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Passenger Trains > What killed Pullman in the 60’s (question)


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Date: 07/18/19 14:05
What killed Pullman in the 60’s (question)
Author: JohnM

I have often wondered what killed off the Pullman Company (passenger) in the late sixties.   With the constant infighting on the passenger board, it’s peaked my interest.  Off the cuff, I suspect it was the fact that Americans had made personal choices to drive the interstate or catch a flight.  (those evil subsidies!).  Did the service go down the crapper, did the freight railroads run then off, was their marketing and business model stuck in history?  

Who was the villain of the day back then?  Today, we seem to look for villains, whether it’s a steam, freight or passenger operation. Did we sit and call people names like we do now?  

Dont flame out too bad.   

 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/18/19 14:06 by JohnM.



Date: 07/18/19 14:50
Re: What killed Pullman in the 60’s (question)
Author: PHall

Boeing killed Pullman.



Date: 07/18/19 15:28
Re: What killed Pullman in the 60’s (question)
Author: MEKoch

Passenger Train Journal had a major article about Pullman and its last five years in the past year of the magazine.  Well written with good details.



Date: 07/18/19 15:43
Re: What killed Pullman in the 60’s (question)
Author: ATSF3751

PHall Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Boeing killed Pullman.

Yes, but the Interstate Highway system greased the sleds. In the mid-1960's SP commented that the Lark's only problem was that it couldn't fly. 



Date: 07/18/19 16:47
Re: What killed Pullman in the 60’s (question)
Author: JohnM

MEKoch Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Passenger Train Journal had a major article about
> Pullman and its last five years in the past year
> of the magazine.  Well written with good details.

Thanks!!



Date: 07/18/19 17:08
Re: What killed Pullman in the 60’s (question)
Author: ronald321

Of course, the jet airplane (1958), and Interstate Highway (completed in the '60's) were the main reasons -
but here are a few more:

.  riding quality declined as the railroad track structure declined in the late late 60's, and '70's. with all those bankruptcy's in the East
-  the Penn-Central, EL, LV, DL&W.

.  Forgotten now is all those air conditioning failures caused by poorly maintained AC units under each car (The "Hot Car" problem).

.  Sometime in the '60's, the PRR and NYC dramatically increased sleeper fares to astronomical heights (check your old Trains
-  Magazines if you have them)

.  Rail management new they had a rapidly aging sleeping car fleet that would cost millions to replace--and they wanted out of the 
-  passenger business completely (similar to Anderson's desire to kill long-haul trains  and avoid replacing the Superliner fleet).

.  If memory serves, I think somewhere in the late '50's - the Feds decided the Pullman Co. was an illegal arrangement or something.
-  that's when the railroads assumed the operation of their own sleeper service (no more Pullman Co.).



Date: 07/18/19 17:13
Re: What killed Pullman in the 60’s (question)
Author: train1275

In a picture ......

After it became affordable there were no overnights needed and one could spend longer at destination.

Also a boon for the business traveller. More territory and more effective use of time.

Air travel (jet travel) went from a thing for the rich and famous to the common man and his family.

And as mentioned the Interstate Highway System with good automobiles that could cruise at 70 mph all day and cheap motels giving a traveller a sense of adventure and control. Howard Johnson's, Holiday Inn, Stuckey's, and roadside attractions like "South of the Border", Wall Drug, "The Thing" and other adventurous stuff to explore and National Parks on the way or as a destination where Pullman didn't even go.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/18/19 17:16 by train1275.




Date: 07/18/19 17:35
Re: What killed Pullman in the 60’s (question)
Author: ronald321

Yet. despite all of the above "body blows" - sleeping cars exist today (even brand new ones).

They are even "Sold Out" sometimes.



Date: 07/18/19 17:56
Re: What killed Pullman in the 60’s (question)
Author: MojaveBill

Something called "progress," the same thing that "killed" the stagecoaches and Pony Express.

Bill Deaver
Mojave, CA



Date: 07/18/19 18:22
Re: What killed Pullman in the 60’s (question)
Author: millerdc

As a corporation Pullman never was able too adjust its manufacturing techniques to be successful in freight car construction.



Date: 07/18/19 18:42
Re: What killed Pullman in the 60’s (question)
Author: PHall

ronald321 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Yet. despite all of the above "body blows" -
> sleeping cars exist today (even brand new ones).
>
> They are even "Sold Out" sometimes.

But they're no longer the primary way people travel anymore.
They have become a leisure activity.



Date: 07/18/19 21:33
Re: What killed Pullman in the 60’s (question)
Author: Lurch_in_ABQ

Fixed transportation guideways became an anachronism.



