Re: Railroads and the Auto Industry: A Research Question

Dave Nelson <muskoka@...>

-----Original Message-----
From: Beckert, Shawn [mailto:shawn.beckert@...]
Where would one go to find information on the interaction
between railroads and the automobile industry in the 1940's
and 1950's?
Shawn, unlikely there is just one source to answer this, so you're off to
the usual places: There is a limited amount of information in Moody's
Industrials, probably not anywhere near the level of detail you'd like.
Maps. Shippers directories. The web. ICC data. All over the place.

A couple data points from the 1950 ICC data.

Texas was ranked #2 (behind NY) in states receiving automobiles shipped by
rail 11.6% of all such shipments. CA, WA, OR were #4, 5, and 6 -- strongly
suggesting that few (or no) auto assembly plants were in those states. All
5 of these states were in the top 6 again for trucks. At the same time, CA
was ranked #2 for receiving auto parts in rail shipments, NY #4 -- so the
data suggests those two did have some assembly plants (and from other
sources I know CA did), but TX, WA, and OR are all way down the list,
suggesting those shipments of parts might have been just for repair
purposes. The data for other states leads to other guesses.

The state to state data would suggest all the relevant origination points
for the above. But all in all, not much more than clues and guesswork.
And surely 5-7 years later it'd all be very different and the data I've
collected for 1950 almost meaningless.

Good luck!

Dave Nelson

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