і hough the future of the railroads is under debate, they still are and for a long time will be the backbone of American industrial life. The railroads represent one quarter of the total wealth of the country. They. are not going out of business. The present emergency will pass. Rail mergers may be expected to solve many difficulties. Coming developments and innumerable improvements now on the way will solve others. Presently, prospects for the railroads will brighten.
In the past ten years the railroads have cut their costs. They are now becoming active in control and operation of competitive forms of transportation. Meanwhile, their freight business has remained stationary. Mileage has not increased. Loss in passenger revenues amounts to one third. A considerable proportion of the losses may be attributed to inroads of commercial motor transportation.
In our transportation system there is a definite place for the motor truck. A new public servant, it happens at the moment to exist and profit at the expense of taxpayers, and is permitted to operate under conditions that are
not permitted the less favored railroads. The Class I railroads of the country, during 1930, spent thirteen and a half per cent, of their gross revenues in maintaining their right of way in good condition. This right of way represents billions of invested capital on which a fair return should be earned. Under existing conditions, for a competitive form of transportation, motor trucks and motor coaches, a right of way is provided out of public funds. Commercial motor transportation is presumably undertaxed at the moment, and this is one of the reasons for its rapid growth at the expense of the older systems. Eventually, when a more equitable adjustment exists, it will tend to restore the railroads to their proper place in the transportation scheme.
The railroads have been accused of lack of foresight. There are, of course, two sides to this. Innovations in railroading have been continuous. Some of the most important, up to 1900, were the heavy rail, the electric-block system, the so-called palace car, the steel car, and the compressed-air brake. Though it was then predicted that rail transport had reached its peak, railroad travel increased steadily. Improvements were likewise steady.
At one time, the rail weighing 90 pounds to the yard was considered adequate for main line tracks. To-day, the leading roads use a 130-pound rail, while the Pennsylvania recently announced the adoption of a 142-pound rail. With improved plates, these heavy rails have enormous strength and resistance to bending. They make for easier riding and are likewise a great factor for safety.
Highly important are improvements that have gone into the remaking of the road bed. Grade crossings and curves in untold numbers have been eliminated, grades have been reduced, the radii of curves that could not be eliminated have been substantially enlarged. The banking of the tracks on curves has been made a matter of accuracy. Ballasting is cleaner and more perfect. To-day, every standard road has a track-indicator car equipped with instru-
ments which record the exact location of uneven points in the track. Block – signal and switching systems have been improved. By means of an electric contactor system, the engine is automatically stopped if it runs past a stop signal. Another electric device, valuable as an aid in helping trains keep on time in wintci, is a heating coil that can be laid around the moving parts of a switch to eliminate snow and ice. To some extent noise and vibration have
been reduced by inserting rubber heels at all points where the frame rests. At the ends of the springs there are thick rubber pads — fifty-one of them in a six-wheel truck.
Some roads, including the New York Central and the Canadian National, have made extensive experiments with gasoline or oil-burning types of locomotives. In locomotives of this design the engine does not directly communicate power to the movement of the unit, but operates a dynamo. The current is applied to turn the wheels upon the rails. This design, when perfected, will have a good deal to recommend it. Each locomotive will be a self-contained power unit, having its own generating station, thus eliminating the necessity for expensive power houses and transmission lines. Electric installation
can then be extended to lines on which traffic is light as well as to heavily congested lines. Such locomotives will have greatly increased facility for quick and easy movement.
As yet, locomotives of this type are nowhere near perfection and are too expensive to operate. For the time being, at least, the railroads must rely upon the steam locomotive. For more than a hundred years, this mechanism has
been remarkably developed and perfected. In 18 56 William Mason designed " the most beautiful as well as the most efficient locomotive.’”4
The modern steam locomotive in passenger service weighs three times as much as the locomotive of twenty years ago, and has three times the tractive effort. In length, it appears to have reached the maximum at an even hundred feet.” With its tender, it weighs more than eight hundred and fifty tons. Superheated steam is used at high boiler pressure — two hundred and fifty pounds. Firing is automatic. The London and North Eastern recently placed in passenger service a 4-6-4 type locomotive of semi-streamline design.’" The exterior design is the result of experiments with a wooden model in a wind tunnel which were conducted with wind velocities equivalent to a locomotive speed of fifty miles per hour.
