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Nostalgia & History > Novelty Transportation?

Date: 07/11/19 09:33
Novelty Transportation?
Author: Hou74-76

Who first coined the phrase, "novelty transportation," to describe American rail passenger service?  

In pursuit of research concerning the razing of the SP depot in Austin, TX (circa 1965,) I came across an article from the daily newspaper stating the demolition of the depot was a result of rail passenger service becoming, "novelty transportation."   I am thinking the term may have been used way earlier than that to describe the once vital rail passenger service in the USA.  Maybe DJ Russell or RR Young or Downing Jenks used the term in a speech to a rail organization and the term stuck.  Thank you for any opinions or recollections you may have about this phrase as I had thought it was a fairly recent expression that was only used in respect to 21st century Amtrak.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/11/19 11:05 by Hou74-76.

Date: 07/11/19 10:48
Re: Novelty Transportation?
Author: CarolVoss

I believe that John Bromley, as spokesperson for the UP railroad back from 1980-2005 or so, used this term in reference to Amtrak.

Carol Voss
Salinas, CA

Date: 07/11/19 10:49
Re: Novelty Transportation?
Author: ATSF3751

Novelity transportation probably accuratly describes LD rail passenger services. By 1965, passengers were deserting trains in ever increasing numbers in favor of their automobiles, and to a lesser extent, airlines. Jenks and Biaggini and his mentor DJ Russell were realists who knew there was no sustainable path forward despite the hugh investments made by the railroads in general in their persuit of profitable passenger services. Some other roads had differing views on the best way forward, but even they knew in the end their only hope for survival was elimination of most passenger services and freight service de-regulation. 

I know there those who believe that if we only had more trains, routes, and convenient services, then LD services would provide much more value to the public then if those services were non-existant. Maybe. But so far, the evidence is un-conclusive. Most of the rail community of 1965 was predicting the end of LD passenger service  by 1975, or at the best, 1980. That prediction excellerated with the loss of the US Mail and the shifting of what express remained over to piggyback. 

Subsidies were going to those modes where the majority of the public wanted it spent, good or bad. Fair or unfair. 

A 3 hours ride from LA to Chicago....or a 2 day train ride? The public was making that choice in ever increasing numbers and that is where the tax dollars went. 

Date: 07/11/19 12:15
Re: Novelty Transportation?
Author: Copy19

Thank you Carol.  I wear my badge of infamy with pride.

JB - Omaha

CarolVoss Wrote:
> I believe that John Bromley, as spokesperson for
> the UP railroad back from 1980-2005 or so, used
> this term in reference to Amtrak.
> C

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