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Our MemoriesSUSQUEHANNA of the


The Susquehanna captured by Ron Wallace in the late 90’s. Since his passing, we release it in memory of Ron. Scenes include Saddlebrook, Warwick, Erie Main, Little Ferry, Utica, Binghamton, Chenango Forks, Strucca, Butler, Syracuse, Phillipsburg, and more. 1 hr 48 min. ONLY $24.95


Railfan Video Journal - Two Hours of Terrific Trains and Trolleys ONLY $10 plus $2 shipping.


Vol 1-The East End 1 Hr 40 Mins LONG ISLAND RAILROAD RAILS that MOVED the 50’s


A look back at three major railroads that shaped the American way of life in the 1950’s. 5 Industry Films Produced by: The Western Maryland Railway, The Reading Company, and The Pennsylvania Railroad. ONLY $29.95


1 Hour 40 Minutes PHILADELPHIA MEMORIES


 Two Discs Set - 2 Hrs 23 Min


From the lens of Gary Grahl. See Philadelphia PCC’s during the colorful 1970’ and 1980’s on Routes 6, 15, 23, 53, 56, and 60. ONLY $29.95


NJ LIGHT RAIL LINES Two Discs Set Approx. 3 Hours


Explore the history of light rail in New Jersey from Newark Subway, thru PCC’s last ride in the Public Service Era, to NJ Transit Light Rail and More! ONLY $29.95


Add $4.00 S&H per order (PA add 6% tax) See us on the web at www.ronrailpictures.com or mail check or M/O to RonRail Pictures, DeptT


5552 Republic Way, Bethlehem, PA 18017


From the worn railroad of the 1970’s through the modern railroad of the 21st Century... See Port Jefferson Line, Mainline to Greenport, and Montauk Branch. ONLY $24.95


RonRail Pictures


while forbidding them to charge fares to cov- er their costs. The legendary Alfred P. Sloan of GM saw the opportunity to create a mo- nopoly for the rising transportation player — the automobile. So he collaborated with others whose fortunes were tied to rubber tire traffic, and formed a dummy corpora- tion, National City Lines, to buy the trolley companies, tear up the tracks, replace them with buses, knowing that at least half the streetcar ridership would reject bus trans- port and opt to drive. This history has been documented in Congress and, in fact, led to the conviction in a court of law of GM and its collaborators for monopoly practices. Meantime, baby boomers and others who followed them got in the habit of using only the automobile for ground transport. They didn’t really know anything else. That led to the expansion of suburbs and ultimately crossed the line into exurbs where, in their early years, people didn’t mind driving 70, 100, or even 150 miles each way on daily commutes. In the last couple of decades, that trend has slowed as significant seg- ments of more recent generations have in fact rebelled against burning rubber and gas when they could be reading, doing paper- work, or researching on the laptop, and have begun to forsake what they regard as the in- tellectual inferiority of studying the license plate of the car ahead of them. Most of the newer members of Congress


are of recent generations where rubber tire transportwas taken for granted. If they hon- estly think passenger trains are useless, it’s because that form of conveyance has never been a part of their lives. Thus, why would- n’t they see it as a ripe target for budget cuts


in these days of trillion-dollar deficits? For them, the knee-jerk reaction is irresistible.


What To Do About It? Sometimes, it is necessary to go to some- what fanciful lengths to make a serious point. One thinks of Rep. Louis Gomert who, when confronted with a high-court decision curbing the imprisonment of enemy combat- ants at Guantanamo Bay lockup, actually wrote a law that would consign terrorist killers to encampment on the grounds of the Supreme Court. The argument is made that passenger


trains are an outmoded drain on the taxpayer, notwithstanding that highway and air trans- port have eaten considerably more taxpayer largesse than the railroads have. So let’s leg- islate that henceforth — effective with FY 2013 —all taxpayer subsides for transporta- tion of all kinds will cease. The highways (in- cluding the pouring of concrete, conversion of highway patrols to private security services, etc.), the air schedules (including traffic con- trollers and construction of airports — all of them) would be offered for sale to any quali- fied entity willing to invest its own money in maintaining and operating the facility. Air fares, highway tolls, and all uses of


the transportation infrastructure would be required to cover whatever private owners deem sufficient for maintenance and a rea- sonable profit. We could cite the freight rail- roads as examples of the ability of private enterprise to take responsibility for both in- frastructure and operation. If they can do it, why not everyone else? Wes Vernon is a Washington-based writer and veteran broadcast journalist.


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