic confusion and resultant delays — the buses zig zag all over the street in unpredictable manner, causing increased traffic confusion and delay AND INEVITABLE ACCIDENTS. A street which has become so congested by vehicular traffic that the operation of an electric railway there has become inadvisable is, by the same token, a much more inadvisable street on which to operate buses.

THE SOLUTION TO THIS PROBLEM IN OUR BIG CITIES IS TO REMOVE THE ELECTRIC RAILWAYS FROM THE STREETS AND OPERATE THEM ON A “PRIVATE RIGHT OF WAY”, SUCH AS A SUBWAY OR ELEVATED LINE. Buses may then be operated on the streets to carry the relatively small overflow of more or less local traffic — but remember, THE ELECTRIC RAILWAY IN THAT CASE HAS REMOVED THE GREAT BULK OF TRAFFIC FROM THE STREET AND IS PROVIDING THE REAL BACKBONE OF THE TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM, WITH THE BUSES PLAYING A MINOR ROLE. HOWEVER, THE ELECTRIC RAILWAY ON THOSE STREETS COULD BETTER SERVE AS AN AUXILIARY TRANSIT SYSTEM THAN THE BUSES. IF YOUR CITY CAN NOT YET AFFORD A SUBWAY OR ELEVATED SYSTEM TO CARRY THE MAIN BULK OF YOUR MASS-TRANSPORTATION, BEWARE OF TRYING TO DO THE WHOLE JOB WITH BUSES. PLAN FOR TODAY—WITH PROVISION FOR TOMORROW AT NO ADDITIONAL EXPENSE NOW. In your city, as in the largest of cities. the electric railway is your biggest hope of providing the most efficient, the most economical, the safest and the highest capacity mainstem of your transportation system for the present and the future. Trolley buses can be well utilized to furnish feeder service to the electric railway system on the relatively short and lightly travelled branches where the traffic does not yet warrant the investment of a railway installation. THE TROLLEY-BUS HAS ITS DEFINITE PLACE IN THE TRANSPORTATION FIELD FOR SUCH APPLICATIONS. In the future, when traffic on those lightly-travelled lines is built up to a level where trolley-bus service becomes impractical and uneconomical, you will find it advisable to extend your rails over those routes.

A recent publicity release widely circulated by bus promoters concerned the modernization of the Louisville transit system. It is typical of their method of telling partial truths where the complete truth would alter the entire meaning of the story:

“Trackless trolleys and gasoline buses will be substituted for worn out street car equipment on all but one surface line in Louisville where streamlined P.C.C. cars will be installed.”

What was left unsaid in this release was the fact that the busiest line of all, the actual backbone of the Louisville transit system which carries the heaviest traffic — is the one on which the greatest improvements are being made, at the greatest expense — and that THIS is the line to be retained as a modernized ELECTRIC RAILWAY LINE, WITH THE BUSES SERVING AS FEEDERS. The trolley-bus or “trolley-coach” is considerably superior to the automotive bus because of the advantages of electric power over the inefficient features of the automotive power plant with its jerky acceleration, its noxious fumes and noise. However, the trolley-bus has certain distinct disadvantages compared to the electric railway car, for it is just as guilty as the automotive bus of causing traffic confusion, delays and accidents by reason of the fact that it wanders left and right, dodging from one traffic lane to another. It has the same disadvantages of the curb stop. It has the same hazards of unreliable brakes on slippery surfaces, and the dangers of the off-course skid on slippery surfaces. The operator is always burdened with the responsibility of steering. Like the automotive bus, it is subject to the bouncing and jolting which result from uneven pavement. While the trolley-bus system is relieved of the expense of building and maintaining track, and it operates over surfaces which must be built and maintained by the taxpayers, IT REQUIRES DOUBLE THE TROLLEY WIRE INSTALLATION REQUIRED BY THE ELECTRIC RAILWAY SYSTEM, RESULTING IN DOUBLE THE WEAR AND DOUBLE THE MAINTENANCE COSTS. Where the volume of traffic warrants the original investment — where crowded traffic conditions become a major problem — the electric railway is definitely the most practical and economical solution to those problems. The more a city grows, the more it needs the electric railway, AND THE MORE IMPRACTICAL AND UNECONOMICAL EXCLUSIVE BUS OPERATION BECOMES. IF YOU ALREADY HAVE THE ORIGINAL INVESTMENT, WITH AN ESTABLISHED ELECTRIC RAILWAY SYSTEM, YOU ARE INDEED FORTUNATE.

RETROGRESSION

Of course, if your city is in the process of shrinking, if the population is being reduced, if industry and prosperity are leaving your community, then perhaps the time will come when you can afford to dispense with your electric railway. That has happened to some of our cities. To scrap the electric railway is a most effective way to expedite this process, thus reducing your city to the category of those cities which can no longer afford the advantages of the electric railway. The electric railway is distinctly the mark of a large, prosperous, progressive city, the city which can not properly exist with less efficient, less commodious transit facilities. More and more the electric railway is becoming identified with our bigger, most active, most prosperous cities. More and more are the “small towns” becoming identified with exclusive bus service for their limited transportation requirements.

 

