THE ORGANIZATION SET-UP
FOR DELIBERATE DESTRUCTION OF PUBLIC UTILITIES
Now that the restraining hand of the Office of Defense Transporation has been removed from the all-out bus campaign,
we witness an immediate resumption of the destruction of our electric railways—just as though the war had taught nothing by its tragic lesson. THE OIL-RUBBER-BUS COMBINE IS DIRECTLY RESPONSIBLE. Ruthless in its campaign to deprive the American people of valuable public utilities, this combine deserves immediate and complete exposure. One of the leading organizations operates under the name of NATIONAL CITY LINES. This organization has a subsidiary, which it controls, known as the AMERICAN CITY LINES. In my opinion, it is about as un-American an organization as ever banded together in this country to swindle the public On a huge scale under the proteotion of the law. With the obvious and demonstrated purpose of gaining control of our mass-transportation utilities. PARTICULARLY OUR ELECTRIC RAILWAY SYSTEMS, WITH THE INTENTION OF ELIMINATING THEM TO CLEAR THE WAY FOR THEIR OWN INFERIOR PRODUCTS, these organizations have already bought heavily into our public utilities and have already scored Successes in their announced purpose. The American public and all their elected public officials as well as the officers of electric railways throughout our nation are entitled to know just WHO THE CORPORATIONS ARE behind this campaign—WHO are
financing the movement, and just WHY they have invested MILLIONS OF DOLLARS in the "National City Lines" and the "American City Lines". Here is the set-up:
AMERICAN CITY LINES COMMON STOCK IS OWNED BY:
|National City Lines
||180,000 shares (value $999,000.)
|General Motors Corp
|Phillips Petroleum Co.
|*Federal Engineering Corp.
|Firestone Tire and Rubber
|General American Aerocoach
||243,333 shares Common Stock
|*A subsidiary of Standard Oil of California
The above shares are solely entitled to exercise voting power. As may be seen from this arrangement. American City Lines is controlled by National City Lines through the latter's control of 73.9% of American City Lines Common (American City Lines Preferred stook does not exercise voting power.)
American City Lines Preferred Stock is an equally interesting set-up. Its implications are equally obvious. At present there are 47,500 shares of Preferred stock, par value $100. per share.
AMERICAN CITY LINES PREFERRED STOCK IS OWNED BY:
$1,250,000 (12,500 shares)
|*Federal Engineering (S.O., Cal.)
|General American Aerocoach
|Firestone Tire and Rubber
||$4,750,000 aggregate par value.
By holding a comparatively small block of American City Lines Common stock, (less than one million dollars), National City Lines thus controls the whole works, for this is the VOTING stock—the block with the CONTROLLING VOTE. Notice the preponderance of companies connected with the automotive bus industry in the American City Lines set-up.
THE STEADILY TIGHTENING GRIP
American City Lines in 1944 purchased securities of the Baltimore Transit Company to the extent of $2,391,000. (30% of the outstanding Preferred, 11½% of its remaining Common and 9.77% of the outstanding Income Bonds.) American City Lines' Fred Nolan was promptly made president of the Baltimore Transit Company.
American City Lines then bought the Los Angeles Railway from the estate of Henry E. Huntington, paying about $13,000,000 for assets appraised at $29,000,000. Although It is an established fact that in 1944m the 1034 electirc railway cars of this company made a profit of over 15 cents per car mile, while the oompany's modern (?) buses made only 9½ cents per bus mile, this may be considered due to the unusual circumstances caused by the war. Acoordingly, let us consider 1941—the last normal year prior to the war. During that year, the electric railway cars made a profit of 6 cents per car mile, while the buses made only 3 cents per bus mile—a ratio at two to one in favor of the electric railway cars versus the bus system! In the face of these figures, the American City Lines have publicly announoed they will scrap all but three of the electric rai1way lines and will substitute buses. American City Lines' Fred Nolan was made president of THIS system.
The National City Lines as of February 1st, 1945, had outstanding 22,139 shares of Class A stock and 538,039 shares of Common stock, both of these exercising voting rights. As of that same date, Mr. E. Roy Fitzgerald, his four brothers and their immediate families were the beneficial owners of 168,116 Shares of National City Lines Common stock (approximately 31% of this class then outstanding).
