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Michael Barone: Why freight rail pays and passenger trains flunk

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Forty years ago, American railroads were in trouble. The Penn Central, the largest railroad, had recently gone bankrupt. American freight rail was technologically obsolescent and hamstrung by union rules and government rate regulation. American passenger rail was unprofitable and unreliable. Freight rail was losing business to trucking firms. Passenger rail was losing out to cars on the new...

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