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How does Publiclization or Goverment takeover of railroads work?

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How does Publiclization or Goverment takeover of railroads work?
Posted by ronrunner on Saturday, July 10, 2021 1:53 PM

I know that Conrail was the result of bankruptcy and  the courts appointing a trustee..but how did CN and British Rail  come to be public when they were started by private investors...what happened to the private investors capital?

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Posted by Juniata Man on Saturday, July 10, 2021 2:29 PM

CN ceased being a crown corporation in the mid-1990's. Not sure about BC Rail but, Google would probably have the answer.

CW

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Posted by Backshop on Saturday, July 10, 2021 2:51 PM

ronrunner

I know that Conrail was the result of bankruptcy and  the courts appointing a trustee..but how did CN and British Rail  come to be public when they were started by private investors...what happened to the private investors capital?

 

CN was not started by private investors; its constituent railroads were.  They went bankrupt and were taken over by the government.  The PGE was bought out by the province since it was losing money.

Google and Wiki are your friends.

Canadian National Railway - Wikipedia

BC Rail - Wikipedia

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Posted by Murphy Siding on Saturday, July 10, 2021 3:38 PM

divebardave / trainfinder is back

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, July 10, 2021 5:35 PM

ronrunner
...how did CN and British Rail come to be public when they were started by private investors...what happened to the private investors capital?

I see British Rail hasn't been taken up yet.  Start here:

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1947/49/pdfs/ukpga_19470049_en.pdf

There were interesting differences in the ways the United States, Canada, and Britain reacted after WWI.  The Canadian 'grouping' has been mentioned; in Britain the railroads were 'rationalized' into four big systems -- and these are what became 'nationalized' under the above Act.

In my opinion it was not a foregone conclusion that American railroads would be released from Federal control after the war.  There were a number of interesting consolidation plans brought the mid-Twenties, and both the vastly expanded purview of the ICC that greyhounds (in my opinion, rightly) decries and the mandatory imposition of automatic train control were part of the 'price' for returning control to private railroad management (via the Esch Act etc.)

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Posted by SD70Dude on Saturday, July 10, 2021 7:53 PM

In CN's case the Canadian government guaranteed the loans and construction bonds of Canadian Northern and Grand Trunk (the Intercolonial had always been a Crown Corporation).  When the railways defaulted on making payments the government assumed ownership.

Even though the Intercolonial and Grand Trunk were far older it was Canadian Northern's management and operating structure that ended up surviving. 

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Posted by ronrunner on Sunday, July 11, 2021 11:29 AM

Gordon Lightfoots Canadian Railroad Trilogy comes to mind...It was the Irish Polish and Natives blood sweat and tears that built the railroad not Wall Street/Bay Street. So the railroad belongs to Da People

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Posted by tree68 on Sunday, July 11, 2021 2:46 PM

ronrunner

Gordon Lightfoots Canadian Railroad Trilogy comes to mind...It was the Irish Polish and Natives blood sweat and tears that built the railroad not Wall Street/Bay Street. So the railroad belongs to Da People

The money had to come from somewhere.  In the early days it was less Wall Street than people who controlled large fortunes (US example - the Vanderbilts).

Yes, the labor came from the people, but their pay (however pitiful) came from rich men's pockets.

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Posted by NittanyLion on Monday, July 12, 2021 8:31 AM

ronrunner

Gordon Lightfoots Canadian Railroad Trilogy comes to mind...It was the Irish Polish and Natives blood sweat and tears that built the railroad not Wall Street/Bay Street. So the railroad belongs to Da People

 

I'm always tickled by this attitude.  If you paid me to build a shed in your backyard, does that shed belong to me?  I mean, it was my blood, sweat, and tears that built that shed.  It belongs to me.

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Posted by BaltACD on Monday, July 12, 2021 9:16 AM

NittanyLion
 
ronrunner

Gordon Lightfoots Canadian Railroad Trilogy comes to mind...It was the Irish Polish and Natives blood sweat and tears that built the railroad not Wall Street/Bay Street. So the railroad belongs to Da People 

I'm always tickled by this attitude.  If you paid me to build a shed in your backyard, does that shed belong to me?  I mean, it was my blood, sweat, and tears that built that shed.  It belongs to me.