National City Lines has become the beneficial owner of 159,108 shares of the St. Louis Public Service Company's Class A stock, together with $3,430,192. face value of its 25 year Collateral Trust Notes and $72,200. face value at its 25 year Convertable Income Bonds. As St. Louis is the home of one of the largest manufacturers at modern P.C.C. electric railway cars, and the electric railway system there has recently been modernized with the installation of a fleet of these cars, this operation of National City Lines will bear watching.
Baltimore, Los Angeles and St. Louis represent the largest of the cities in which National City Lines have purchased significant interests in the transportation systems. Prior to that, National City Lines confined their operations to cities of smaller magnitude throughout the nation.
IS IT LEGAL?
That the Oil Producing interests, the Rubber Tire Producing interests and the Bus Produocing Interests are permitted to thus combine their strength (for any purpose whatever,) and specifically for the purpose of gaining control of the mass-transportation public utilities of our nation with the demonstrated and announced purpose of destroying the electric railway utilities, is difficult to understand. Particularly discriminatory does it appear when one considers the fact that the Electric Power Producing utilities of our nation are being forced by government regulation to divest themselves of their Electric Railway Properties under the contention that such a combination constitutes monopoly. If ever there was a perfectly natural combination, it is the Electric Railway and the power plant that drives its cars. Since the very beginning of the electrical industry, power generating plants and electric railways have been considered obviously inseparable. In some cases the power plant was parent to the electric railway, the plant being constructed large enough to serve the residential and industrial customers in the various communities through which the railway ran, using the poles and the right-of-way of the railway to transmit the electric power to both the railway and the customers along the line. In other cases, the railway was parent to the power plant, building it big enough for not only the requirements of the railway but also to accommodate the communities through whioh the railway ran. In either case,
the combination resulted in a maximum degree of efficiency and economy far the public (both riders and power consumers) because profit charges for electric power furnished to the railway by the power plant were eliminated, and one management staff served both the power plant and the railway. However, it seems that now our government suddenly considers the combination of electric power plant and railway monopolistic unless the power of the plant is used exclusively by the railway. If power is sold to the community or communities, the combination is "illegal." Accordingly, the Texas Electric Power & Light Company has reoently been forced to divest itself of its electric Dallas Terminal & Railway property. Similarly, a Virginia electric power company has recently been forced to divest itself of its electric railway properties. THIS BEING THE CASE, HOW AND WHY ARE THE OIL-ROBBER-BUS PRODUCERS PERMITTED TO PURCHASE, OWN AND OPERATE MASS-TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS?
WHAT IS MORE IMPORTANT, WHY ARE THEY PERMITTED TO DESTROY VALUABLE ELECTRIC-RAILWAY UTILITIES AFTER THEY GAIN CONTROL OF THEM?
The fact is that an electric railway Which has been saddled with continually increasing taxes and increasing labor and maintenance material prices and whioh has been repeatedly denied any increase in fare rates to compensate, might be just about able to continue to show a narrow margin of profit while supplied with power from its own plant at cost. But forced by law into separation from its power plant with the resultant higher costs for power, this electric railway might be driven into receivership and might quickly fall prey to the depradations of the National City Lines-American City Lines clique. WHEN THE ELECTRIC RAILWAY IS FORCED BY LAW TO BE SEPARATED FROM ITS POWER PLANT, HOW CAN THE RESULTING SACRIFICE OF EFFICIENCY AND ECONOMY POSSIBLY BENEFIT THE PUBLIC? When the Texas Electric Power & Light Company obediently offered for sale its electric Dallas Terminal & Railway Company—WHO IMMEDIATELY SUBMITTED BIDS FOR IT? You probably guessed—the NATIONAL CITY LINES-AMERICAN CITY LINES outfit! WHO IS BEHIND THIS CAMPAIGN TO SEPARATE THE OBVIOUSLY ECONOMICAL COMBINATION OF ELECTRIC RAILWAY AND ITS POWER PLANT?
