The railroad really lost much of its momentum in America in the 1950's...can you explain what...
happened to cause it?
Commercial air travel became more popular and convenient for more Americans after World War Two. Also, the Interstate Highway system had its genesis during the Eisenhower administration in the mid-1950's. Although its primary purpose was for national defense, it proved overall to be a great time saver for people travelling great distances. The public, subsequently, could travel at their convenience to any destination instead of being encumbered by a train schedule. Truckers also could haul freight more competively against the railroads because of the Interstate Highway system.
I'm not sure if I have an answer but it seemed to me that the government started favoring the airlines over the railroads in the 1960's by giving mail contracts to the airlines and taking them away from the Railroads. It was in that tie frame that the interstate highways started ot take over a lot of transportation. Bus travel also lost out to the airlines.
Railroad freight has made a big comeback now although I don't see any trend toward passenger trains.
A major part of the fall of the railway system in the United States was the greater expansion of the automobile industry which grew tremendously after the end of WWII. When the railroads began loosing money they sold portions of track/companies to none other the great automobile companies who dismantled this system. Creating a higher market for their product for people were moving out of the cities and into suburbia yet still need a way to commute to work.
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