Sweat Equity.  The other side of 'Right to Repair'.

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Posted by Overmod on Monday, July 12, 2021 12:22 PM

NittanyLion
I'm always tickled by this attitude.  If you paid me to build a shed in your backyard, does that shed belong to me?

This argument comes up from time to time when college buildings have dedicatory plaques saying something like 'built by Moses Taylor Pyne' -- he paid, and the skilled workers (many of whom were recent immigrants) did the building.

More modern projects are more specific in crediting 'donors who made this building possible' -- which still rules out recognizing more than, say, the architect or engineering firm.

Strangely, the way to be memorialized is often to die on the job... which is not the only recognition that should be.

As Lightfoot said 'we have opened up the soil with our teardrops and our toil' -- and that is their memorial.

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Posted by zugmann on Monday, July 12, 2021 12:26 PM

Overmod
This argument comes up from time to time when college buildings have dedicatory plaques saying something like 'built by Moses Taylor Pyne' -- he paid, and the skilled workers (many of whom were recent immigrants) did the building.

I live in an old town.  There's still some older sidewalks with the imbedded plaque of the company that poured them .  Always thought that was a neat little touch.  Kind of kept things real, pride, and all that. 

   The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer or any other railroad, company, or person.

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Posted by Murphy Siding on Monday, July 12, 2021 12:45 PM

zugmann
 
Overmod
This argument comes up from time to time when college buildings have dedicatory plaques saying something like 'built by Moses Taylor Pyne' -- he paid, and the skilled workers (many of whom were recent immigrants) did the building.

 

I live in an old town.  There's still some older sidewalks with the imbedded plaque of the company that poured them .  Always thought that was a neat little touch.  Kind of kept things real, pride, and all that. 

 

In the older parts of our city, several concrete companies used to imprint their name the date into the sidewalks they poured. The most impressive one I've seen also had a very accurate depiction of a P-39 Airacobra fighter plane scatched into the surface of the sidewalk. The date showed sometime in the summer of 1942.

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Monday, July 12, 2021 1:59 PM

Embedded plaques are not that common but when new public sidewalks were poured on my block some years back, the name of the contractor that rebuilt the walk was stamped into the sidewalk.

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 BEAUSABRE on Wednesday, July 14, 2021 10:24 PM

Overmod
As Lightfoot said 'we have opened up the soil with our teardrops and our toil'

For which they were paid. 

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Wednesday, July 14, 2021 10:43 PM

BEAUSABRE

 

 
Overmod
As Lightfoot said 'we have opened up the soil with our teardrops and our toil'

 

For which they were paid. 

 

Some buildings are works of art.  We do sometimes get the architect's name on a plaque or cornerstone, but usually the name of the company that paid to have it built. By your standards,  Rembrandt's or Monet's paintings should have the name of the patron who paid them. 

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Posted by SD70Dude on Wednesday, July 14, 2021 10:56 PM

BEAUSABRE
Overmod
As Lightfoot said 'we have opened up the soil with our teardrops and our toil'

For which they were paid. 

At a dollar a day and a place for their head (the cost of which was deducted from that dollar, along with meals).

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Posted by cv_acr on Monday, July 19, 2021 3:57 PM

ronrunner

I know that Conrail was the result of bankruptcy and  the courts appointing a trustee..but how did CN and British Rail  come to be public when they were started by private investors...what happened to the private investors capital?

Same thing. Canadian National Railways was created around 1919 to consolidate into a single organization a number of bankrupt railways that had fallen under government control (plus one or two that had been chartered by the gov't itself). The investment capital was long gone. (As mentioned above, there were also significant government bonds involved here, so the government itself was the major creditor in several cases, plus the public interest in not having a total loss of transportation systems.)

