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Sobota, 16. novembra 2019
American Railroads and waterways
Dátum pridania: 23.05.2006 Oznámkuj: 12345
Autor referátu: lna
 
Jazyk: Angličtina Počet slov: 1 232
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American Railroads and waterways In the United States, as in England, the first railroads, employing horse-drawn wagons, were used to haul minerals. The earliest such railroad, from Quincy, Mass. to the Neponset River dates from 1826. In 1829 two locomotives were imported from England, but they were too heavy for the existing tracks. Thereafter, locomotives suited to the American railway were produced domestically. The steam power was used after 1830.The first locomotive was built by Peter Cooper. After 1830 the railroads grew so quickly that within a decade their mileage surpassed that of the canals. While the stagecoach type of railroad car was giving way to the square type in the 1830s, many short-run railroads began to appear throughout the United States. The big cities on the Atlantic Coast became the nerve centers, while inland points were readily connected with one another. Only the Erie Railroad was projected on a grand scale. Because of the long distances involved, the United States and Russia had sleeping cars earlier than other countries.

First sleeping car appeared in 1836 on the Cumberland Railway's run between Philadelphia and Harrisburg. Sleeping cars of a more modern type were patented (1856) by George M. Pullman and soon put in operation. The first all-steel car appeared in 1859. Two acts of Congress (1862 and 1864) initiated the building of the first transcontinental railroad: the Union Pacific Railroad . For many years railroad tracks had varied in width, so that cars could not pass from one line to another. However, in the mid-1880s a standard gauge of 4 ft 8 1/2 in. (1.44 m) was adopted, mainly because the transcontinental railroad had, on federal orders, used such a width for its tracks.Growing sectionalism and the conflict between the North and the South before the Civil War had tended to block large-scale projects but the war itself gave tremendous impetus to railroads (e.g., the Pennsylvania RR ), which aided in the transportation of troops and supplies. In 1887 the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) was established to cope with problems of railways.In 1917 the federal government took over the railroads for the duration of World War I. Although the Transportation Act of 1920 returned the railroads to their private owners, it also granted the ICC general control over the lines, including the right to mediate labor disputes, which had become an important factor.

Organization of railway labor began with the unionization (1864) of locomotive engineers; by 1900 railroad personnel were organized on an almost nationwide basis. After 1920 the railroads failed to recapture their former prosperity largely because of added competition from the automobile, the bus, long-distance trucking, and the airplane. The widespread introduction of diesel power on long-distance passenger train routes and the electrification of heavily traveled urban lines in the 1930s still failed to revive the industry.During World War II, however, when gasoline rationing forced many travelers to abandon their cars, railroads increased their passenger traffic. After the war, railroads tried to maintain their gains through the introduction of air-conditioning and lighter, faster, more streamlined cars, built of steel and aluminum. In spite of the changes, however, business, especially passenger travel, continued to decline. The industry's financial difficulties peaked with the bankruptcy of the Penn Central RR in 1970, but since then railroads have staged a modest revival.

The Railroads Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act (1976) and the Staggers Act (1980) deregulated the industry by making it easier for railroads to set their own rates, abandon unprofitable lines, and buy other railroads. Under deregulation, railroads could offer rate discounts to get more customers. Containers that adapt to truck, ship, or train travel, multilevel automobile-rack train cars, computerized tracking systems, and piggyback carriers that allow trains to carry fully loaded trucks also aided the modernization of freight service. The amount of freight moved by railroads increased by 34% between 1970 and 1992, and rail's share of the freight industry, relative to trucking and other forms of transport, remained stable through the 1990s, reversing decades of decline. In 1996 the 10 major railroad companies had operating revenue of nearly $33 billion.The 1980s and 90s saw the consolidation of the U.S. freight industry, which resulted in four major railroad companies: Burlington Northern Santa Fe, CSX, Union Pacific, and Norfolk Southern, as well as the expansion of the Canadian National into the United States with its purchase of the Illinois Central.

As a result, the Surface Transportation Board blocked the proposed merger of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe and Canadian National systems in 2000 and issued (2001) new regulations designed to assure that future mergers would increase competition. Union Pacific Railroad -line westward from Nebraska to the California-Nevada line where it was to connect with the Central Pacific Railroad built eastward from California; the two met at Promontory Summit, Utah. In 1865 construction of the Union Pacific was begun from Omaha westward, and with a long succession of harrowing construction problems and Indian troubles. Nevertheless, on May 10, 1869, the Union Pacific joined the Central Pacific, thus connecting the Missouri River and the Pacific Ocean by rail and completing the nation's first transcontinental railroad. The Union Pacific acquired the Missouri Pacific and Western Pacific RRs in 1982 and M-K-T RR in 1988. In 1995 it agreed to purchase the Chicago and North Western RR, and it acquired the ailing Southern Pacific in 1996. By 1997 the much-expanded railroad was plagued by accidents, late arrivals, and congested rail lines; federal regulators intervened, allowing two competing railroads to share Union Pacific's tracks, to keep shipments moving.

Today the railroad, with around 53,000 km of track in the West, Midwest, and Gulf Coast regions, is a subsidiary of the highly diversified Union Pacific Corporation; in 1999 the corporation split the railroad operation into three semiautonomous units (for the northern, southern, and western sections of the system). ERIE CANALis an artificial waterway 580 km long; connecting New York City with the Great Lakes via the Hudson River. Locks were built to overcome the 174 metres difference between the level of the river and that of Lake Erie. With its three branch canals it forms the New York State Canal System. After the American Revolution, the need for an all-American water route between the Great Lakes and the Atlantic coast was evident. Political unity, easy and inexpensive transportation, and increased trade (free from Canadian competition) were the anticipated benefits of such a route.The Erie Canal contributed to New York City's financial development, opened eastern markets to Midwest farm products and encouraged immigration to that region, and helped to create numerous large cities.

Its initial success started a wave of canal building in the United States.But the opening of the New York State Thruway and the St. Lawrence Seaway sealed the canal's commercial demise. Traffic now consists almost entirely of pleasure boats; a five-year overhaul in the late 1990s was undertaken to make the canal a major "recreationway."SAINT LAWRENCE SEAWAY is an international waterway 3,769 km long, consisting of a system of canals, dams, and locks in the St. Lawrence River and connecting channels between the Great Lakes; opened 1959. It provides passage for large oceangoing vessels into central North America. The seaway includes a 8 metres deep waterway, a canal, and seven locks between the port of Montreal and Lake Ontario; 8 metres channel and eight locks through the Welland Ship Canal ; and the Sault Sainte Marie Canals and locks.The seaway has created a fourth seacoast accessible to the industrial and agricultural heartland of North America and has brought oceangoing vessels to lake ports such as Buffalo, Cleveland, Toledo, Detroit, Chicago, Milwaukee, Duluth, and Toronto.

 
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