TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: New Monopoly in Dept Stores; Federated and May to Merge

Re: New Monopoly in Dept Stores; Federated and May to Merge

Bob Goudreau (BobGoudreau@withheld)
Wed, 9 Mar 2005 08:37:28 -0500

Wes Leatherock wrote:

> This seems to ignore the reality that the railroads are thriving
> businesses today. Intercity bus services has been declining and many
> cities are without any intercity bus service at all. The motor
> freight business more and more is turning to the railroads to carrying
> their long-haul freight in trailers or containers. J.B. Hunt, the
> nation's largest trucking company, is one of the largest customers of
> the railroads. I believe UPS is the largest single customer of the
> railroads.

The few railroad companies that *survived* are currently doing well,
though their business is now all freight and no passengers. (Not
counting Amtrak here, since it is *not* doing well financially and is
not exactly a traditional corporation either.)

However, most of the railroads that were around 50-60 years ago could
not survive the brutal consolidation of the industry; they were
liquidated or sold to competitors. Today's railroads collectively are
a much smaller slice of the overall economy than were their prewar

It looks like the telcos are going through the same sort of shakeout
right now themselves. Eventually, there won't be a "telephone
business" any more; there will just be a "communications business"
within which voice will be one application (albeit still a popular
one). It's already started with the landline telcos as customers like
me drop their RBOC service and choose to funnel their voice traffic
over their broadband connection. In a few years it's going to spread
even to mobile telephony as technology advances and the wireless
internet becomes ubiquitous.

Bob Goudreau
Cary, NC

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: I am wondering about a few passenger
trains I have ridden in the past and wonder what they are doing now,
if they are even still in business: Around 1970 or so, I went with a
friend of mine from Chicago on the City of New Orleans to the Mardis
Gras in New Orleans. We left about 4 in the afternoon and got into New
Orleans about 9 the next morning. It was a wonderful train ride. Then,
about 1950 or so I rode the train by myself (or actually with my
cousin Ken, who is four years younger than myself). We took the Santa
Fe train between Independence and Chicago. I do not remember much
about that trip except that my grandmother fixed a *huge* sack of food
for Ken and I to eat on the trip, and my grandfather gave each of us a
silver dollar coin to use for our 'expenses' on the way. We landed at
the Dearborn Station in Chicago about a day later, where my parents
picked us up. I just barely remember three years before that, in 1947,
when my mother and grandmother took me on the same Santa Fe train
between Coffeyille and Chicago to meet my father and grandfather at
Dearborn Station. They had already come to Chicago area to live, and
we had gone there to live with them. I don't know why I just now
remembered those train trips. I do remember at the time they were all
quite elegant trains, and I do remember that when my younger cousin
and I rode the train back to Chicago, the conductor gave us quite a
tour through the entire train, including the area where newspapers and
mail were conveyed. The train went very slow at one point and almost
came to a halt; the conductor took a huge stack of newspapers which
were tied up and handed them off the train to a man waiting next to
the track with a car who grabbed up all the papers, put them in the
car and drove away, then the train took up speed and off we went
again. I doubt any of those things even exist any longer. PAT]

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