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A Treatise on Railroads by 

Robert W. iearls 

Prom the time of Watt's fundamental principle 
to this day of electro-motive power, the spider- "Steam"- 
has spun its webb of rails from the hills of Western 
Maryland to the Gold Coast of San Fransisco. The Iron Horse 
has belched its way into every isolated corner of our nation, 
laying the foundation for modern electromotion and engine 

Today Engineers are constantly advancing the 
question- "Railroads for how long?" The answer lies in the 

With the acceleration of the developement of 
Diesel and electromotive power, the Iron Horse is rapidly 
moving Into grazing pastures; but Its roadbed of steel ribbons 
still survives, and on thi network travels the exlstance of 
some of the vertebrae of the nation's backbone. The coal fields 
of Pennsylvania j the stock markets of Chicago; the oil dumps 
of Texas j the manufacturing center:-- of New England; and the 
food-stuff centers of California and Florida are all linked 
to the consumer by the railway. These railways are the arteries 
through which flows the vital fluid of America's commerce. 

Will the Internal Combustion engine as used in 
aviation and automotion replace locomotion and electrification? 
Engineer's can tell only by progressive experiment, and rest 
assured that the transition will not come for many a day. 
Why then the success of General Motors, Pord, and their 


subsidiarles. The answer is small time transportation. 
Cheap? Yes, Efficient? Comparatively. But what about the 
larger manufacturers and exporters? It would cost a convoy 
of Vans huge sums in time and money to move the products 
of the bigger producers. As long as modern manufacturers 
continue to turn out massive article- requiring care and 
rapid delivery, railroads will provide the transportation. 
Automation cannot possibly produce the tractive effort 
nece' sary to move the commodities hauled by Diesel and 
electric power. The constant advancement of both of these 
types make it even more probable for the growth of railways. 

Today, as the nation faces a world crisis, 
railroads loom higher and higher upon the horizon as the 
only means for attaining transportation necessary to meet 
the demands of the government. The rapid production of the 
many instruments of war make it all the more necessary for 
quick moving and early delivery. It's fantastic to imagine 
an auto-truck hauling an order of tanks or light cannon! 

Passenger transportation makes up a comparatively 
small percentage of the railraod's character- freight is the 
major source of Income. 

Following the crash of '29, when railroads 
"hit the bottom", the climb back up the ladder wss a slow 
and tediou- one. Gradually they have swung onto the up- trend, 
and today the mercury is bubbling up more rapidly. The future 
holds even a greater possibility for railways- for as the wh els 


of engineering gain momentum along the path into the horizon, 
the rails of the "iron Hor;=e" move forward also, carrying the 
improved power of progress.