Re: Status of the Rutland (was Hoppers to and From Canada)


Tim Gilbert <tgilbert@...>
 

englishintroy wrote:

--- In STMFC@..., Richard Hendrickson <rhendrickson@o...>
wrote:
The fact is that the Rutland
WAS "an obscure northeastern short line."

Richard, shortline devotees will tell you that the Rutland was far too
big of a railroad to qualify as a shortline at all, but others of more
flexible sensibility might accept it to say that the Rutland was
a "MAJOR northeastern short line".

IMO, the most accurate summation would be to describe the Rutland as
an "obscure northeastern Class I", which is a fact and what makes the
road attractive to me. Were it simply a shortline, I'd have no more
interest in it than any of the many other northeatsern shortlines.

Finally, to bore a few you still more, but to relate at least a little
to freight cars, the Rutland, having been once corporately related to
the vast New York Central, possessed many freight cars that were exact
duplicates of NYC's cars. This is something no shortline could claim.
In 1922, the six New England governors were alarmed at the state of the railroads in New England which were mainly an operating disaster. Their concerns were that the regional economy would collapse. Thus they did what all politicians do - set up a committee to define the problem and, then, make recommendations. The "New England Governors' Commission for a Comprehensive Transportation Policy" (gratefully shortened to the "Storrow Commission" ) issued two reports of which I am aware - in June 1923 and May 1931.

While the Storrow Commission could define the roles of all the Class I Railroads in New England, they gave up trying define the role of the Rutland which was half owned by the NYC and half owned by the New Haven. The Rutland was a step child.

Thus, financiers were unwilling to lend the Rutland to upgrade their property while massive amounts of funds became available to both the New Haven and B&M to modernize their properties. The results of the modernization of the B&M was to decrease freight train miles by 21% and freight train hours 31% between 1925 and 1929 while total freight car miles increased 6% and revenue ton miles increased only 1% in the same period. The Rutland's freight car miles decreased 15% (no RUT freight train hour data available) while total car miles decreased 5% and revenue ton miles 7% in the same 1925-29 period. The B&M had increases in car and revenue ton miles with a greater decrease in train miles than the Rutland which had declines in both car miles and revenue ton miles.

While the Rutland tried to remain a through car line up until its end in 1961, it consistently lost "market share" despite having a very aggressive sales forces after WW II.

Tim Gilbert

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