HOW WE LOST OUR INTERURBAN RAILWAYS—AND THEIR CONTRIBUTION TOWARD DEFRAYING PUBLIC EXPENSES
Small wonder we have been losing our valuable electric railway utilities, right and left! The cross-country Interurban electric railways have been falling prey more readily to the depradations of the bus promoters. This is chiefly beoause increasingly large taxes levied upon the private-rights-of-way which the Interurbans had purchased and on which the electric railway cars could safely speed without interference from vehicular traffic, have been used for the purpose of building expensive concrete public highways parallel to the railways. Upon these highways, competing buses and trucks were given franchises to operate without having to assume the same burden of taxes as the Interurbans or even the expenses of the construction and maintenance of the highways they use. As a result, the buses and trucks can and do offer services at rates ruinous to the Interurban railways. This of course constitutes subsidy on the part of the government to the inferior and dangerous type of service offered by the buses and trucks in direct competition with the Interurban railways. The railways were in effect penalized for their superior services, and the money thus taken from them was used to actually drive them out of business by cheap competition whioh owns little or no taxable property. Schools and other public institutions which were formerly supported in a large measure by the interurban railways through taxes are not similarly supported by the buses and trucks. These expenses must now be paid by the local taxpayers, many of whom forsook the superior services offered by the Interurban railways to patronize the cheaper facilities of the competing buses and trucks. Thus the buses and trucks have been responsible for our losing literally thousands of miles of fine high-speed
Urban electric railways. Only those Interurbans remain whioh are doing a sufficiently large business to show some small margin of profit in spite of this disorimination and abuse.
HAS ANYTHING BEEN LEARNED FROM THIS LESSON? IF OUR ELECTRIC STREET RAILWAYS ARE ALLOWED TO BE SIMILARLY ABUSED AND DESTROYED, WHO WILL ASSUME THEIR TAX BURDEN?
YOU ARE ENTITLED TO THIS WARNING
This is to warn you as to the exact methods employed by the Oil-Rubber-Bus-combine in depriving you of your electric railway so as to clear the field for them to sell buses—and more buses. Their methods are frequently subtle, insidious, but relentless. They persevere and employ the principle that they can make anyone believe anything if it is repeated often enough, and that it it appears in PRINT, it will carry convincing force. Your newspapers will carry an increasing amount of news items ridiculing your electric railway system, criticising its operations, claiming that it is worn out, outmoded—and that it should be scrapped to make way for "modern" buses. You will probably notice that no suggestion is made to preserve the electric railway intact so that if the buses are tried over a suitable period of time and found wanting, you may resume electric railway operations. The established method is to immediately rip up the tracks, tear down the power wires and burn up the cars as soon as the buses are placed in operation. Thus you find yourself stuck with the buses, whether you like them or not. There is then no possible chance of correcting your mistake. THIS HAS BEEN DONE REPEATEDLY TO THE DISMAY OF CITIZENS IN MANY CITIES THROUGHOUT OUR NATION. Particularly you should observe that throughout the "campaign for transit improvement" mention is avoided of the possibility of improving your existing electric railway by installing modern P.C.C. cars and realigning the tracks—or even replacing worn rails where necessary. It would be,very interesting to you, were you to investigate the real source of most of this campaign energy. Usually the "Citizens Progress Committee" or the "Main Street Improvement Association" is nothing but a figment of the imagination of the publicity expert engaged by the bus interests to
stir up artificial dissatisfaction amongst the riding public and the tax-payers. Perhaps a small but noisy minority group of citizens will be prevailed upon to clamor for bus-substitution, and will be effectively used as a "front" by the bus promoters.
Politicians are approached and influenced by those interested in selling the buses—in the attempt to prevail upon them by various methods to betray the voters and taxpayers by becoming a party to the scheme to destroy the splendid electric railway public utilities, in order to create a market for the oil-rubber-bus products. If they are unprincipled, these politicians will soon be heard echoing the song taught them by the propaganda experts of the oil-rubber-bus combine—"The electric railway is outmoded—it is obsolete—it must be scrapped—buses are the modern solution to transit problems, buses constitute progress, advance".
The plan is to get that electric railway away from you at all costs, by fair means or foul. Those who instigate this plan will stop at nothing. It they can not undermine your faith in the obviously superior transportation facilities of which your electric railway is capable by subtle campaigns of criticism and ridicule, by direct approach and the usual means of attempting to influence those in political power—they will in desperation attempt to gain financial control of this valuable public utility so that they will then have the power to destroy it—whioh they will do without delay when they get control.
