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Could not agree more with this article.......

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Could not agree more with this article.......
Posted by CMStPnP on Tuesday, November 9, 2021 2:07 PM

So maybe finally the conspiracy theory will end.    Yes I am aware GM paid out on a lawsuit but it was tired of fighting the political lawsuit filed by the government and wanted to move on.    That is the ONLY reason it paid out.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/letters-editor-grandfather-bought-car-110054558.html

 

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Posted by 54light15 on Tuesday, November 9, 2021 2:24 PM

And really, when considering all the conditions around the system, all GM did was open their bus catalog. 

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Posted by MidlandMike on Tuesday, November 9, 2021 7:36 PM

Yes ,cars put the trolleys into decline, so why did GM, tire and oil companies buy a declining transit system?  Please give me any other reason besides replacing rail with their rubber tired buses burning oil.

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Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, November 10, 2021 9:08 AM

1.  The law-suit was for monopolizing the bus sales, not for buying up streetcar lines to insure bua conversion, which they did do, both by themselves in the case of New York Raiways and the affiliated two New York and Harlem, NYCentral-owned, lines, and in conjunction with Firestone and Texaco through National City Lines for about 25 - 30 systems across the USA.

2.  They were aided by the same political climate that favored the private automobile and air transportation over railroading of any nature, out-0f-site subways excepted in three eastern cities.

3.  Why did Federal anti-trust lawyers force power companies to divest streetcar systems while allowing GM and National City to own them?

4.  Why did Congress force Roy Chalk to convert the all-PCC Capitol Transit system to bus when he wished to continue running streetcars on the heaviest routes plus Cabin John with its scenic RoW?

5.  When GM and National City didn't own the systems, anothrer statergy:  In Providence, RI, a fine trolleybus (Trackless trolley) system was scrapped for buses, and in the Twin Cities a well-maintained system on its way to an all PCC system met a similar fate.  Outside investors, interested in quick profits, replaced management dedicated to good service.  The payments on scrapped wire and rail and older streetcars, with modern equipment getting a good price for other systems (Providence to Boston, Twin Cities to Mexico City, Shaker Heights, and Newark/PSofNJ-NJTransit) all counting as profits, then the buses leased, not bought, with the lease payments part of operating costs.  No fare increase?  OK, bankrupcy, and the city can operate a system with subsidies, and payment to creditors by selling the real-estate and buildings and shop equipment which the city has to buy at fare market value.

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Posted by daveklepper on Wednesday, November 10, 2021 9:38 AM

In post-WWII car-oriented environment, some companies sis by modern PCC streetcars iun an effort to win back risers.  And on the lines that were still heavily used, streetcars were considerably more economical to operate von a per/passenger basis.  Toronto kept its streetcars.  The typical 1923 streetcar was noisy, rough-riding, and not particularly comfortable.  The PCC was quiet, comfortable, and smooth-riding.  There are lots of specific streetcar lines that should have followed the Toronto example.

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Wednesday, November 10, 2021 10:06 AM

The "Great Streetcar Conspiracy" did not really exist.  The postwar public attitude strongly favored the automobile over any forms of public transit.

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 54light15 on Wednesday, November 10, 2021 4:10 PM

If the "conspiracy" did exist, at the time no one cared. People wanted tail fins. 

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Wednesday, November 10, 2021 4:55 PM

What I consider ironic is in Northern New Jersey in areas once served by Public Service trolleys the current NJ Transit buses follow (mostly) the same routes!  

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Posted by rixflix on Wednesday, November 10, 2021 5:51 PM

If GM owned the transit company they wouldn't have to ask Flxible for a quote.

Rick

rixflix aka Captain Video. Blessed be Jean Shepherd and all His works!!! Hooray for 1939, the all time movie year!!! I took that ride on the Reading but my Baby caught the Katy and left me a mule to ride.

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Posted by CMStPnP on Wednesday, November 10, 2021 7:13 PM

MidlandMike

Yes ,cars put the trolleys into decline, so why did GM, tire and oil companies buy a declining transit system?  Please give me any other reason besides replacing rail with their rubber tired buses burning oil.

My answer in addition to what Dave Keeper stated would also be look at what happened in Milwaukee with TMERL also detailed in the book about the same.   An  active attempt was made to save the line by a railfan and it failed.

Additionally if you look at the newsreporting by the Milwaukee Journal at the time of the transit systems falling ridership.    Editorial slant was that the system was unsafe to ride, the cars were old and dingy,  the cars added to city street congestion and the smooth flow of traffic and replacing them with buses was progress.

That was the public's attitude reflected by the City Newspaper, you can go back and look at the city you live in.     In Wisconsin the National City Lines were only involved in the Oshkosh streetcar system and that was it.

