Railway Game

Railway Game

J. LUKASIEWICZ
Copyright Date: 1976
Pages: 353
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.cttq93j0
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  • Book Info
    Railway Game
    Book Description:

    The Railway Game is a constructive study that demonstrates deficiencies of railway transportation in Canada and the U.S.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-8307-8
    Subjects: Transportation Studies

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-v)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vi-x)
  3. FOREWORD
    (pp. xi-xvii)
    J. L.

    The time has indeed been more than ample: over 125 years have elapsed since Thomas Coltrin Keefer (1821-1914) introduced his popular and influential 1849 essay in which he explained the significance of railway technology and advocated its development in Canada (Keefer, 1972). In the succeeding years a vast network of railways has been constructed, with more track per capita in Canada than in any other country (two miles per thousand people in 1970, twice as much as in the U.S. and over four times more than in West Germany). But understanding railway transportation and technology has not made such strides....

  4. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
    (pp. xviii-xviii)
  5. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  6. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 1-4)

    From the very beginning of railway development in Canada the government, realizing that without substantial subsidies the construction of railways could not attract private capital, proceeded to supply generous amounts of help from the public purse. At the same time, railway operation was left to profitoriented private enterprise, and was expected to be governed by free-market competition. However, with the railroad virtually monopolizing overland transportation, tariff regulation became both a necessity and an effective political tool. The policies of subsidization, competition and regulation were often incompatible with profitable operation: subsidized and politicallymotivated competition caused a proliferation of lines and a...

  7. PART ONE: THE ORIGINS OF THE MALAISE
    • CHAPTER 1 THE BASIC NETWORK OF RAILWAYS
      (pp. 6-7)

      The Great Western and the Grand Trunk (which absorbed the Great Western in 1882), Maps 1 and 2, were the first major railway systems in Canada. Developed in the 1850s and controlled by English capital, by 1860 they provided connections between Rivière-du-Loup (on the St. Lawrence) and Portland (Maine) in the east, through Montreal and Toronto to Sarnia, Windsor and Niagara in the west; in 1880 Chicago was reached from Port Huron. The Grand Trunk was acquired by the Dominion government in 1920.

      The Intercolonial Railway (1858-76), Map 1, was built by provincial and Dominion governments as a strategic military...

    • CHAPTER 2 RAILWAYS FULFILL POLITICAL GOALS
      (pp. 8-13)

      The immediate and potential needs of the Canadian economy were not the only factors which governed the development of railways: there is abundant evidence that national and partisan political goals played an even more decisive role.* Perhaps more than in any other Western country, in Canada railways were the agents of national unification, the tools of partisan politics and the means to riches for enterprising businessmen. Railways were largely responsible for the settlement of the Canadian West (Mackintosh, 1934) and for exploitation of the country's resources. It has been said that the Canadian Pacific built the nation.

      The concept of...

    • CHAPTER 3 THE RAILWAY-GOVERNMENT COMPLEX: POLITICIANS IN THE SERVICE OF RAILWAYS
      (pp. 14-19)

      Although the generally-accepted point of view, often professed by politicians, legislators and railway promoters of the day, has been that the construction of railways was a national necessity, there is undoubtedly some merit in taking the opposite stand and viewing regional or national unity as a prerequisite necessary for the development of railways.

      Before 1867, the Grand Trunk advocated political and economic union based on a transcontinental line. During a debate in the Provincial Parliament of Canada, A. A. Dorion observed that, the Intercolonial project “having failed (in 1862), some other scheme had to be concocted for bringing aid and...

    • CHAPTER 4 THE RAILWAY-GOVERNMENT COMPLEX: FINANCING RAILWAYS
      (pp. 20-34)

      It has been suggested that if a British economist in 1830 had been able to calculate a cost-benefit analysis on the subsequent history of railways, they would never have been built. The private cost would have exceeded the private benefit to the owners. Yet clearly the railway system provided an enormous social benefit to the nation.

      Jenkins (1972)

      From the very beginning, significant railway projects in Canada relied heavily or totally on the support of governments and municipalities. In 1871, John and Edward Trout, the earliest historians of Canadian railways, listed fourteen ways in which public monies could be expended...

