Rock Island Requiem: The Collapse of a Mighty Fine Line by Gregory L. Schneider

By Gregory L. Schneider

Celebrated in background and tune, the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad Company—the Rock Island Line—was a strong Midwestern railroad that when traversed 13 states with its speedy freights and Rocket passenger trains yet finally succumbed to executive legislation and a altering economic system. Gregory Schneider chronicles the Rock Island's painful decline and alongside the way in which finds many of the key difficulties in the American railroad in the course of the post-World conflict II period.

Schneider takes readers again to a time whilst railroads nonetheless clung to a storied earlier to provide new perception into the devastating influence of monetary policymaking in the course of the Nineteen Sixties and Seventies. Schneider recounts the biggest railroad liquidation in American history—as good as probably the most winning reorganizations in American business—to depict the loss of life and supreme cave in of Rock Island as a part of a broader account of demanding occasions within the railroad starting within the 1970s.

Schneider weaves a posh tale of the way enterprise, politics, govt paperwork, and person greed helped to restrict the commercial chances of the railroad and catapult the Rock Island Railroad into oblivion. Weakened via a bothered economic climate, the Rock fell sufferer to inept administration and hard work union intransigence; yet Schneider additionally finds how govt rules and value controls avoided innovation, hindered capital acquisition, and preferred other kinds of transportation that lie past the scope of legislation. Railroads have been even harm by way of taxation of estate and actual property whereas rivals have been in a position to use government-subsidized highways and airports with no need to pay taxes to fund them.

Now that the USA has long past directly to witness the cave in of such huge companies as Enron and Lehman Brothers, let alone the financial ruin and bailout of normal cars, the tale of the Rock presents an instructive lesson in how an important American company was once allowed to fall sufferer to forces frequently past its control—while the bailout of the Penn crucial, on the cost of smaller traces like Rock Island, helped begin the period of "too gigantic to fail."

For financial historians and railroad buffs alike, Rock Island Requiem is a well-researched and informative work—and a effective stable read.

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