My Parents carried the attitude with them even to today.   They tell stories of the Grand Avenue viaduct (Wisconsin Ave) that you had to ride across to get from downtown to Wauwatosa (that crossed the Milwaukee Roads entrance to Menominee Valley) and how the viaduct looked spindley and seemingly would shake when the street car crossed it.    My Mother was genuinely scared to take that specific route.   Father thought it was a thrill.

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Posted by MidlandMike on Wednesday, November 10, 2021 9:25 PM

daveklepper
3.  Why did Federal anti-trust lawyers force power companies to divest streetcar systems while allowing GM and National City to own them?

Apparently the power companies were subsidizing their money losing trolleys, which the feds thought was unfair to the electric ratepayers.  It seems they should have nixed the GM deal, but then who elese was willing to buy money losing trolleys, many of which were worn out.

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Posted by MidlandMike on Wednesday, November 10, 2021 9:41 PM

CMStPnP

 

 
MidlandMike

Yes ,cars put the trolleys into decline, so why did GM, tire and oil companies buy a declining transit system?  Please give me any other reason besides replacing rail with their rubber tired buses burning oil.

 

My answer in addition to what Dave Keeper stated would also be look at what happened in Milwaukee with TMERL also detailed in the book about the same.   An  active attempt was made to save the line by a railfan and it failed.

Additionally if you look at the newsreporting by the Milwaukee Journal at the time of the transit systems falling ridership.    Editorial slant was that the system was unsafe to ride, the cars were old and dingy,  the cars added to city street congestion and the smooth flow of traffic and replacing them with buses was progress.

That was the public's attitude reflected by the City Newspaper, you can go back and look at the city you live in.     In Wisconsin the National City Lines were only involved in the Oshkosh streetcar system and that was it.

My Parents carried the attitude with them even to today.   They tell stories of the Grand Avenue viaduct (Wisconsin Ave) that you had to ride across to get from downtown to Wauwatosa (that crossed the Milwaukee Roads entrance to Menominee Valley) and how the viaduct looked spindley and seemingly would shake when the street car crossed it.    My Mother was genuinely scared to take that specific route.   Father thought it was a thrill.

 

If GM, et al. had not bought LA's rail transit, maybe no one would have bought it, and it might have gone away.  But then again the city/county might have stepped in like in some other big metro areas.  We will never know.

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Thursday, November 11, 2021 8:24 AM

MidlandMike

 

 
daveklepper
3.  Why did Federal anti-trust lawyers force power companies to divest streetcar systems while allowing GM and National City to own them?

 

Apparently the power companies were subsidizing their money losing trolleys, which the feds thought was unfair to the electric ratepayers.  It seems they should have nixed the GM deal, but then who elese was willing to buy money losing trolleys, many of which were worn out.

 

Certainly true in Public Service's case.  Public Service, still around today as an electric and gas company, was losing money on much of its trolley service by the late 1930's and many cars were on their last legs so the abandonments began.  In the greater Newark area and some others it was still viable so the cars were kept up and lasted into the PCC era. The Newark subway system still survives as part of NJ Transit.

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Posted by daveklepper on Thursday, November 11, 2021 9:48 AM

There are many cases where this was true, but there were other cases where streetcars would have survived if it were not for political interference and/or the policies of GM, Firestone, and Texaxo.  Baltimore is one, and I already discussed Washington and the Twin Cities.  Third Avenue in New York is another, despite lack of PCCs.  They still were in the black during the Depression, but LaGuardia was staunchly pro-bus and had a "professional" ally in Robert Moses.

Possibly Milwaukee's Speedrail would have survived if not for the accident.

Again, the fine was for monopoloizing the bus business and not for streetcar-to-bus conversions.  The article got that wrong, as have many railfans, even repected publications.

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Posted by CMStPnP on Friday, November 12, 2021 9:08 AM

daveklepper
Possibly Milwaukee's Speedrail would have survived if not for the accident.

Dave, even before the accident the Milwaukee Journal was railing against the system in editorials as a relic of the past, old and potentially unsafe.    Then like 30 years later they pop-in with an Editorial "Where have all our trolleys gone?".    As if they were surprised.    About the 1990's the Journal started pushing Light Rail for Milwaukee, 30 years later......Milwaukee got a streetcar system.

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Posted by daveklepper on Saturday, November 13, 2021 11:21 AM

I rode the Milwaukee streetcar system in the summer of 1952, and while the 1920s-era one-man steel cars were by no-means PCCs, or even Third-Avenue home-made lightweights, they seemed well-maintained and by no means whatsoever unsafe. The track seemed better than some of New York's or Pittsburgh's.

THe cause of the Speedrail accident was clear.  Jay Meader, who died in the accident, and was boss of Speedrail, was clearly crininally negligent in ordering the lightweight car operator to run through a red signal.  If I had been on that fantrip, with my Boston and Maine experience about the same time, I would have insisted on getting off the car.  I might have  raised such a ruchus that gthe operator would gave listened to me and not his boss!

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