Advances in Railway Passenger Service

July 17, 1937

Report Outline
Revival of Passenger Traffic on Railroads
Improvement of Equipment and Service
Potential Economies of Improved Motive Power
Obstructions to Installation of New Equipment
Special Focus

Revival of Passenger Traffic on Railroads

American railway operators are confident that the growth of rail travel in 1937 will reverse the 16-year trend of declining passenger revenues in proportion to total railway revenues. Ever since 1920, the peak year for passenger travel, the annual revenues from passenger traffic have represented a steadily diminishing proportion of total revenues. While the number of passengers carried rose slowly after 1933, the total in 1936 was less than 40 per cent of the number carried in 1920.

Three principal causes have been assigned for the downward trend in railway passenger traffic: Constantly increasing travel by private automobiles; travel by highway buses, at lower fares than the railroads offered; and long-continued indifference by railroad operators to the demand for greater speed, comfort, and convenience in passenger service.

Three principal reasons assigned for the recent upturn in passenger business are: New and faster trains, air-conditioned and much more comfortable; lower fares; and the congestion of traffic upon the public highways with accompanying accident hazards. Railroad men are reporting that since the inauguration of streamline, low-weight, high-speed trains many vacationists are expressing a preference for travel by rail. The railroads have had a splendid record of safety in the last few years, while highway injuries and fatalities have mounted steadily.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Oct. 14, 2022  Passenger Rail
May 01, 2009  High-Speed Trains Updated
Oct. 18, 2002  Future of Amtrak
Apr. 16, 1993  High-Speed Rail
Mar. 10, 1978  Future of American Railroads
Mar. 07, 1975  Railroad Reorganization
Jun. 20, 1973  Railroad Nationalization
Nov. 17, 1961  Railroad Subsidies
Aug. 24, 1960  Railroad Mergers
Jan. 01, 1958  Condition of the Railroads
Jan. 31, 1951  Railway Safety
Oct. 04, 1944  Railroad Freight Rates
Jun. 12, 1939  The Government and the Railroads
Apr. 21, 1938  Government Ownership of the Railroads
Dec. 07, 1937  Railroad Rates and Revenues
Jul. 17, 1937  Advances in Railway Passenger Service
Sep. 27, 1934  Railroad Rates And Federal Regulation of Transportation
Jan. 11, 1933  Railroad Receiverships and Reorganizations
Aug. 26, 1932  The Railroads and the Depression
Oct. 13, 1931  Wages of Railroad Labor
Jul. 09, 1931  Railroad Freight Rates
Feb. 14, 1931  The Railroad Consolidation Controversy
Sep. 19, 1927  The Problem of Railroad Valuation
Mar. 30, 1927  Railroad Consolidation and Prospective Legislation
Mar. 26, 1927  Principles of Railroad Consolidation
Mar. 08, 1926  Railway Labor Disputes Legislation
May 04, 1925  The Baltimore and Ohio Cooperation Plan
Sep. 12, 1924  National Railroad Consolidation and the Van Sweringen Merger
Aug. 14, 1924  Automatic Train Control in Relation to Railroad Casualties
May 28, 1924  The Condition of American Railroads