Journal of Transportation Management


Unlike most companies, the major railroads in the United States have proven highly resilient to the vicissi- tudes of the market. We argue that this is due neither to the unique nature of rail haulage nor to superior management acumen. Rather this solidity is due to an immense wealth transfer to the railroads in the nine- teenth century that has dramatic impacts in the present. Moreover, the government protection and encouragement that rail grants represent did not end in the nineteenth century. It continues and represents an intangible asset that, while not on railroads’ balance sheet, is very real indeed.