National Geographic : 1937 Aug
Tfc 0 Tit9i THERE'S a big story in the stupendous shop ping list of the world's finest transportation system ... a yearly bill of goods so huge it makes the American railroads one of the largest and steadiest customers the people of this country have. This star customer buys in practically every man ufacturing city and agricultural county through out the land-enormous orders of almost every thing we as a nation produce. Imagine, for instance, what it takes to cook and serve twenty-five million meals-meals remem bered among the finest a traveler anywhere eats. Consider the single item of choice meats-more than fifteen million pounds! Or eggs-two mil lion dozen! Or potatoes-nine million pounds of them, purchased by the railroads every year. Bread and butter? Thirty million crisp rolls thirty-five million slices of new bread-two mil lion pounds of butter. And, just to touch on desserts, enough ice cream to treat every child in the country, in the first, second and third grades, with a nice big ice cream cone! But even the whole great grocery bill, fabulous as the figures are, is only a minor part of what the railroads need and buy. Last year they bought more than $800,000,000 worth of fuel, materials and supplies for their operations. And put another $300,000,000 into new equipment and improved facilities. Altogether these purchases were more than one billion dollars in 1936! That was one-third greater than total railroad buying the year before; almost twice as great as in 1933. It is plain that such huge-scale buying benefits business in general and, directly or indirectly, the whole country. But that is only incidental to the really big benefit the railroads give America: the transportation upon which American agriculture and business are based-always safe, swift, de pendable. These are interesting figures to everyone in America. For the benefits of this buying spread into almost every county of the land. As the rail roads go ahead, business goes ahead. The railroads have been doing a good job. To do a better job, all they ask is a fair opportunity to get business-and handle business-on an equal basis with other forms of transportation. That's fair to all.