1.      The Counter Argument:
MUST WE REVERT TO THE PRIMITIVE?

Our natural fuel resources should be conserved for vital applications in which, unfortunately, electric power can not be employed. Modern electric power should be used wherever it is available, so that we can enjoy its advantages, its cleanliness, its freedom from noxious fumes and poisonous gases. It is folly to tolerate deliberate destruction of modern electric public utilities and permit substitution of primitive, inefficient, uncomfortable and unsafe equipment which belches carbon-monoxide gas amongst the fare-paying users and the tax-paying residents. If we needlessly consume our fast dwindling petroleum resources where electric power is available — where will we obtain gasoline and oil for aviation and marine transportation in normal peace time, and for the planes, ships, submarines, jeeps, tanks, mobile guns and other vital equipment of our armed forces in times of national emergency? The needless consumption of our precious petroleum and coal resources to make motive power where a wealth of hydro-electric power is available is not only silly — it is downright wasteful and unpatriotic. Why do we needlessly consume petroleum or coal to move petroleum or coal? These fuels may be more efficiently converted into electricity where they are found. Electric power is weightless and bulkless. It is instantly and efficiently transmitted through slender copper wires to the points where we want to convert it into motive-power or other uses. And there, the electric power produces no smoke, no fumes, no noise. If we MUST consume petroleum or coal to make motive power (where no hydro-electric power is available), let us avoid needless waste. Let US place the prime-mover power plant at a proper fixed location, preferably right at the oil wells or coal mines — but definitely away from crowded communities or residential sections. There we can convert the fuel into electric energy to be transmitted wherever we wish to use it. While it is true that it costs money to build and maintain transmission lines, and that some of the energy is sacrificed in transmission losses, it is a much more efficient means for delivering power than that of moving the heavy, bulky fuel around. The automotive vehicle — be it bus, truck or pleasure car — is notoriously inefficient for one particular reason. It must carry its prime mover engine and its fuel supply with it, wherever it goes. Compared to the electric railway, this is a primitive arrangement. The passengers who ride in the automotive bus must be continuously enveloped in a cloud of noxious, poisonous exhaust gas. Often invisible, this insidious gas causes headaches, dizziness and drowsiness amongst those who ride and those who are so unfortunate as to live along its route. Its effects are cumulative. Exposed to its influence over prolonged periods, human beings become seriously and permanently affected. Many have died from its effects. It has become an all too convenient poison for committing suicide. We need not submit to this imposition. We should demand modern, comfortable and SAFE tranportationt — the electric way, without noise, without dirt, without smoke — without insidious fumes. WHY NOT USE TO ADVANTAGE THE MOST MODERN AND SAFE DEVELOPMENTS— ESPECIALLY IF THE NET COST IS LOWER?

The foregoing objectionable features are not the only dangers of automotive bus transportation. The electric railway is infinitely safer for two other reasons. First, only on the railway is the operator of the vehicle relieved of the burden and responsibility of steering. The careful planners and efficient engineers who lay out the route of the electric railway do the steering job, once and for all. The operator needs only to start, regulate the speed, and stop the vehicle. There is no limit to the speed for which an electric railway car may be designed — except the consideration of safety. The vast power resources of the remote electric power plant are available for whatever amount of electric power may be required for any given speed. Speeds in excess of 125 miles per hour were accomplished by electric railway cars before automobiles were able to do 60 miles per hour — and without the appalling casualty records of which automotive vehicles have always been guilty. But with the increased speeds which our modern era demands, remember that efficient, reliable brakes become more and more important. The speed of the vehicle may be increased — but the speed of human reaction in emergency remains unchanged. With increased vehicle speed, we must acquire vastly increased braking efficiency and reliability if we are to maintain the same measure of safety. Approaching an obstacle, we must be able to stop our vehicle in less time and in shorter distance if we are traveling at higher speeds, for the operator has shorter warning of impending danger. The greatest advance in brake design that has ever been made is the electro-magnetic track brake. Its operation is independent of the wheels. It actually reaches down and magnetically grabs the steel rails, producing a reliable, prompt but smooth stop. And, thanks to the electro-magnetic properties of this modern brake, it remains reliable in spite of slippery surfaces, such as caused by snow, ice, sleet, rain, dew or oil, hazards which make the best wheel brake ever invented quite ineffective. In the case of the automotive vehicle, slippery surfaces not only make brakes ineffective, but introduce the added hazard of the off-course skid. The driver completely loses control of his vehicle. He not only is unable to stop, but he also becomes unable to control the course of his vehicle. He becomes helpless while his vehicle plunges into the way of other vehicles, or completely off the road, into a building or over an embankment. Unfortunately, the electro-magnetic track brake can not be applied to automotive vehicles because the surface over which they travel is non-magnetic. Because of the hazards of the off-course skid, automotive vehicles actually need reliable brakes much more than do the electric railway cars. But no one has ever been able to devise means to prevent automotive vehicles from skidding off course while traversing slippery surfaces. And no one has ever devised any means to prevent fire and explosions from gasoline.

RECALL YOUR OWN EXPERIENCE

Riding an electric railway during winter snow conditions, you probably noticed how the electric railway snow-plow kept the tracks clear, even while the snowfall was in progress. You probably also noticed how all the automotive vehicles, including buses, trucks and pleasure cars, sought the “nice going” along the tracks of the electric railway, to avoid the deep snow on the remainder of the street. And when the electric railway car overtook the bus which was helplessly stalled with its wheels spinning on the slippery snow and ice, did you notice how the electric railway car successfully pushed the bus along? That is because the electric railway car is capable of sanding its own wheels, to obtain proper traction on slippery surfaces. But very likely the passengers waiting along the line later saw the bus coming ahead of the electric railway car — and therefore assumed that it was doing a better job of winter transportation.

Did you ever stop to imagine what your city would be like without the electric railway? What would your traffic conditions be like in the winter with no electric railway snow plows to clear the way for automobiles, trucks and buses? No electric railway cars to push stalled vehicles? No comfortable, roomy cars with proper ventilation and plenty of clean electric heat? What would your city be like without its electric railway in the hot Summer months? No roomy, breezy electric railway cars with wide open windows? Will you enjoy the cramped quarters of a bouncing bus with its overheated engine raising the temperature in the vehicle higher than that outside — and choking you with carbon monoxide fumes? And don’t forget that each bus seats considerably fewer passengers than do the electric railway cars, which means that many more of its passengers are forced to stand during the ride — which is considerably more of a hardship in a swerving, bouncing bus than it is in a smooth-running electric railway car. And remember. you can now have the added comfort of air-conditioning in the modern P.C.C. car for summer and winter temperature control.

