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Pennsylvania Operating

three changes that took place in the railroad industry after civil war?

i really need your help. please. thanks alot.

After the Civil War, economic cycles of boom and bust, often fed by the intense, at times cutthroat competition led to open conflict between the railroads and their workers. In 1873, when worldwide markets crashed and the nation entered a depression that lasted a record-breaking sixty-five months, millions lost their jobs. Railroads cut wages, and increased the work of those who still had jobs. When the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (BandO) announced a 10 percent wage reduction in the summer of 1877, exasperated workers walked out first in Martinsburg, West Virginia, and then across the nation. Soon more than 100,000 men were participating in the first nationwide strike in American history, a strike that quickly turned ugly. Some of the worst violence of the Great Railroad Strike of 1877 took place in Pittsburgh, where outraged mobs burned and destroyed millions of dollars worth of locomotives, tracks, and equipment. Ten days of tension and violence left thirty-one people dead, and countless others wounded. In Reading, ten workers were shot dead and dozens wounded in what became known as the Reading Railroad Massacre.

The Pressed Steel Car Company was one of dozens of Pennsylvania industries that...
Credit: Courtesy of the Historical Society of PennsylvaniaBy the time the 1877 strikes were over, more than 100 men, women, and children had been killed, 1,000 imprisoned, and movement on over half of the nation’s rail lines had been temporarily halted. The national press rallied around the railroads, reviling the strikers and those who joined them as “hoodlums," “loafers," “malcontents," and even “enemies of society." But in the decades that followed, railroad workers joined with workers in other industries in great labor struggles. During the Pullman strike of 1894 more than 260,000 American railroad workers walked off their jobs and shut down the nation’s rail system as violent clashes broke out in twenty-six states. In 1909, the McKees Rock Steel Strike at the Pressed Steel Car Company in Allegheny County Pennsylvania helped make the International Workers of the World a powerful force for industrial unionism.

Successfully blocking unionization of their workforces, railroads could be as...
Credit: Courtesy of the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
Operated by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission
In the late 1800s, many railroads began to establish their own voluntary insurance, sick pay, pension, and death-benefit programs. The BandO set up such a program in 1887, and the Pennsylvania Railroad did so in 1900. Paying for the programs out of current operating revenues, the two lines felt no obligation to pay all benefits if they had a bad year financially. While these programs were imperfect, they did replace earlier unwritten practices, whereby managers rewarded employees or their survivors with discretionary bonuses, benefits, or funeral expenses based at times on nothing more tangible than ad hoc preferences and personal whims. More than 400 railroad and other industrial pension/benefit programs were set up after the BandO and PRR programs began, and they served as a safety net of sorts until the coming of the federal Railroad Retirement Act in 1937.

In the late 1800s mounting public pressure led to the passage of state and federal legislation to regulate an industry that had come to dominate the national economy. Farmers working through state chapters of the National Grange – won legislation to regulate the rates that railroads could charge to carry their products to market. Railroad worker safety took a major step forward in 1900 with the passage of federal legislation mandating that railroads install air brakes and automatic knuckle couplers. In 1908, passage of the Federal Employers’ Liability Act ended the long-held legal principle that railroaders worked at their own risk, that they were usually responsible for their own misfortunes in accidents, and that acts of negligence by “fellow-servants" (co-workers) exonerated the company from liability.

As President of the PRR from 1899 to 1906, Alexander Cassatt engineered the...
Credit: Courtesy of the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
Operated by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission
Through it all the Pennsylvania Railroad and the state’s other trunkline railroads prospered. In the first few decades of the twentieth century, PRR built its $112-million complex of tunnels, yards, and the palatial Pennsylvania Station in Manhattan, and spent many millions more on new freight yards and main line improvements, and massive new stations in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, and Chicago. PRR President Alexander J. Cassatt was the driving force behind the creation of a “community of interest" among major eastern railroads to bring order out of the rate-cutting chaos instigated by weaker trunk lines. In so doing, Cassatt organized a legal cartel in which strong trunk lines bought stock contr

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