Travel was made more comfortable by the sleeper and dining cars of the Pullman Car Company.
Air brakes were invented by George Westinghouse, allowing trains to stop more reliably, which previously had been a significant problem.
Westinghouse Steam and Air Brakes A Pullman Sleeper Car (left) and Dining Car (above)
The First Transcontinental Railroad
The Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railways were given the task by the government to create the first transcontinental railroad, going from the Atlantic to the Pacific.
The two companies met to complete the tracks at Promontory, Utah on May 10, 1869.
As an incentive to complete the railroad, the two companies were given 640 acres of public land for each mile of track laid down.
This was only the first of many railways to cross from one ocean to the other. Many more followed and made the railway the best way to travel across the country, replacing the wagon.
As railroads became a more common form of transportation, regulations were required, leading to…
A standard width of track, which resulted in less transfers being necessary.
The formation of time zones, to make it easier for railroads to keep schedules and avoid wrecks, to replace a town’s “local” time.
Since the introduction of the railroads, the people had a much greater access to goods. The goods were now cheaper because it cost less to put them on a train across the country than to put them on a wagon.
Trains also gave people more opportunities to go west and to make a new life for themselves.
In the late 1800s the amount of railroad tracks grew very fast, from 35,000 miles of track in 1865, to 163,000 miles in 1890.
The railroads opened the doors to many new opportunities for people in business as well. Businesses could go farther now that it was easier to travel across the country.
Some times, railway companies would set up pools with other companies, and they would promise that none of them would lower the price of something so that there would be no competition between them. This was illegal, and hurt the consumers because they had to buy the product for whatever price the pool set it at.
There were also some companies that made Trusts. This was when a company would buy out all the companies that were needed to run the main company, so that they could charge themselves a low rate.
It was not until 1887 that Congress passed a law to stop the dishonest practices of the railway business. In that year it created the Interstate Commerce Commission to keep the railway industry in line.
Cheating the People
While the railroads bound the country together, they did not always care about the people that used the railroads.
The railroad companies often cheated their customers.
It would sometimes cost more to ship goods on the railroads a long distance than a shorter one.
Because they did not announce their prices, one farmer could be charged a great deal more for the same shipment than another.
Many times the government officials that could stop the railway companies from cheating the people were profiting from the dishonest behavior themselves.
Regional Airlines Get Wings Clipped by Big Partners
Regional airlines grew after the terrorist attacks in 2001, as larger airline companies outsourced routes to cut costs.
Larger airlines were so desperate that they gave smaller companies generous terms, such as large profits, in addition to selling tickets, setting schedules, and buying fuel.
Now, however, larger airline companies are cutting back on some of these flights or pushing for better terms with smaller companies.
As this continues, bankruptcies, liquidations and "shotgun mergers" are expected as the regional airlines adjust.
Bill Swelbar, a researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's International Center for Air Transportation, suggests that consolidations will leave only four larger providers from the remains of the regional airline companies.
BUSINESS DECEMBER 30, 2009
Airline Tickets: Fairer Fares
Citizens are requesting that Delta Air Lines consider changing the rates between two Georgia cities.
On Christmas eve, from Charleston to Atlanta, a ticket cost $578, as might be expected because of the lack of low-cost competition.
However, from Savannah, which is closer to Atlanta, a ticket was selling for $650.
The author acknowledges that the company needs to make money, but other businesses besides the airlines are struggling in the current economy as well.
Delta essentially has a monopoly on the Savannah-to-Atlanta run.
Because of this, it can charge as much as it wants, or as much as consumers are willing to pay.
The author states that despite this, “the sky shouldn’t be the limit when it comes to ticket prices,” and he or she, as well as his or her peers, hopes that Delta will drop prices to reasonable rates.
December 26, 2009
First airplane flight in 1903
Main mode of long distance transportation in the 21 st century
Trusts illegal because of the Sherman Antitrust Act
Smaller companies, due to lack of monopolies, have a better chance of success
Lack of tracks make them more flexible in transportation routes
Monopolies still exist on a smaller scale
First transcontinental railroad completed in 1869
It was the main mode of transportation in the 1800s and 1900s
Trusts and Pools were used by railroad companies to keep down competition
Many large corporations, very few smaller companies
Large Businesses control the majority of the industry
Moving items shorter distances sometimes cost more.
Technology developed very fast to evolve with the times
Different classes for different incomes
First Class in the Gilded Age- Pullman First Class Car (left) First Class in the Present- First Class Cabin (right)
Progression of Routes from the Early 1900s to today- Airlines (left), Railroads (right)
“ Airline Tickets: Fairer fares.” SavannahNow.com. Savannah Morning News. 26 Dec. 2009. Web. 2 Jan. 2010. <http://savannahnow.com/opinion/2009-12-26/airline-tickets-fairer-fares>. Carey, Susan. “Regional Airlines Get Wings Clipped by Big Partners.” WSJ.com. The Wall Street Journal Digital Network. 30 Dec. 2009. Web. 2 Jan. 2010. <http://online.wsj.com/ article/SB10001424052748704234304574626192740931538.html>. “ A Classification of American Wealth.”. American Wealth Classification . Raken.com. 2008. Web. 2 Jan. 2010. <http://www.raken.com/american_wealth/Gilded_age_index4.asp>. “ The Gilded Age: Binding the Nation by Rail.” UsHistory.org. UsHistory.org. 2008. Web. 2 Jan. 2010. <http://www.ushistory.org/us/36a.asp>. Works Cited