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Posted by NittanyLion on Wednesday, July 21, 2021 10:27 AM

cv_acr

 

 
ronrunner

I know that Conrail was the result of bankruptcy and  the courts appointing a trustee..but how did CN and British Rail  come to be public when they were started by private investors...what happened to the private investors capital?

 

 

Same thing. Canadian National Railways was created around 1919 to consolidate into a single organization a number of bankrupt railways that had fallen under government control (plus one or two that had been chartered by the gov't itself). The investment capital was long gone. (As mentioned above, there were also significant government bonds involved here, so the government itself was the major creditor in several cases, plus the public interest in not having a total loss of transportation systems.)

 

It was a major plot point in Downton Abbey.  While fictional, Lord Grantham's meeting with his attorney pretty much sums up how it worked for the investors.  The money is just gone and you've lost your investment.

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Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, July 21, 2021 11:08 AM

A useful modern example is Amtrak's acquisition of the 'Northeast Corridor'.

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Posted by wjstix on Thursday, July 22, 2021 3:44 PM

When a government body takes over ownership of something in the private sector, like using eminent domain to acquire land to build a highway, there are laws in place that have to be followed re determining the amount the owners are paid in compensation.

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Monday, July 26, 2021 12:27 AM

A wild idea that that has very little chance.  Suppose the RR mess gets worse to the point that a WW - 1  type USRA take over of operations occurs ?

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Posted by ronrunner on Monday, July 26, 2021 9:13 AM

I think President Truman took over Youngstown Sheet &Tube during Korean War Due to a strike Youngstown Sheet and Tube vs Sawyer SCOTUS overturned the Presidents order

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Posted by wjstix on Monday, July 26, 2021 2:38 PM

blue streak 1

A wild idea that that has very little chance.  Suppose the RR mess gets worse to the point that a WW - 1  type USRA take over of operations occurs ?

 
World War 1 was a difficult situation because we were only fighting in Europe, making it a 'one coast war'. Men and supplies were flooding into east coast ports causing huge back-ups, partly caused by the number of railroads involved in serving those ports. The USRA came about to sort everything out, giving the government a final say as to what went where when.
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Posted by Overmod on Monday, July 26, 2021 2:58 PM

As I understood it, the problem was huge numbers of cars arriving, not being as promptly unloaded as dispatched, no priority to pulling empties from the East Coast choke points, and no way for railroads to pool car moves and assignments legally.  One of Wilson's initial arguments for Federal Control was that the government could do and implement things that the railroads were disallowed from doing individually or collectively.

Things changed later, of course, for example nickel-and-dining capital repairs 'that might benefit private owners at public expense in wartime' while approving massive increases in wage expense.   And equally of course no one in Wilson's government would consider asking Congress to legislate emergency 'collaboration' provisions to legalize the car pooling schemes for 'the duration of the emergency'...

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Posted by BaltACD on Monday, July 26, 2021 3:44 PM

Overmod
As I understood it, the problem was huge numbers of cars arriving, not being as promptly unloaded as dispatched, no priority to pulling empties from the East Coast choke points, and no way for railroads to pool car moves and assignments legally.  One of Wilson's initial arguments for Federal Control was that the government could do and implement things that the railroads were disallowed from doing individually or collectively.

Things changed later, of course, for example nickel-and-dining capital repairs 'that might benefit private owners at public expense in wartime' while approving massive increases in wage expense.   And equally of course no one in Wilson's government would consider asking Congress to legislate emergency 'collaboration' provisions to legalize the car pooling schemes for 'the duration of the emergency'...

The problem that causes congestion at ports such as happened in WW I was the unrestricted arrival of loads for shipment that were in no way cordinated with the arrival and loading of vessels that were going to haul to contents of the cars.  This is a situation whenever there is a 'violent' upsurge of traffic in as much as not all traffic is 'the same' and it is not going to the same destinations.  Bring 1000 cars into a port a day and only be able to load 100 on vessels and you now have 900 cars taking up space waiting on their vessel, and tomorrow another 1000 cars will be arriving and so on and so forth.

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