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Railways, having a monopoly on land transport, transported goods at all distances. Trains leaving the factories went to the so-called hump yards where railway workers separated them. With a loud crash of striking cars, new trains were formed, which were directed to the destination.

At the target hump yard, they were disassembled to place selected wagons on the sidings of the recipients. The system was expensive, time-consuming and caused losses in the form of shattered goods.

Elisha Lee, vice president of the Pennsylvania System railway company, said in 1921 that he was not afraid of truck competition.

Most likely, they will operate at short distances and the railways will immediately benefit financially because they will not have to deal with non-profit short-distance transport, for which expensive terminals are necessary,” Lee said at the time.

An example was the terminal in Cincinnati, which only in one year released 66 thousand railway wagons for long-distance transport. This allowed to eliminate 300,000 humping operations, accelerated delivery by 52 hours and reduced workload by half due to avoiding reloading.

Photo: Ben Brooksbank/Wikipedia

In the next episode of History of  transport in Trans.INFO:

How the railway monopoly was broken.

Previous articles in the series:

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