Prophets of disaster for the railroads declare that if they show the same lack of foresight in the future that they have in the past, they will presently become as obsolete as canals. This is a graphic way of putting a half-truth. I have taken considerable space to depict the advances made in railroading on the technical or engineering side as this concerns operation. As already noted, steady improvements in American railroads have been mainly for efficiency and safety, rather than for the comfort and convenience of passengers. In the latter respect there has been a lamentable lack of foresight. Changes in design intended to make good this deficiency have not been sufficiently radical. The
bedroom sleeper that the railroads recently put in service is, for instance, better than some previous arrangements, but it is far from meeting the standards of comfort and convenience required by to-day’s traveling public. This sleeper has a drop-leaf table, lavatory, thermos bottle and shoe locker, which opens into the corridor. But it still retains its upper berth and is cramped.
The new type of seat of the day coaches would seem to represent an idea of improvement with the emphasis upon economy. Actually, it is a pair of seats, somewhat narrow and not particularly comfortable. It appears to be a survival of the idea that day coaches should be built as cheaply as possible, and
aim at maximum capacity rather than comfort. Eventually, to offset the competition of the bus, the railroads must offer a type of service which the bus cannot equal. Their greatest opportunity is in offering space and comfort.
Speed will increase as weight and wind resistance are reduced. Both factors are being experimented with at the present moment. In designing a train, I have utilized aluminum for the body of the cars, have lowered the height of the cars a foot and a half. This combination lowers the center of gravity, which lessens the possibility of tipping at high speeds. Streamlining, applied
to the maximum throughout the train, eliminates air resistance and suctions. However, due to the extreme length of a train of ten passenger cars, in comparison with the possible maximum width and maximum height, a train does not offer the most efficient mass for streamlining.
Applying streamline principles to the locomotive produces a sound form which, if it strikes you as unusual, is brought about by the absence of the exposed stack, pipes, headlights, steam drum, cylinders, and projecting rear open cab. All these, in this design, are enclosed in a smooth steel and glass shell.’7 All points requiring frequent oiling or other attention are accessible by means of rolling metal shutters, which, when closed, conform to the streamlined contour of the shell.’7 The driving cab of the locomotive is located at the front instead of the rear.” This has been done to give the engineer maximum vision and to eliminate the risk of temporary interference with his vision by smoke and steam. His instrument board with its various controls is before him. The engine is provided with a full automatic stoking mechanism. There is a small cab at the rear of the locomotive, for use by the fireman only if the automatic stoker gets out of order.”
At the other end of the train, the rear car has been tapered off to allow the air to pass without forming an eddy.*1 All cars of the train have been designed to give the least resistance by the elimination of surfaces which tend to produce even small vacua. Such elements as exterior window sills, moldings, pipes, and vents, have been eliminated.’ The tender and cars have a smooth, rounded contour. The telescoping bellows connection between
the cars is brought out much nearer the outside shell of the cars and is covered with a smooth, elastic covering.41 All glass is shatter proof and all windows hermetically sealed.
Since the summer of 1931, on trains between New York and Washington, the Baltimore and Ohio has tested the practicability of air conditioning. Previously, because of inconvenient terminal facilities in New York, this road had not figured prominently in the New York-Washington passenger business. Owing to air cooling, its share in this business immediately increased to a degree that has attracted the attention of all alert railroad executives. The success of the venture definitely indicates widespread if not universal use of not only air-conditioning equipment, but the public’s reaction to more comfortable traveling conditions — even in the worst economic period in history, when most executives believe no new expenditure is justifiable.
The cost of air conditioning on the Baltimore and Ohio trains is approxi-
mately twenty cents per day per passenger. Owing to the fact that air cooling is incorporated at the start in my design, the cost of maintaining this feature would be somewhat lessened. The present design calls for the steam-vacuum cooling method of the Carrier Engineering Company. This system requires less steam for cooling the car in summer than for heating the car in winter. Thus, the locomotive steam load is not increased. The fact that it is now feasible to supply railway cars with conditioned air is sufficiently remarkable,
particularly when we recall that air-conditioning systems for buildings require very large space. It is more remarkable still that the compact air-cooling systems designed for railway cars operate so economically that they add little to the cost of traveling.
