National Geographic : 1938 Apr
THE people whose children go to school with yours - the folks who sit next to you at the movies or at church-thrifty, hard-working folks - you, yourself in all probability - own the railroads. For the railroads belong to 855,000 separate owners of railroad stocks--the majority of in dividual owners have somewhere between 10 and 100 shares - and to the hundreds of thou sands who own railroad bonds. But this is only a starting point. Half the total population has life insurance and all of these people have an indirect ownership in the rail roads- because insurance companies own rail road securities. Or to take another group -anyone who has a little money in a savings account has an indirect ownership in the railroads, because savings banks also own railroad securities. Look them all over and it's easy to see there's not a high hat in a hundred. The real owners of the railroads are just folks. That's why it's important to the average Amer ican for the railroads to prosper. Only when they take in more than they pay out for materials, supplies, taxes, labor, can they have something left over to pay for the use of the money which these people have invested. With this fact always in mind, the railroads, in the face of lean earnings, have developed mass transportation with all of its efficiency and economy -more powerful locomotives, longer trains, greater dependability. They have also worked steadily for improved service as a means of winning business - both passenger and freight. The speed of freight trains, for instance, has been stepped up 50 per cent. And everyone knows the progress made in air-conditioning- the popularity and economy of streamline trains - and the rail road safety record. Anyone who looks at the total record must be impressed with the enterprising spirit of the railroads-and with the need for rates which will not only give their myriad owners some hope of income from the money invested, but will attract new capital which will enable the rail roads to continue to supply America with the finest transportation in the world.