THE METHOD EMPLOYED: METHOD "A"
This method has already been employed in many cities throughout the nation, to the great regret of the riders and taxpayers alike. Without the approval of a majority of the riders and taxpayers their electric railway utilities have been taken away from them, and they now endure the conditions which the bus invariably imposes upon the riding public. Under the guise of "modernization", "progress," "improvement" and even "economy", the promoters of bus sales have managed in some cases by their half-truths and falsehoods to actually convince those in power that the electric railway is "outmoded", "worn out", "inefficient", "uneconomioal"—"a remnant of the horse-and-buggy days". By making fantastic claims to superiority for the bus, and by spreading vicious and unfounded yarns derogatory to the electric railways, they have sucoeeded in many cases in actually convincing those in power that they would be bringing the people a great blessing by scrapping the electric railway and substituting buses. They are satistied if this conviction can be made to last at least long enough to sell the buses and get the railway tracks ripped up and the cars destroyed or shipped to South America or some other remote plaoe. Atter that, it makes little difference to the bus sales promoters what the officials, passengers or taxpayers think, for it is then too late to correct the mistake. The city officials and transit officials will not be likely to admit making so great a mistake.
ThE METHOOO EMPLOYED: METHOD "B"
Where officials and citizens alike remain unconvinced by the claims that the buses offer better facilities or even as good facilities as the electric railway, a sufficient number of powerful but not too ethical politicians are influenced to stampede through the local legislation necessary to eliminate the electric railway and to substitute buses OVER THE PROTESTS OF THE RIDING PUBLIC AND THE TAXPAYERS. Once the rails are ripped up, the wires removed and the cars either burned up or "sold down the river". the riding public and the taxpayers can raise all the objeotions they want to and can investigate, indict and oonvict as many offending public officials as they want to. BUT THE BUS PROMOTORS WILL THEN NO LONGER BE INTERESTED IN THE MUNICIPAL QUARRELS AND WRANGLES. THE DAMAGE THEN IS ALREADY DONE. THE RAILWAY IS GONE BEYOND RECALL, AND THE FIELD IS LEFT CLEAR TO
THE METHOD EMPLOYED: METHOD "C"
Where altogether too much objeotion is experienoed by the bus promotors from the public, from conscientious public officials and from railway officials who refuse to be attracted by the proposed scheme to "shake down" the riding public and the taxpayers for more money in return for AN INFERIOR SERVICE, another and most effective tactic is adopted. The bus interests actually buy into the electric railway utility sufficiently to gain control—and then prooeed to destroy the property in order to expand the market for their buses. THIS HAS BEEN DONE AND IS BEING DONE RIGHT NOW.
In spite of the definitely voiced preference of the riding public for electric. railwsys—in spite of the superior service furnished by the electric railways—in spite of the greater passenger-per-hour capacity of the electric railways (with a greater measure at comfort convenience and safety to the riders and to all the citizens), in spite of the demonstrated smaller interference with other traffic by the electric railways, AND EVEN IN SPITE OF THE TWO-TO-ONE NET EARNING POWER IN FAVOR 0F ELECTRIC RAILWAYS VERSUS BUSES IN THE SAME TERRITORY—the bus promoters stick to the same selfish policy to which they are committed—THE ELECTRIC RAILWAYS MUST BE DESTROYED.
UNLESS YOU MAKE AN ENERGETIC EFFORT TO PREVENT IT—UNLESS YOU TAKE THE TROUBLE TO INFORM YOURSELF OF THE REAL FACTS AND BONAFIDE STATISTICS—THE DANGER EXISTS THAT YOU WILL SOON LOSE YOUR ELECTRIC RAILWAY THROUGH THE DEPRADATIONS OF THIS UNSCRUPULOUS CLIQUE.
THE LOGICAL COURSE
Even if your electric railway system is not in good
condition at the moment— which is quite possible as a result
of the restrictions on materials and the shortage of skilled
labor during the recent war—your electric railway still
represents the best possibility for providing a maximum of safe,
comfortable, efficient and economical mass-transportation for
your city. Even though the rails may be in a bad state of
disrepair, even though the cars may be old and badly worn, the
electric railway properly repaired and equipped still
represents the best and the least expensive transit facility.