Throughout the train, as regards interior arrangements, first consideration has been given to comfort and convenience of passengers rather than maximum capacity. In the day car, there are seventeen swivel armchairs with
accommodations for thirty-three persons in all, including those in the smoking lounge.*1 The armchairs are semi-upholstered and comfortable, with all parts easily accessible and interchangeable for cleaning and replacement. Entrances, front and rear, are on a diagonal axis. Baggage storage space is provided at each end of the car adjacent to the platform. A rolling steel curtain separates the baggage space from the entrance aisle. Each of the lavatories for men and women has a small entrance foyer with wash basin and wall mirror. There is a roomy smoking lounge for men and women in the center and to one side of the car. This lounge is fitted with two comfortable sofas, two bridge tables, each with four chairs, magazine table, smoking stands and four movable armchairs.
In these cars, in place of the hot radiator running around the base of the walls is a foot rail. The smoking lounge is two steps lower than the floor of the rest of the car. This is made possible because it is situated in the center of the car, where there are no wheel trucks. The ends of the smoking lounge are separated from the rest of the car by a partition of semi-transparent glass that is head height. The ventilating mechanism draws off all smoke immediately. This division of the car approximately into thirds creates the cordiality of the small room in contrast to a long public corridor, with its rows of chairs on each side of the aisle. In the center third of the car the only separation between the aisle and the lounge is a balustrade with an opening in the center leading two steps down into the lounge.
DESIGNED BY PULLMAN COMPANY 1925
In all cars the floors, walls, ceilings, and partitions are insulated for sound. The floor of the day car and all other cars, is of cork, in place of dust-catching carpet, while the walls, from floor to window sill, are finished in lacquer. The trim of the window panes, the railing, and the molding of the partitions, are Monel metal. Tables are of bakelite. Chairs and sofas have removable seats, backs and arms, to facilitate cleaning. They are upholstered in wool tapestry without design or pattern. The upholstery is designed so that it can be easily removed for cleaning after each trip. For summer use, the heavy upholstered
chairs and sofas are covered by slip covers. Color schemes vary in different cars to eliminate the standardized appearance.
The night car consists of a series of six large double sleeping rooms (ten feet six inches by six feet eight inches) along one side of the car, and a roomy corridor on the other.67 Each car is provided with a shower bath, a barber shop, and a porter’s pantry for storing glasses, ice, light refreshments. This pantry is equipped so that at night it serves as a small valet’s pressing and cleaning room. By day each room comfortably accommodates four persons. There are three large, luxurious easy chairs and one movable side chair. At night, each room accommodates two persons comfortably. These rooms are
considerably longer and wider than those in present-day " Drawing Room ” cars. In all respects, they are vastly more comfortable.*5
There are no berths in these rooms, but real three-quarter size beds, six feet five inches long and three feet six inches wide, considerably larger than the Pullman beds. These fold into an easy chair and a sofa during the day.*7
Each room is provided with a large lavatory, as well as a table-desk which drops out of the wall. This can be used as a writing or dining table and for unpacking bags. It is of black bakelite. Over the foot of the bed there is a servidor closet, which opens into the room and at the same time is accessible to the porter from the aisle. Shoes to be polished or suits to be pressed can be taken out or replaced by the porter without disturbing the occupant. Instead
of two windows in the room, each of which is divided vertically and horizontally by a mullion, there is only one. The entire exterior wall is of glass. These windows are seven inches higher at the top than those of the present
Pullman, permitting a passenger standing to look out without stooping. They afford a much greater unobstructed view.
The partitions have simple flat breaks instead of ornamental moldings Armchairs and beds are upholstered in plain wool damask. Side chairs are aluminum with upholstered leather seats. Window shades are of aluminum, on the principle of the Venetian blind. Overhead lights are set into the ceiling and covered flush by frosted glass. For reading, there is a frosted tubing light over the shoulder of each passenger. In the sleeper as in other cars of the train, there can be no draft, as the ventilation is mechanical and the windows are hermetically sealed.