BE ON GUARD AGAINST COMMERCIALLY INSPIRED, PAID PROPAGANDA

Don’t let high-pressure propaganda campaigns mislead you into believing that the bus constitutes “progress” and “improvement”. Actually it is a step backwards, to the primitive conditions which existed before electric railways were developed. Then we had bouncing, swerving, smelly stagecoaches. And because of their uncomfortable, cramped and unsanitary conditions, the riding public rebelled. They clamored for better transportation. Electric motive power brought the answer to their demands. When the electric railway was born, the stagecoaches soon became outmoded because of the clean, comfortable, roomy, sanitary and smooth-riding qualities of the electric railway cars, which have been steadily improved ever since. Today we have the modern streamlined P.C.C. car — the best electric railway vehicle ever developed, and by far the greatest advance in mass-transportation ever accomplished. Electric railways have demonstrated that under any given traffic conditions, they can accommodate more passengers per hour than any other form of mass-transportation system, and with a far greater measure of comfort and safety to the passengers. AND THIS THEY HAVE DONE AND ARE DOING MORE ECONOMICALLY THAN BUSES WHICH MEANS THAT THE PASSENGERS PAY LESS AND THE BURDEN ON THE TAXPAYERS FOR MASS-TRANSPORTATION FACILITIES IS HELD TO A MINIMUM.

SAFEGUARD YOUR ELECTRIC UTILITIES— WHO WILL REBUILD THEM FOR YOU?

Are you going to permit selfish, unscrupulous bus promoters to convince you with repeated half-truths and untruths that the motorized stage-coach represents a modern improvement over the comfortable, reliable and SAFE electric railway? If you do, you will have only yourself to blame when, with your electric railway system destroyed, you awaken to discover that the extravagant claims made for buses are wholly unfounded. You will realize too late that the electric railway is unquestionably more comfortable, more reliable, safer and cheaper to use than the bus system. But what can you do about it after you have permitted the tracks to be torn up? Who do you think you can find to finance another deluxe transit system for your city in these times of difficult investment conditions?

THE PROPAGANDA CAMPAIGN WILL NOT FEATURE THESE FACTS

This oil-rubber-bus combine has several clever and subtle ways of imposing extra charges for transportation upon the riding public and the taxpayers alike. Sometimes this is accomplished by simply raising the fare above the level charged by the electric railway. When they can’t get away with this method, they will stampede through the necessary legislation permitting them to establish the “zone” system. The passengers then suddenly discover that upon crossing some imaginary boundary line, they owe the driver of the bus a second fare, which must be paid upon alighting.
Another favorite way devised to charge more for bus transportation than the electric railway charged is to revoke transfer privileges. Whereas the riding public formerly enjoyed city-wide riding privileges with the payment of one fare (by using a transfer ticket), the bus system operators, sanctioned by the city’s political leaders, will either revoke the transfer privileges entirely or start charging extra money for transfers.
Another favorite method of extorting more money from the riding public when buses are substituted for electric railways is to shorten the routes, or cut a long route into two or more short routes, charging a separate fare for each route and causing the additional inconvenience of changing from one vehicle to another — whereas formerly the passengers enjoyed a through ride at a single fare on the electric railway. Very likely the electric railway has pleaded for some increase in revenue but has been denied by political powers who sought favor in the eyes of the voters and taxpayers. If so, you can rest assured that the electric railway more richly deserves the increase in revenue to meet the steadily increasing costs of labor and materials AND TO MEET THE COST OF STREET PAVING WHICH MANY ELECTRIC RAILWAYS HAVE INHERITED FROM THEIR HORSE-CAR PREDECESSORS. Actually, there is no justification in forcing an electric railway system to pave the streets through which it operates, particularly when that pavement is utilized and worn out by their automotive competitors. Yet the political powers in many of our cities continue to enforce the terms of the original horse-car franchises which saddle the electric railways with the expense of providing facilities which are of no use to the railways but which their competitors enjoy without expense. The point is that if increased revenue is to be permitted at all, IT SHOULD BE GRANTED TO THE ELECTRIC RAILWAY BECAUSE OF ITS LARGE CONTRIBUTION TO THE PUBLIC EXPENSE THROUGH TAXES ON TRACK, POWER PLANT, POWER LINES, CAR BARNS AND OTHER REAL PROPERTY, AND BECAUSE OF ITS LARGE CONTRIBUTION TO THE PUBLIC EXPENSE THROUGH STREET PAVING. However, we find that in the great majority of cases, the electric railway has been repeatedly denied any increase in revenue regardless of these mounting expenses in spite of its continually-expanding service. But as soon as the bus system is established, we find that many or all of these increases in revenue are granted the bus system regardless of the fact that the bus system makes NO contribution to paving expenses (even for the use of the pavements which the buses actually use) and makes NO contribution to the public expense through taxes on track, power-plant, power-lines, etc. because the bus system has little or no real taxable property. CASES ARE ON RECORD IN WHICH THE BUS SYSTEM ACTUALLY TORE DOWN THE CAR BARN RATHER THAN PAY TAXES ON THE STRUCTURE, AND LET THEIR BUSES RUST AND ROT OUT ON VACANT LOTS WHEN NOT IN USE. Thus we find the bus system enjoying higher fare rates than were ever permitted the electric railway, while contributing far less to the public expense than did the electric railway IN SPITE OF THE FANTASTIC CLAIMS OF THE BUS PROMOTERS THAT BUSES ARE MORE ECONOMICAL TO OPERATE THAN ELECTRIC RAILWAYS. Of course these claims are unfounded, for if the bus system were called upon by the city government to contribute as largely to the public expense as did the electric railway, the bus system would have to still further increase its charges to the riding public in order to survive. Its vehicles wear out more quickly and require more frequent complete replacement, and during their limited life they require frequent and expensive repairs far in excess of the maintenance costs for electric railway cars. The inefficient and primitive arrangement of carrying large non-paying loads wherever the bus goes (fuel supply and prime-mover engine) results in increased expense for motive power above that required by the electric railway car, while the passenger capacity of the average bus is considerably smaller than that of the average electric railway car.