    • CHAPTER 5 FRAGMENTATION VERSUS INTEGRATION
      (pp. 35-40)

      Private ownership and independent operation of a multiplicity of systems is a distinctive feature of rail transportation in North America. In light of the experiences of other industrialized countries, it is also an anachronistic trait. The fragmented structure of railways on the North American continent is maintained as a mechanism which - according to conventional wisdom - insures competition and efficient operation, and prevents the abuses of a monopoly. Despite extensive evidence which indicates that the supposed benefits of competition have failed to materialize, today there is little thought given in Canada to rationalization of railways through effective, complete integration....

    • CHAPTER 6 THE 1915 HERITAGE: DUPLICATION AND OVERCAPACITY
      (pp. 41-49)

      From the early days of railway development in Canada, private competition supported by generous public subsidies resulted in the construction of excessive rail mileage. This led to two types of duplication: (i) functional, through lines which although physically more or less remote, catered to the same traffic, and (ii) physical and functional, through closely paralleled lines operated by competing carriers.

      In Ontario, the Grand Trunk and the Great Western (see Map 2, p. 257) duplicated many services, struggled with inadequate revenues, and finally amalgamated in 1882 only to face shortly thereafter Canadian Pacific's competition; bankrupt, they were taken over by...

    • CHAPTER 7 THE PERTINENT PAST: A SUMMARY
      (pp. 50-51)

      Summarizing the development of railways in Canada we should first note that railway development has not been primarily governed by the forces of competitive, free market economy. Rather, the motivation has often been political, on both a national and partisan level. The Intercolonial, linking Halifax with Quebec, was planned (starting in 1836) and completed (in 1876) as a link between the Maritime Provinces and eastern Canada, and as a strategic, military line. Its construction was stipulated in the 1867 British North America Act. The Canadian Pacific (completed between Montreal/Toronto and Vancouver in 1885), the first transcontinental railway, was built in...

  8. [PART TWO: INTRODUCTION]
    (pp. 52-53)

    The condition of railway transportation in Canada today reflects the historical development as reviewed in Part One more than it does the progress in railway operations and technology achieved over the past decade or two, mostly in Western Europe and Japan. Indeed, before modernization of Canadian (and North American) railways can be considered (in Part Three), their operations should be evaluated relative to the progress made elsewhere, particularly in comparison to technical performance and quality of service. Other aspects, related to engineering research, manning of trains, regulation by government and efficiency in the allocation of transportation services, also need to...

  9. PART THREE: FUTURE DIRECTIONS
    • CHAPTER 16 THE REASONS FOR CONCERN
      (pp. 171-176)

      The material presented in Parts One and Two indicates some of the current deficiencies and inconsistencies of railway operations in North America, problems often rooted in the distant past. In light of historical record one would not expect fundamental changes and improvements to occur in the near future: on the contrary, one would predict the “institutionalized obsolescence” of railway transportation to carry on along wellestablished lines, resulting in a continued decrease of the railway’s share of both freight and passenger traffic. In fact, this is what historical traffic trends and predictions based on a traditional static environment show (Fig. 16.1...

    • CHAPTER 17 THE ONE-DIMENSIONALITY OF THE RAILWAY MODE AND ITS CONSEQUENCES
      (pp. 177-179)

      In this chapter the basic and unique, physical characteristics of the railway mode are considered. A clear understanding of these characteristics goes a long way towards explaining the present situation of railways in North America, and is helpful in formulating desirable directions for future development of railways.

      The air, space and underwater transportation modes exhibit three translational degrees of freedom: an aircraft, a spacecraft or a submarine can move forward and sideways as well as in altitude or depth. Movement on roads (assuming an adequate road width) and on water is restricted to a surface, and therefore to two dimensions...

    • CHAPTER 18 FINANCING RAILWAYS
      (pp. 180-189)

      As noted in Part One of this study (Chapters 2 and 7), the development of railways in Canada was governed by political – national and partisan – goals rather than by the demands of the market place. Governments insisted on private ownership of railroads, but enough private capital could not be attracted to enterprises based on political – as opposed to profit – considerations. Special incentives, in the form of cash and land grants, loan guarantees, tax write-offs, and even monopoly clauses had to be provided. As it turned out, the huge public subsidies, while supporting the expansion of railways, have financed construction of...

    • CHAPTER 19 THE IMPERATIVES OF INTEGRATION AND PUBLIC OWNERSHIP
      (pp. 190-193)

      The analysis presented in the two preceding chapters has served to identify those fundamental characteristics of the railway transportation mode which determine the desirable organizational structure of railways and their ownership. Summarizing, it is apparent that:

      (i) Because of the one-dimensional nature of the railway mode and competition from the newer transportation modes, the competition between railway companies operating in the same territory is in general not viable. It follows that, in order to assure efficiency and effective competition between railways and the other modes, a completely integrated, unified operation of railways (all track and all vehicles) under a single...