Any money spent upon transit improvements can be better
and more profitably invested in repairing and improving your
electric railway than in buying the finest buses that have ever
been produced. If a given amount on money is invested in repairs and
improvements to the electric railway, such as realigning the track,
welding the rail joints, replacing worn rail and replacing old
cars (that have long since paid for themselves) by the modern
P.C.C. cars—you will not only be providing your city with the
maximum in transportation facilities for the price—BUT YOU WILL
ALSO BE PROVIDING YOUR CITY WITH AN IMPROVED UTILITY WHICH IS
MORE ECONOMICAL TO OPERATE AND MAINTAIN, AND WHICH HAS HIGHER
EARNING POWER ON THE INVESTMENT. DON'T BE MISLED BY THE EFFORTS
OF BUS PROMOTERS TO CONVINCE YOU THAT THE ONLY SOLUTION TO THE
PROBLEMS OF A WORN ELECTRIC RAILWAY IS TO SCRAP THE WHOLE INVESTMENT.
THAT IS THE HEIGHT OF FOLLY. IT IS COMPARABLE TO THROWING
AWAY A GOOD AUTOMOBILE BECAUSE ITS TIRES ARE WORN.
If you have an electric railway now, guard it against
the insidious attacks which this oil-rubber-bus combine will
inevitably make upon it. GUARD YOURSELF AGAINST BEING INFLUENCED
AND CONVINCED BY THEIR PROPOGANDA CAMPAIGN—LEARN THE REAL FACTS
IN CONNECTION WITH MASS-TRANSPORTATION.
LOOK AROUND YOU.- SEE FOR YOURSELF
Our biggest cities have the toughest mass-transportation
problems, the most crowded streets, the densest vehicular traffic,
the greatest number of passengers-per-hour to move. And there you
will find that the electric railways provide the back-bone of the
transportation system. In some cases, the buses furnish service
on branch feeder lines, where traffic is lighter. To the big city,
the electric railway is obviously indispensable—BECAUSE THE
ELECTRIC RAILWAY HAS THE HIGHEST PASSENGER-PER-HOUR CAPACITY OF
ANY FORM OF MASS-TRANSPORTATION FACILITY EVER DEVISED AND BECAUSE
IT IS THE MOST ECONOMICAL TO OPERATE. If our nation's biggest
cities find it advisable to take advantage of these demonstrated
superior facilities of the electric railways UNDER THE MOST ADVERSE AND DIFFICULT CONDITIONS, isn't it quite obvious that cities of less magnitude can profit to an even greater extent by utilizing the superior facilities of the electric railway UNDER LESS ADVERSE CONDITIONS?
BEWARE OF SELF-STYLED "TRANSIT EXPERTS"
—WHO HAVE BUSES TO SELL
Have the bus interests suggested that your streets are becoming too crowded for the practical and successful operation of an electric railway? If your streets are plagued now by congested traffic, you can rest assured that, were you to substitute buses for your electric railway system, you would immediately experience WORSE congestion. Why? Each bus carries fewer passengers than the electric railway car—whioh means that you will have to crowd MORE VEHICLES onto that street in order to accommodate the SAME LOAD. While the electric railway cars keep in an orderly line, avoiding traffic confusion and resultant delays—the buses zig zag all over the street in unpredictable manner, causing increased traffic confusion and delay—AND INEVITABLE ACCIDENTS.
A street which has become so congested by vehicular traffic that the operation of an electric railway there has become inadvisable is, by the same token, a much more inadvisable street on which to operate buses. THE SOLUTION TO THIS PROBLEM IN OUR BIG CITIES IS TO REMOVE THE ELECTRIC RAILWAYS FROM THE STREETS AND OPERATE THEM ON A "PRIVATE RIGHT OF WAY", SUCH AS A SUBWAY OR ELEVATED LINE. Buses may then be operated on the streets to carry the relatively small overflow of more or less local traffic—but remember, THE ELECTRIC RAILWAY IN THAT CASE HAS REMOVED THE GREAT BULK OF TRAFFIC FROM THE STREET AND IS PROVIDING THE REAL BACKBONE OF THE TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM, WITH THE BUSES PLAYING A MINOR ROLL. HOWEVER, THE ELECTRIC RAILWAY ON THOSE STREETS
COULD BETTER SERVE AS AN AUXILIARY TRANSIT SYSTEM THAN THE BUSES. IF YOUR CITY CAN NOT YET AFFORD A SUBWAY OR ELEVATED SYSTEM TO CARRY THE MAIN BULK OF YOUR MASS-TRANSPORTATION, BEWARE OF TRYING TO DO THE WHOLE JOB WITH BUSES.