Other fantastic and misleading claims to superiority made by the bus promoters deserve careful scrutiny and complete exposure. Some of their favorite claims — presented in clever and convincing manner — comprise half-truths or deliberate misrepresentations. A man’s truthfulness should be measured not so much by the actual words he employs as by the ideas which he deliberately conveys to those he addresses with those words. If he cleverly constructs truthful statements so as to imply untruths, he is guilty of falsehood. If he carefully avoids mentioning important facts which would completely alter the meaning of the partial truths which he states — then he is morally a liar.
If Junior runs in the house with a bloody nose and reports that little Bobby next door punched him in the face, he may be telling the absolute truth as far as it goes. But if he deliberately avoids mentioning that he had just previously clouted Bobby over the head with a baseball bat and that Bobby is at the moment on the way to the hospital in an ambulance — Junior is guilty of misrepresentation.
The publicity releases and the sales arguments circulated widely by the bus promoters are packed with half-truths, obviously designed to convey meanings which are false. Many of the statements are completely without foundation. Many are cleverly worded, with the obvious intent to impart false impressions. Underlying the whole campaign is the ulterior motive to discredit the electric railways of our nation — to shake the well-founded faith of the public, their elected public officials and the officers of transportation utilities in our established electric railway systems. And this campaign is paying big dividends to those unscrupulous interests which have combined their resources to finance the campaign. Unfortunately the American public is gullible, and when seeing something in print frequently enough, they are easily convinced that it is true. They fail to investigate the source — or they fail to consider the source. As a result they are all too often misled by unprincipled persons or groups. By maneuvering with not-too-ethical politicians, the bus promoters arrange to obtain valuable concessions for the prospective bus operators which the electric railways were never able to obtain, and by sacrificing the interests of the riding public and the taxpayers, the business of operating buses is made most attractive to the transit companies. As a result, some of the transit officials are heard joining in the chorus of the song taught them by the bus promoters — “Modernization, Improvement, Progress”. The fact that some misled electric railway officials themselves voice sentiments in favor of conversion to bus operation contributes to the apparent plausibility of the bus promoters’ claims.

Some typical examples of misrepresentation on the part of the bus promoters are as follows:

(1) “Buses are safer and more convenient for the passengers because they pull over to the curb to discharge and pick up passengers”.
The statement implies that the electric railway cars cause inconvenience and danger to the passengers by stopping out in the middle of the street to discharge and pick up passengers. If anyone interested will just give this matter a little thought, he will soon realize that THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE WHATEVER IN THE MEASURE OF SAFETY OR CONVENIENCE. Here is the reason: The bus pulls over to the right hand side of the street, near the curb, and discharges on an average 50% of its alighting passengers on the WRONG SIDE OF THE STREET. It then becomes necessary for those passengers to cross ALL THE WAY over to the opposite side of the street to reach their intended destinations. In like manner, 50% of the prospective passengers who wish to board the bus, must come from the opposite side of the street, and must cross ALL THE WAY over in order to reach the bus. The electric railway car stops at a well defined safety zone in the middle of the street, where it treats 100% of its passengers impartially; they all cross HALF WAY over the street to reach either curb or to board the car. THE TOTAL RISK AND TOTAL CONVENIENCE IS IDENTICALLY THE SAME. But the bus promoters craftily avoid mentioning this fact. They concentrate on the alleged advantages of curb loading and unloading.

(2) “Buses pull over to the curb when they stop for passengers, thus avoiding any delay to following traffic.”
Both the first and second part of this statement will not withstand close investigation. In the great majority of cases, parked vehicles along the curb adjacent to the bus-stop make it impossible for the bus to draw up parallel to the curb. As a result, the bus makes a sort of gesture at pulling over towards the curb, stopping at an acute angle with its rear standing out in the first traffic lane. This means that following vehicles are either delayed while the bus stops, or that they swing out into the next outer or opposing lane, causing delay to vehicles in that lane if not actually causing accidents by their suddenly altered course. In contrast, the electric railway car follows the obviously outlined course of its rails causing no more delay to other vehicles when it stops than does the bus, but avoids confusion to traffic by sticking to its predetermined course. The bus does NOT pull over parallel to the curb in the great majority of cases, and it DOES delay traffic when it stops. If you have not noticed this performance, check up on it yourself. Another fact in connection with the “curb stops” of buses, which promoters carefully avoid drawing attention to, is the sacrifice made by those property owners, residents, merchants and others in front of whose property the curb stops are established. Usually two locations to each block along the route of the bus line (one on each side of the street) must be reserved along the curb for bus stops. Here no parking is permitted. This means that the property at each of these locations is discriminated against. No customers of the merchant at such a location may park their cars there even long enough to enter and make a purchase. No truck may stop there even long enough to load or unload. The owner of the property can not even park his own car there, but must resort to “poaching” on some neighbor’s curb space. The owner or occupant of that property is expected and forced to contribute his curb space to the public convenience and the bus service WITHOUT RECOURSE, AND WITHOUT COMPENSATION. Such a condition is never caused by the electric railway.

(3) “Buses are not confined to tracks—they may be steered in and out and around to get ahead through traffic”.
This is a self-condemning statement—for that is EXACTLY the kind of driving that our traffic police are trying their best to prevent. Traffic should keep in orderly lines, and not weave left and right, from one lane to another. That is what causes confusion and overall slowing-up of all traffic. What is worse, it causes serious accidents. Every time a vehicle in one lane suddenly swerves over into another lane there is risk of one or more accidents. Other vehicles in turn are forced out of their lanes or are forced to suddenly apply their brakes to avoid the intruding vehicle. Traffic policemen issue summons to such violators of traffic regulations for jeopardizing the lives of other drivers and passengers. Should the bus driver carry special license to weave in and out and thus “get ahead through traffic” at the risk and delay of other vehicles? Are not the drivers of the other vehicles equally anxious to “get ahead through traffic”? If all vehicles on the street kept in as orderly a line as do the electric railway cars, if their movements were as dependable and predictable as those of the electric railway cars there would be far fewer traffic delays, and what is more important — far fewer serious accidents.

