Railroad systems have come a long way from the horse-powered trams running on wooden rails called Wagon ways, to the modern rails running on air cushions created by an electromagnetic reaction between the rail and the train. Colonel John Stephens known as the ‘father of American railroad systems’ was the first to prove the practicality of using steam power and was also one of the first to receive the Charter to start constructing rail-roads over the country. George Pullman developed the Pullman Sleeping Car which made it easier for overnight passengers to travel using the train. Railroads have always played an important role inAmerica’s economic, political and social history and continue to do so today.
From 1917, the railway systems unions became stronger, and the government took control of the railways systems because of the war. This increased regulation along with fast-paced growth in area’s of transport including the automobile, and later on air transport meant that the railway system went into a period pf decline. However the last 25 years inAmerica’s economic history have indicated that the railway system is destined to play a greater role inAmerica’s economy. In 1980 the Staggers Act deregulated the railway industry and helped it become profitable once again. It allowed owners to set their own rates and also to shut down lines which were not economically feasible. It also allowed railroad owners to buy railway systems, so that by increasing the size of operations they could achieve economies of scale.
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