Date: 07/18/19 21:44
Re: What killed Pullman in the 60’s (question)
Author: mundo

The AC, may have failed on cars not operated and maintained by Pullman, but up until 1968, when the railroads took over the staffing and maintenance of equipment, the Pullman folks fixed the equipment.
The onboard service in a Pullman sleeper, never went downhill in the US until 1968 and  1970 in Mexico.  On any train with more then one sleeper, then also had a Pullman Conductor who handled the tickets, sold any open spaces and supervisored the porters.. One car used the Porter in Charge.

For some years the NYC, then PC and Rock Island operated the sleepers themsleves, long before the 1968 staffing of all remaining Pullman Sleeping car operation. That's where on board  would have gone down hill.
Interesting on the Rock Island, the sleepers on the Golden State, a shared train with the SP, remained operated by Pullman, rest of the trains were railroad operated.

Do not mix up the break up of the Pullman Mfg business, and the operation of the sleepers,  back in 1948, when Pullman-Standared was formed for building freight cars and the remaining new passenger car orders. This was years before the Pullman Sleeping car company discontinued the sleeper operation.

This post is in simple terms, but  lots more interesting details on the entire Pullman Company over the years.



Date: 07/19/19 06:50
Re: What killed Pullman in the 60’s (question)
Author: ronald321

PHall

I don't disagree with your points -- but I will expand on them.

.  True, sleepers (in fact all pass. trains) are no longer primary. Without doubt, Planes & cars took this title away.
But, Acela and the NEC returned the favor - and rail is once again the primary mode in the Air/Rail market.
I know this situation doesn't apply directly to sleepers - but it shows even airplanes can lose their "primary" status.

.  They are leisure activity.  To that I say--Great.  Doesn't matter if a sleeper sells out for business or leisure.  Sold Out is Sold Out
Trans-Atlantic liners were wiped out by airplanes - but Cruise Ships are an enormous business strictly based on leisure.

So, even if they are no longer "primary", and are now used for "leisure activity" -- the sleeper service we have now seems to be doing quite well.
Sleepers are true survivors--even if Pullman wasn't.



 



Date: 07/19/19 07:09
Re: What killed Pullman in the 60’s (question)
Author: Lackawanna484

Most cruise lines operate "repositioning" cruises across the Atlantic to move ships into position for the next season.  There are always customers willing to pay for a leisurely, well provisioned trip from Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or New York to Europe.

But, I doubt the sum of all the repositioing cruises from the US to Europe in a year equals even a small fraction of the 1950 traffic volume. Or one night's air volume.

And many people are willing to pay for a long trip from Miami etc through the Panama Canal, and up to Alaska.

 



Date: 07/19/19 07:55
Re: What killed Pullman in the 60’s (question)
Author: ronald321

Lackawanna484

you missed the point a little.

Ships were wiped out by planes on scheduled trans-Atlantic runs, where they once were primary
Ships are booming today in Caribbean LEISURE  cruise service. (THE PURPOSE OF SHIPS CHANGED)

Sleepers were wiped out by planes for business travel (no more 20th Century; Super Chief or Lark) where they once were primary
Sleepers today are doing well catering to "leisure activity" (THE PURPOSE OF SLEEPERS CHANGED)

My only reason for making this compassion was, to reply to PHall (above), and show that "leisure Activity" is a very good reason why sleepers have survived into our day--even if Pullman is gone.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/19/19 07:58 by ronald321.



Date: 07/19/19 11:28
Re: What killed Pullman in the 60’s (question)
Author: JohnM

For those of you traveling back in the late sixties, I would assume the sleepers were either not full or priced below cost?    I know the railroads themselves took a big dump when they lost express/mail.   



Date: 07/19/19 18:06
Re: What killed Pullman in the 60’s (question)
Author: ProAmtrak

MojaveBill Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Something called "progress," the same thing that
> "killed" the stagecoaches and Pony Express.

And they're too blind to know how to fix what worked for a while and now is congested, ever wonder why LA is known as the freeway capital of the world?



Date: 07/19/19 18:23
Re: What killed Pullman in the 60’s (question)
Author: raytc1944

Not true on building heavyweight sleepers till the end of Pullman.  The last Pullman heavyweights were built in 1934.  Then Pullman went into lightweights.  However, heavyweights were well cared for and many rebuilt into new floor plans as late as after World War II.  In 1948 when the car building part of Pullman was separated from the Pullman Company operating division all regularly assigned cars remained in their assignments.  Some remained owned by Pullman while those transferred to railroad ownership were immeadiantely leased back to Pullman for operation.  These cars were operated by Pullman employees such as porters, conductors, bus boys and cooks and were  maintainedin Pullman Company shops.



Date: 07/19/19 18:29
Re: What killed Pullman in the 60’s (question)
Author: wabash2800

But if the highspeed, flying sardine cans (we are the sardines) that have to rely on the taxpayers for airports etc., had to go it alone, how much service would we have and at what price?

Victor A. Baird
http://www.erstwhilepublications.com



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