(4) “Buses have flexible routes which may be readily changed with changing requirements.”
That one LOOKS like an obvious advantage, doesn’t it? But is it? Think carefully. Is there a “business district” in your city where, within a few blocks, you can conveniently find everything you want on your shopping tour — where you can pay your bills, or go in and relax over a nice cool drink? And close at hand do you find the choice of several different movie shows? How did the property value increase so remarkably in the last few years? Has that property you bought there twenty years ago doubled, tripled or quadrupled its value? Have its earnings increased steadily since you bought it? The average American city has grown up around the design of its established transportation system. If the electric railway system was laid out so that its various branches converged upon its growing “business district”, then that district’s future was assured. It continued to grow and to increase in real property value as well as in convenience value to the whole community. The concentration of patronage brought to it by the various electric railway lines whose cars all converge on “Main Street” or whatever its name may be have resulted in continued increase in improvements, prosperity and expansion for that “headquarters” district. Without such a permanently located transportation system, you would find a scattering of business establishments, with the result that it would be necessary for you to ride here for your groceries, there for your meats, somewhere else to pay your electric bill, and another trip in some other direction would be required when you want to pay your tax bill. Theaters would be located in helterskelter fashion, and the telephone company’s office might be almost anywhere. Did you buy a home out in a nice suburban section, close to the electric railway line so that you would not have too far to walk in the morning and in the evening, particularly in bad weather? How would you feel if, after getting your home paid for and the garden nicely cultivated, some politically influential person decided to buy some lots several blocks over from the transportation line and to enhance its value he suddenly had the line rerouted AWAY from your home, but conveniently close to HIS property? You’d be pretty indignant about it, wouldn’t you? You might even suggest that it was illegal, discriminatory, unAmerican.But that sort of thing is being done every day, with BUS lines. They are routed and rerouted overnight by those who have the strongest political influence. There is NOTHING fixed or permanently established about any bus line. An electric railway line is laid out according to carefully drawn-up plans, to properly serve the most people the most conveniently. Once it is built, the city’s pattern for that section is definitely established. You may rely upon the route remaining as it was built—and you may safely invest your money in the site you have chosen for your home or your business. Before the electric railway can be moved, new plans must be made, engineers must make surveys, contractors must be engaged for the work. Such a move can hardly be sprung as a surprise, or a fait d’accompli. You, as a property owner and tax-payer will have time to submit objection or to demand investigation. As a result such a move is made only upon the desire and approval of a proper majority. But the bus line? To change its route requires merely a telephone call from an influential person. The very next bus on the schedule may immediately follow the new route. This has been done all over our country. In one city after another buses have become political footballs. Yes, the bus route IS flexible. Would you care to take a chance on purchasing real estate along the route of a bus, because of the convenience afforded by the bus line? Or have you already had the unfortunate experience of making such an investment, with the usual results? The electric railway creates stability in property values. One may depend upon a steady increase in popularity and value of the property along its route. But the bus line, remember, is FLEXIBLE.

(5) “The modern bus is smooth-riding. Its soft upholstered seats add to the comfort of travel.”
Does this statement imply that the electric railway car is hard-riding and that its hard seats detract from the comfort of travel? Used in comparing the alleged advantages of the bus over the electric railway car — it would certainly SEEM so. Let’s not compare potatoes with apples. If we are discussing a modern bus, let’s discuss a modern electric railway car. Let’s not draw an obviously unfair comparison between a 1945 bus and a 1915 electric railway car. However, because of their strong, durable design and construction, there are many 1915 electric railway cars still performing admirably. They provided the extra transportation that was so desperately needed during the recent World War II as well as they did during World War I, and they are not worn out yet. However — they should now be retired and replaced by modern P.C.C. cars. It will not be practical to compare 1915 buses with anything because buses fall apart after a few years of service, so perishable and frail is their construction, and so rugged is their service in bouncing and jolting over rough pavements. If you are impressed by the statement that the modern bus is smooth-riding, and that its soft upholstered seats add to the comfort of riding, just try a few rides in one. Yes the upholstery is soft. But your knees are jammed up against the seat ahead of you, because of the fact that so many seats have been crowded into so little space in the attempt to provide a maximum number of seats. Even so, there are fewer seats in the average bus than in the average electric railway car. And if you have the misfortune to win an aisle seat, you will find that because the bus itself is narrower than the electric railway car, the seats and the aisles are narrower, with the result that half of your posterior hangs suspended in mid-air out in the narrow aisle where passengers squeezing by repeatedly bump and thump your person. Its a little embarrassing at first — but you’ll have to get used to it if you ride the bus, just as you’ll have to get used to the chafing of your knees against the seat ahead of you. You may find the swerving from left to right and right to left a bit annoying and alarming as the driver weaves in and out and around traffic. If you happen to be numbered amongst the relatively large proportion of passengers who must ride standing up in the bus, you will probably find this weaving around — and the sudden stops and starts make it difficult to keep your balance. You’d better jolly well hold fast to a stanchion all the time; otherwise you may be pitched headlong on your nose. HAVE YOU ACTUALLY TRIED IT? Well, let’s assume that you survive the trip without anything worse than a bashed-in hat and trampled toes. Now try a ride in the modern electric railway vehicle—the P.C.C. car. By the way, do you know what those initials stand for? They mean Presidents’ Conference Committee. The presidents of the leading electric railways of the United states got together and raised a fund of one million dollars for research work,to produce the ideal design for an ultra-modern electric railway car. The result of this, the greatest industrial research effort ever undertaken, is the P.C.C. car that you are invited to ride in. You will notice not only the soft, comfortable upholstery on the seats, but also the ample room for your knees between the seats, and the ample width of the seats to accommodate two normal passengers. No hanging half of your person out in the aisle in THIS vehicle. And the ample width of the aisle precludes the annoying bumps and thumps from other passengers, because they have plenty of room in which to pass. Notice that smooth but swift start? Other traffic is left far behind as the traffic-light changes to green, for this car has a remarkably quick get-away. Now THAT constitutes really getting ahead — without going THROUGH traffic, without causing any danger or confusion to other vehicles. But any standees in the aisle are not in the least inconvenienced, because the swift start is devoid of jerks. Here is a smooth, continuous motion, with no shifting of gears, engaging of clutch or “gunning” the engine, as in the bus. Likewise, there is no roar of exhaust, or smell of gas fumes. Here is silent, smooth, properly controlled electrical energy. Even the familiar wheel-sounds of the railway are absent, for in this modern electric railway car the steel wheel-treads are insulated from the rest of the car by resilient rubber “sandwiches”, and the various other parts of the mechanism are rubber-insulated to produce a quiet, well-cushioned ride. There is no uncomfortable swerving from left to right or right to left, for we are following the straight steel rails. We are not alarmed about the operator’s skill in steering in and out and around obstacles—for he is not required to do any steering at all — that was all done for him by the engineers who surveyed the line and built the track. ALWAYS PERFECT CONTROL, REGARDLESS OF SLIPPERY SURFACES.
Now we are approaching a stopping point—and we marvel at-the remarkably short distance in which this big, roomy car can be checked from its swift flight to a complete standstill — with no jerks or lurches — just a prompt but smooth reduction in speed. And this is done without even resorting to the powerful electromagnetic track brakes. They are reserved for sudden emergencies when some reckless driver, violating regulations, darts into our path. Then these uncanny but sure-footed magnetic devices actually grab the track over which we are skimming. Regardless of oil or sleet or snow, they will bring us to a smooth but even shorter stop than do the regular service brakes. No chance of “sliding wheels” with these magnetic track brakes — they have nothing to do with the wheels. And they can always be relied upon REGARDLESS OF SLIPPERY SURFACE CONDITIONS. That is certainly a comforting thought in this age of faster and faster pace. It is nice to be able to out-speed anything else on the road — but it is more important to be able to stop promptly and RELIABLY. The brilliant but properly shielded lights in this modern car, and the absence of vibration and ‘”jiggle” make reading a pleasure, for we know that under these conditions we are not injuring our eyes. The odorless electric heat in the winter with proper sanitary ventilation, and the wide open windows in the summer with no smelly exhaust to overheat the car or choke the passengers make riding in this modern vehicle a pleasure ANY time of the year. THIS is the modern electric railway car, which invites comparison with any other form of mass-transportation vehicle—in point of safety, comfort, convenience and economy.

