"SHALi, RAILROADS CONTINUE?"
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.