National Geographic : 1937 Sep
psus all HERE you see one of the most modern freight locomotives used by American railroads. It develops 6,500 horsepower. It can haul freight 70 miles an hour. It can highball a string of loaded box cars more than a mile long. That the railroads are using such mighty en gines is a good thing for everyone. Take shippers, for instance. Rates are directly affected by the number of cars which modern locomotives can pull. If trains were as short as they were thirty-six years ago it would add more than three quarters of a billion dollars to the annual freight bill, based on 1936 traffic. Or take wages. The railroads' ability to meet present-day pay rolls depends on low cost oper ation- and the length of the modern freight trains largely determines such costs. Or take safety. Longer trains reduce the chance of grade crossing accidents and collisions, be cause the more trains you have on a track, the more chance of accidents. As a federal court recently said, "The frequency of train and train service accidents is directly related to the num ber of train units operated." Everyone knows the great safety record of the railroads today. And during the period from 1923 to 1936, when the length and speed of trains showed a striking increase, the frequency of train accidents of all sorts decreased 58.5 per cent, and head-on and rear-end collisions decreased 64 per cent. Here in plain terms is the great story of how the railroads keep abreast of the times. American railroad rates are the lowest in the world; American railroad wages the highest. For that, give a good part of the credit to the "big fellow" and the long modern trains he pulls. Here's a book that tells a story of interest to agriculture, industry, commerce and the average American. For your copy, write Association of American Railroads, Transportation Building, Washington, D. C.