IMPORTANT DATA – TRY TO MATCH IT!

This modern electric railway car – known familiarly as the P.C.C. car – has a total horsepower of 220. It smoothly accelerates at the rate of 4 3/4 miles per hour per second. With its service brakes, it decelerates normally at the same rate — 4 3/4 miles per hour per second. However, faced by the necessity of making a shorter stop, it can actually decelerate from a speed of 20 miles per hour at the rate of 9 miles per hour per second. This is made possible by its electro-magnetic track brakes which provide, in addition to the drag of wheel brakes, a braking drag equivalent to 1 1/3 times the weight of the car. The car weighs 33,000 lbs., is 46 ft long, 8 ft. 6 in. wide, and 10 ft. high, insuring plenty of headroom and space for the passengers to move about within. The car seats 60 passengers and has space for as many as 40 standees without discomfort. This means that during rush hours when many passengers prefer to ride standing up rather than to wait for seating accommodations, this car will carry 100 passengers with ONE VEHICLE MOVEMENT, ONE OPERATOR. TRY TO MATCH ITS PERFORMANCE WITH ANY OTHER VEHICLE ON WHEELS — OR EVEN NEARLY APPROACH IT!
If THIS type of car is not considered and investigated in any suggested transit “modernization program” or “improvement campaign”, there is most certainly good reason to suspect that SOMEBODY is afraid of it — afraid to submit the vehicles THEY advocate to a direct, just comparison with the P.C.C. car. HAVE THE IMPROVEMENT PROMOTERS OFFERED YOU AN OPPORTUNITY TO SEE AND RIDE IN THE P.C.C. CAR? HAVE YOU HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO INVESTIGATE GENUINE FACTS AND FIGURES IN CONNECTION WITH ITS OPERATION? If NOT, you are missing the greatest possibility for improving your transit system. THE BEST INVESTMENT OF ALL: INSIST UPON A TRIAL OF THE P.C.C. CAR BEFORE PERMITTING A DECISION. IF ANYONE ATTENPTS TO PREVENT THIS TRIAL AND INVESTIGATION, YOU MAY BE SURE THAT HE IS A TRAITOR TO THE PUBLIC CAUSE. HE IS BENT UPON CONCEALING THE BEST AND FORCING YOU TO ACCEPT AN ALTOGETHER INFERIOR SUBSTITUTE. The P.C.C. cars are built by several different manufacturers — none of whom were even aware that this document was being prepared and distributed.

STATEMENT OF AUTHORSHIP

In order to make perfectly clear the identity of the writer, his background and his motives for spreading the accompanying facts and information before you, the following statement is presented:

I, Edwin J. Quinby, am a citizen of the United States of America. I was born in New York City January 13, 1894. I was educated at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York, at New York City College and by the International Correspondence Schools in electrical engineering. I have had several years of experience in the field of mass-transportation, having been employed by the North Jersey Rapid Transit Company (Paterson, N.J. and the suburban communities to Suffern, N.Y.) as Conductor and as Motorman on multiple-unit trains in Interurban service, as Mechanic-Electrician on maintenance work in the shops and out on the line, and as Sub-station Operator. I have had experience with the American Car & Foundry Company as Car Designer and as Car Inspector. I have been employed by the Western Electric Company and by the Radio Corporation of America, whose laboratories I left in May 1941 when called to active duty in the United States Naval Reserve, of which I have been a member since 1932. Nine United States Patents have been issued to me on electrical devices in the field of railway signals, sound and radio, none of which I now own and in which I own no royalty interest. I have no securities in any manufacturing companies, publicity organizations, public service companies or utilities with the exception of the American Telephone & Telegraph Company. I have been president of the Electric Railroaders’ Association for the past five years. I am at present on active duty in the Navy with the rank of Commander. I have nothing to sell and I have no ulterior motive in bringing the accompanying information to your attention. I am motivated by the earnest desire to see certain valuable public utilities which I know to be in jeopardy receive proper justice and survive so that the American public may continue to enjoy the superior facilities which only these utilities are capable of providing and so that our natural resources may be conserved for the important peacetime applications and the vital national defense applications in which they are indispensable. While I am convinced that the Electric Railroaders’ Association of 51 West 35th Street, New York City 1, is in full accord with my disclosures, I take full personal responsibility for all of the statements in this document which I am having reproduced and distributed at my own expense.