An unbroken view and spacious comfort are the outstanding features of the lounge car.41 In place of the open-air observation platform,40 with all its dust and cinders, is the sun room enclosed by sloping glass windows. The sun room, overhanging the rear wheels, is two steps lower than the rest of the car.42 This lower level of the sun room is dictated by necessity — the tapering form that eliminates vacuum. However, this purely functional feature adds to the comfort of passengers by an increased line of vision.
A buffet, fully equipped with electrical refrigerator, grill, table, soda fountain, cupboards, is at the entrance end of the lounge car.42 From here, soft drinks and light refreshments can be served throughout the car. Adjacent to the buffet are serving stands. A table for two forms a dining alcove. The general lounge contains built-in bookcases, a radio, telephone, magazine tables, writing desks, and comfortable armchairs, conveniently placed with a wide central aisle. A lavatory opens from the entrance corridor of this car which, like that of the day and night cars, is at the side. A women’s lounge is placed across the center of the car. For privacy, it is separated from the main lounge by a six-foot frosted glass partition. A large built-in sofa occupies one end of the women’s lounge. Other furnishings include writing desk, five movable
armchairs, magazine table and two settees. All chairs and sofas of the lounge car are free standing.
In general, the decorative scheme of this car follows that indicated in connection with the day car. The buffet is built-in, with Monel metal serving counter and bar rail. Serving-tray stands are of Monel metal tubing, supporting a black bakelite top. Passengers will not find it necessary to call a porter for card or writing tables. Pressure on a button in the wall releases a panel which turns up, forming a table.
The entire train is equipped with a telephone system, which has its own switchboard operator. She is also general information clerk for the train. Meals can be ordered without leaving one’s room and the dining-room steward can notify the passenger by telephone when a table is available in the dining car. One can talk with passengers in other rooms and in other cars of the train, or make reservations for a bridge table in the lounge or day car.
Throughout the train there are no protruding lighting fixtures. All are set flush within the walls or ceilings, eliminating considerable labor in cleaning as well as chances of breakage. It is my conviction that in the interior decoration of railway cars, the dingy colors — grays, greens and browns now in use — should be avoided. The existing decorative scheme of railway cars suggests that the colors selected are those least likely to show dirt. This should be the last consideration. The cars should be cheerful, gay, inviting; and there should be a touch of personality in furnishings to eliminate the drab atmosphere that exists in present trains.
Many merchandising experts make the mistake of disregarding the tremendous influence of the feminine point of view on sales. They fail to realize that with regard to most purchases, the influence of women is paramount. The majority of men who travel are forced to be away from home by business necessity. On a train, just as in a hotel, they welcome an inviting atmos-
phere. There is no reason why a railway car should not be as comfortable and as clean as the most up-to-date hotel or ocean liner.
And why should the train of to-day not have a business car? A car that meets the needs of the business man when traveling, as his office meets them when he is at home. The telephone operator is logically located in this car. There will be three private business-office compartments, each equipped with three chairs, a desk, a telephone and a typewriter, which may be used and paid for on an hourly rate. Two public stenographers are available. In addition, standard equipment for this car will include a telephone booth, Trans-lux projection machine for business reports and latest news a safe for papers and valuables, two writing desks, magazine and newspaper service, cigar and cigarette stand, and a telegraph office. The telegraph office obviates the necessity of the hand-to-hand process of dispatching telegrams from trains and eliminates delay. The ticker room has two rows of chairs with an attendant to project bulletins, latest news, quotations. Although in no sense a brokerage office, the ticker room facilities make it possible to telephone or telegraph instructions on the basis of the latest news received. Bridge or other games are not permitted in this car as its purpose is in no sense that of a lounge room.
In general dimensions and design, this car is uniform with the lounge car, day car and night car. It is an application of an idea which has previously been limited to the private cars of captains of industry. If the railroads are to win back the favor of the traveling public, they will probably have to develop in a practical way ideas for the enhanced comfort of passengers in a spacious manner that is beyond the possibilities of the motor coach or airplane as the best answer to their competition.