PLAN FOR TODAY—WITH PROVISION FOR TOMORROW
AT NO ADDITIONAL EXPENSE NOW
In your city, as in the largest of cities. the electric railway is your biggest hope of providing the most efficient, the most economical, the safest and the highest capacity mainstem of your transportation system for the present and the future. Trolley buses can be well utilized to furnish feeder service to the electric railway system on the relatively short and lightly travelled branches where the traffic does not yet warrent the investment of a railway installation. THE TROLLEY-BUS HAS ITS DEFINITE PLACE IN THE TRANSPORTATION FIELD FOR SUCH APPLICATIONS. In the future, when traffic on those lightly-travelled lines is built up to a level where trolley-bus service becomes impractical and uneconomical, you will find it advisable to extend your rails over those routes.
A recent publicity release widely circulated by bus promoters concerned the modernization of the Louisville transit system. It is typical of their method of telling partial truths where the complete truth would alter the entire meaning of the story. "Trackless trolleys and gasoline buses will be substituted for worn out street car equipment on all but one surface line in Louisville. where streamlined P.C.C. cars will be installed." What was left unsaid in this release was the fact that the busiest line of all, the actual backbone of the Louisville transit system which carries the heaviest traffic—is the one on which the greatest improvements are being made, at the greatest expense—and that THIS is the line to be retained as a modernized ELECTRIC RAILWAY LINE, WITH THE BUSES SERVING AS FEEDERS.
The trolley-bus or "trolley-coach" is considerably superior to the automotive bus, because of the advantages of
electric power over the inefficient features of the automotive power plant with its jerky acceleration, its noxious fumes and noise. However, the trolley-bus has certain distinct disadvantages, compared to the electric railway car, for it is just as guilty as the automotive bus of causing traffic confusion, delays and accidents by reason of the fact that it wanders left and right, dodging from one traffic lane to another. It has the same disadvantages of the curb stop. It has the same hazards of unreliable brakes on slippery surfaces, and the dangers of the off-course skid on slippery surfaoes. The operator is always burdened with the responsibility of steering. Like the automotive bus, it is subject to the bouncing and jolting which result from uneven pavement. While the trolley-bus system is relieved of the expense of build ing and maintaining track, and it operates over surfaces which must be built and maintained by the taxpayers, IT REQUIRES DOUBLE THE TROLLEY WIRE INSTALLATION REQUIRED BY THE ELECTRIC RAILWAY SYSTEM, RESULTING IN DOUBLE THE WEAR AND DOUBLE THE MAINTENANCE COSTS.
Where the volume of traffic warrents the original investment—where crowded traffic conditions become a major problem—the electric railway is definitely the most practical and economical solution to those problems. The more a city grows, the more it needs the electric railway, AND THE MORE IMPRACTICAL AND UNECONOMICAL EXCLUSIVE BUS OPERATION BECOMES. IF YOU ALREADY HAVE THE ORIGINAL INVESTMENT, WITH AN ESTABUSHED ELECTRIC RAILWAY SYSTEM, YOU ARE INDEED FORTUNATE.
Of course, it your city is in the process of shrinking, if the population is being reduced, if industry and prosperity are leaving your community then perhaps the time will come when you can afford to dispense with your electric railway. That has happened to some of our cities. To scrap the electric railway is a most effective way to expedite this process, thus reducing your city to the category of those cities which can no longer afford the advantages of the electric railway. The electric rail way is distinctly the mark of a large, prosperous, progressive city, the city which can not properly exist with less efficient, less commodious transit facilities. More and more the electric rail way is becoming identified with our bigger, most active, most prosperous cities. More and more are the "small towns" becoming identified with exclusive bus service for their limited transportation requirements.