 

 
Tags: E. J. Quinby
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Posted by Miningman on Thursday, July 26, 2018 12:20 PM

Quite the Manifesto! Big Oil, Big Rubber, Big Auto won handily. 

Unlike a Western, the good guys don't always win. The Big Fix was in.

From California to Maine, Vancouver to Halifax. Small isolated pockets survived, with the exception of Toronto which kept it's vast system intact somehow.

 That wasn't the end either, Railroad passenger service was next, then freight, and the Railroads went into severe decline and near extinction. 

Well we all know this, and we were warned by voices, but few cared to do anything. As a society we made our choices and we abandoned rail in all forms, to the point of tearing down Pennsylvania Station. In fact people still argue in favour in eliminating streetcars, intercity services, even Amtrak. Madison Avenue brainwashing still goes on. 

Streetcars and light rail are making somewhat of a comeback, it is sensible and reasonable. The battle continues at least somewhat 80 years later.

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Posted by Backshop on Thursday, July 26, 2018 7:25 PM

...and the railroads got rid of the stagecoaches...life goes on...

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Posted by Miningman on Thursday, July 26, 2018 7:36 PM

Not buying that one one iota. Only in North America, no where else in the world. Japan is a gazillion light years ahead in rail passenger AND produce a superior product in autos. Same thing in Europe. 

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Posted by SD70Dude on Thursday, July 26, 2018 7:59 PM

Notably, San Francisco and Los Angeles have spend billions over the past 50-odd years rebuilding what they once had in the Key System and Pacific Electric.

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

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Posted by MidlandMike on Thursday, July 26, 2018 9:20 PM

I noticed that Mr. Quinby's education included " International Correspondence Schools in electrical engineering."  I am trying to picture such a correspondence school.

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Posted by erikem on Thursday, July 26, 2018 11:09 PM

ICS was around for about 100 years, closing shop about 20 years ago. Go back to PopSci, PopMech, MechIllustrated, etc from 1920 to past 1970 and every issue will have an ICS ad. Many of the textbooks have been put online, including the 1908 and 1915 editions of Electric Railway Engineering.

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Posted by Firelock76 on Friday, July 27, 2018 5:56 PM

And don't kid yourselves, those were good correspondence courses 100 years ago.

They were all a lot of young men had to go with.

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, July 28, 2018 6:01 AM

Remember that 'correspondence course' is really a euphemism for mail-order lessons.  ICS carried this to a higher level by using "faculty" to carefully assess and comment on each individual student's responses as they progressed, this being a great part of the value of the 'correspondence course' over the type of 'sequential learning opportunity' that was just multiple handouts to read and exercises to complete. 

I have wondered how the ICS model would have flourished if the school had recognized the possibilities inherent in the e-mail reflector model.  That would have facilitated a much cheaper method of 'correspondence' and vastly reduced latency and overhead costs, and also provided much quicker and better detailed answers to specific areas of concern to particular students; it would also enable faculty to find and test areas of weakness in a particular student's knowledge, or attitude, and to determine dynamically a student's 'favored' methods of learning and cater to them more individually within a relatively fixed system of lesson planning. 

Ah! the roads not taken.  Anyone looking at the fate of the first "open" artificial-intelligence course floated a couple of years ago can easily determine better ways of fostering distance learning and encouraging interest in topic material; here we are nearly a fifth of the way through the 21st Century and there is still little assistance learning technological thinking, even though MIT courses have been available free on the Web for what is now I think decades -- that helped the likes of Abdul Qadeer Khan dramatically, but not too many American high-school students, even at supposedly good schools.

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Posted by Backshop on Saturday, July 28, 2018 7:38 AM

Maybe buses were cheaper and more versatile.  You didn't need to lay and maintain track and caternary.  You didn't need powerplants.  You didn't need to lay track if you wanted to try a new route.  It wasn't a conspiracy, it was common sense.

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, July 28, 2018 9:09 AM

Backshop
It wasn't a conspiracy, it was common sense.

Remember that Quinby was talking about a very different situation: where all the equipment and infrastructure was already 'in being', and where mandatory traffic increased to suit available capacity.

All the arguments GM made in the mid-Fifties for diesel bus use still apply nicely, and many of them apply to dedicated BRT as well.  The only major difficulty comes with feature creep and inflationary cost in public-works construction, which makes bus "guideways" a relatively high percentage of light or even heavy rail of more nominal capacity.  Since both autonomous operation and very-short-headway platooning are vastly easier on dedicated guideways than on regular roads and streets, I expect to see properly-enabled bus systems make some headway in 'filling the gaps' in regional planning.

The 'conspiracy' was in requiring sweetheart contracts for spare parts and certain maintenance items for the buses once a given entity had purchased them.  You can usually assess the veracity of a 'streetcar conspiracy' source by seeing what they document GM as being "guilty" of. 

In my opinion, too, a very substantial percentage of NCL conversions were mercy killings, or meaningful service improvements.  I love trolleys, don't misunderstand me, but if I HAD to ride something that my job required be on time every time, there are often reasons those buses are a better option.

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Posted by Firelock76 on Saturday, July 28, 2018 9:39 AM

I just read through Commander Quinby's manifesto, or I guess a more proper term for it would be a "Jeremiad."

What a man!  Like a good Navy man, he used words as effectively as torpedos or 16" shells.

Unfortunately, to use another old Navy term, his efforts were as effective as "Shoveling garbage against the tide."  Too bad.

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Posted by Miningman on Saturday, July 28, 2018 10:38 AM

Yeah, good post Firelock. Old Quinby didn't stand a chance. Perhaps a few dedicated folks, academics and the odd politician read through all that but I cannot see your average citizen reading the whole thing. Besides, in the end, it's just an opinion really. 