    • CHAPTER 20 RATIONALIZING RAILWAYS
      (pp. 194-200)

      As indicated on many occasions in this study, the process of railway development has often been poorly understood and has frequently led to the establishment (on this Continent and elsewhere) of highly irrational railway networks and operations. In recognition of the need to correct this situation, the term “rationalization” has been coined. As used here, rationalization will encompass mainly two aspects: the elimination of duplication which results from organizational fragmentation and intra- modal competition, and - except in cases of “natural monopoly” - operation of only those services which are truly competitive vis-a-vis the other modes.

      In light of historical...

    • CHAPTER 21 TECHNICAL MODERNIZATION
      (pp. 201-217)

      The comparison of current railway technologies and quality of service, presented in Chapters 9 and 10, indicates the major areas in need of modernization in Canada and the U.S.; they include traction (electrification), track and traffic control, and passenger trains, and are considered in this order below. In the last section, the desirable scope and direction of the research and development efforts are discussed.

      The technical superiority of electric traction, as outlined in Chapter 9, coupled with its non-dependence on oil, leaves little doubt that electrification of railways is desirable. However, in view of the large capital investment required, a...

    • CHAPTER 22 RAILWAYS AND ENERGY
      (pp. 218-225)

      The energy aspect is the most recent newcomer to the transportation and railway scene. In spite of the early predictions of eventual oil depletion (Hubbert, 1956, 1962, 1973), it is only since the Middle East crisis in the fall of 1973 that the United States, Canada (North, 1975) and Europe have begun to appreciate the coming scarcity of the fuel* which powers most of the transportation.

      As the energy crisis develops, the augmentation of rail’s share of traffic and the modernization of rail traction through electrification gain in pertinence, attractiveness and economic viability, for three reasons.

      First, rail is a...

    • CHAPTER 23 THE POLICY VOID
      (pp. 226-239)

      The lack of an effective transportation policy in Canada has been admitted on several occasions in 1974 and 1975 in remarkably candid statements by the Minister of Transport. Regarding railways, the Minister’s perception is amply supported by the material already reviewed in this study and covering such aspects as technology, service quality, manning, regulation and subsidization, research and development. In recent years the government has continued to rely on ad hoc measures to cope with current problems and has avoided tackling the underlying causes of railway transportation deficiencies. This approach has been demonstrated through several specific actions taken by the...

  10. POSTSCRIPT:: OBSTACLES TO MODERNIZATION
    • CHAPTER 24 THE INSTITUTIONALIZATION OF OBSOLESCENCE
      (pp. 240-245)

      The evidence reviewed in Parts Two and Three suggests that Canadian railways are — in many respects — obsolete and that this is mainly the result of traditional government railway policies and regulatory legislation. This is not an orthodox view: most often, the unsatisfactory state of railways in Canada — if at all admitted — is blamed on the superior economy and convenience of other transport modes, rather than on the sociotechnological obsolescence of the existing system. Neither is this surprising: exposed to vigorous advertizing of support for research, development and the latest transportation techniques (e.g. a magnetic levitation urban transit system for Ontario,...

    • CHAPTER 25 THE INADEQUACY OF TRADITIONAL POLITICS AND JOURNALISM
      (pp. 246-252)

      As noted in the preceding chapter, the institutionalization of technological obsolescence is closely related to the political processes through which technology is regulated and controlled. It is becoming increasingly apparent that traditional ideological and partisan approach to the solution of complex problems of industrialized societies is ineffectual and inadequate.

      Still today, parliament survives as an oral, rhetorical institution amidst our visual civilization. Hard data in the form of graphs and tables is not shown in the House, and not recorded in the Hansard.* The 1933 debates in the House of Commons on Canadian Pacific’s proposal for unification of the two...

  11. APPENDIX ONE: MAPS: RAILWAYS IN CANADA
    (pp. 253-263)
  12. APPENDIX TWO: TRAVELLING BY RAILWAY
    (pp. 264-279)
  13. GLOSSARY OF RAILWAY TERMS AND ABBREVIATIONS
    (pp. 280-282)
  14. REFERENCES
    (pp. 283-294)
  15. Index
    (pp. 295-302)