Please Explain: The Railroads

Friday, November 18, 2011

Railroad historian John Hankey, and Bob Lettenberger, Director of Education for the National Railroad Museum talk about the history and significance of the freight and passenger railroads in the United States. They’ll also discuss the deterioration of our passenger railways in the 1950s and 1960s and the current state of rail travel here, compared to other countries.

Our phone number has changed! It's now 212-433-9692!


John Hankey and Bob Lettenberger

Comments [13]

Bill Hart from Cranbury, NJ

Excellent segment. As a railbuff and model operator I thought both guests gave accurate answers. Thanks for picking a topic that is often overlooked.

Nov. 18 2011 02:07 PM
ginny from nyc

I periodically take the train for personal business. The trip takes 2 days each way. It is wonderful! You meet the most interesting people on the train. I consider the train part of the trip as "vacation". Also, there are outlets for computers and the internet can be accessed via cell modem so you can work or communicate while traveling. Because of this, I don't think high speed rail is as important as extending service to areas not currently reachable by train.

Nov. 18 2011 02:01 PM
moshe from Manhattan

re:gages - the German Russian different gages was a major issue at the war.

Nov. 18 2011 01:57 PM
Ray from Jersey City, NJ

Did the big auto and oil companies scuttle trolleys in major cities, or is that just an urban legend? If not, what did lead to the demise of the trolleys?

Nov. 18 2011 01:52 PM
Kate from NJ

The oil and gas lobbies have seen to it that the US does not have a viable passenger rail system.

Nov. 18 2011 01:49 PM
Drew from East Village

who are the major owners of the railroads. rolling stock, right of ways, passenger. is Conrail and amtrak (i.e. the fed govt.) a major player

Nov. 18 2011 01:45 PM
antonio from bayside

There has to be another reason high speed rail has not taken off in the US!

Example, if you could get to Poughkeepsie in 30 minutes with High Speed Rail, wouldn't there be a boom in real estate, small business etc. with all the people who would flock to the area because of their current depressed prices?

Wouldn't that solve the upstate depression that has been pervasive for years?

Is it a conspiracy, like the one alleged with the streetcars etc?!

Nov. 18 2011 01:44 PM

What about how the railroad motivated the genocide of America's indigenous people?

Nov. 18 2011 01:42 PM
LL from UWS

Are trams and light rail a good idea for urban transportation?

P.S. I'm LOVING this segment. More, please!

Nov. 18 2011 01:36 PM
George from queens

When it comes to delays and failures, it's oftentimes due to signaling. Why is it so hard and costly to maintain and upgrade given today's technology and engineering?

Nov. 18 2011 01:30 PM
Deborah Lewine from UWS

Recent reports indicates high speed rail plans in California are on the rocks. How about the oft mentioned NY to Montreal route?

Nov. 18 2011 01:20 PM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

A general comment directed to the Lopate AND Lehrer show producers (not about this segment):

Your call-in phone number should ALWAYS be on your show page and the individual segment pages -- much more practical and convenient for your listeners than having to wait until Brian or Leonard repeat it.

The exception would be in those rare instances when you aren't inviting calls -- repeat shows would obviously fall into this category.

In fact, your site ought to indicate whether calls are encouraged (by the visibility of the phone numbers) else, the page should indicate otherwise more explicitly.


Nov. 18 2011 12:49 PM
meredith from nyc

Was it a public/private partnership, the railroad building of the 19th century? How much of each--I guess the private was the major portion? Same in Europe and America? Could you relate that to the debate today about public/private partnering in various needed projects like job creation and infrastructure repair? Thanks

Nov. 18 2011 12:08 PM

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