Regardless, I believe every word and he was a voice of reason in the darkness. Toronto definitely held against the tide. It is surprising to me that it was them and not Montreal that did so. I suppose Montreal being far more cosmopolitan at the time needed to show it's progressive nature, but damn, what a shame. 

Overmod-- Really? You would rather a bus than a streetcar? Something is wrong here. 

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Posted by Backshop on Saturday, July 28, 2018 11:05 AM

Overmod

 

 
Backshop
It wasn't a conspiracy, it was common sense.

 

Remember that Quinby was talking about a very different situation: where all the equipment and infrastructure was already 'in being', and where mandatory traffic increased to suit available capacity.

I wasn't replying so much to Quinby's diatribe but rather to certain other posters who think we should still have streetcars today and that trains should still be the major long distance transporter of people.  Those days are long gone.

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Posted by Miningman on Saturday, July 28, 2018 11:51 AM

Backshop-- Well don't preach that line in Toronto. The streetcar system is intact and goes everywhere and a new generation of streetcars is arriving as we speak . In case you think this is a Mickey Mouse city well it's the 4th largest in North America, surpassed only by Mexico City, the Big Apple and LA and surpasses Chicago and Houston.

In addition streetcars are making a decent comeback across the spectrum in major urban areas. It makes perfectly good sense.

As for Long distance trains, I see a good future yet, although most do not. It is inevitable.

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Posted by Firelock76 on Saturday, July 28, 2018 2:51 PM

Commander Quinby was right about one thing, at least concerning Northern New Jersey, his own neck of the woods.

In his commentary I read where he dismisses greater versatility concerning buses, saying they're just going to follow the old trolley routes anyway.  Present-day NJ Transit buses (in Bergen County at least) follow the same routes the now long-forgotten Public Service trolleys used to follow.  I've got a history of the Public Service trolley system, complete with routes, and "lo and behold..."

In his book "Interurban Interlude"  E.J. talks of the rise of the bus companies, and how they pirated trolley customers by traveling the post-WW1 improved roads which paralelled the trolley lines and showing up at trolley stops five minutes before the trolleys did.  Public Service was losing so much business to the buses they said "The hell with it!" and bought the bus companies, which is probably what the bus company organizers had in mind to begin with.

I'm not old enough to remember the trolleys, but I sure remember the PS buses growing up.  Man, did they stink! When I was in the car with my father he tried to get around those things as soon as he could!

Must have been burning sewage instead of diesel fuel!

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Posted by Overmod on Sunday, July 29, 2018 5:51 AM

With all this discussion of Quinby's polemic, I thought it might be valuable for those who haven't in fact read the document itself to get at least a taste of its 'flavor':

https://arthurgoldwag.wordpress.com/2011/03/31/commander-edwin-j-quinby-and-the-great-streetcar-conspiracy/

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Posted by Miningman on Sunday, July 29, 2018 1:39 PM

 

Mike states:, interesting character that Quinby guy, who I never heard of until recently. Besides trains he was into radio and a steam boat calliope 
 

 

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Posted by daveklepper on Monday, July 30, 2018 7:46 AM

Good reason for me to want that photo of the young E. Jay Quinby improved, so here it is:

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Posted by Overmod on Monday, July 30, 2018 9:54 AM

What the hell is that -- Phoebe Snow on the early Lackawanna wireless, or some Byzantine saint?

 

"Gulflight' is famous in its own right .

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Posted by Miningman on Monday, July 30, 2018 11:10 AM

Be nice! Navy guys wear white, haven't a clue what the orb thingie is.

Still kinda funny though, but you don't want to cheese off Mr. Klepper who did a swell job of cleaning up the photo.

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Posted by Miningman on Monday, July 30, 2018 2:19 PM

Well if you didn't fancy that picture how about this one!

Amelia Earhart and E. Jay Quinby

   
  •   
     
Thumbnail navigator for current image.  Drag around to view image in more detail.
 

 

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Posted by Miningman on Monday, July 30, 2018 2:26 PM

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Posted by Backshop on Monday, July 30, 2018 4:07 PM

So he's like Forrest Gump, always showing up at famous events and meeting famous people? :)

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Posted by Firelock76 on Monday, July 30, 2018 5:34 PM

I'll tell you what, if E.J. was handling the radio and the navigation on Amelia's round the world flight in 1937 she'd be alive today!  Well, maybe...Whistling

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Posted by Miningman on Tuesday, July 31, 2018 12:39 AM

Yeah, some people are like that .. live in the moments and the events. 

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Friday, August 10, 2018 10:07 AM

After all these years, there are still gullible people who eat up "The Great GM-NCL Streetcar Conspiracy".  The big problem with said "conspiracy" is that it doesn't explain the situation for properties not operated by National City Lines such as Chicago Surface Lines, Milwaukee Electric Railway & Transport Co, etc.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by Trinity River Bottoms Boomer on Saturday, August 11, 2018 8:22 AM

Tampa was one of the first cities in post WWII America to loose it's streetcars.  Dallas lost them in the mid-50s.  Growing up on my grandparents small farm north of Big D in Farmers Branch my mother took me with her to St. Matthews Episcopal Church in Dallas every Sunday on Trailways.  As a result, I grew up loving trains but also accepted the bus as well. 

I still believe that from the beginning, Amtrak should have worked together with bus companies to provide Total Transportation in the US so people could get to almost every American city and town coast to coast and inbetween.  It would have been a winner for the steel rail and rubber tire alike.

 

 

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Posted by SD70Dude on Tuesday, August 14, 2018 1:39 AM

Trinity River Bottoms Boomer

Good Lord!  Joe, it's great to see you back on the forum!

When your other account disappeared I thought for sure you were pushing up the daisies.

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

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Posted by Trinity River Bottoms Boomer on Tuesday, August 14, 2018 3:33 AM

Not pushing up daisies yet Dude though family health issues (not mine) have contributed to my lack of taking an active part here on the Classic Trains forum.  Thanks for welcoming me back. 

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