Feasibility of alternatives open to railroads. Pullman calls attention to one point very strongly.After all, it tells us, no railroad need use Pullman service unless it wants to do so. Pullman has no legal right to set foot on railroad property without the owner's permission. It is the railroad, not Pullman, which has the public duty to provide passengers on trains a place to sleep. If any railroad does not want Pullman's service in meeting this obligation, the argument continues, it is perfectly free at the expiration of any contract period, to hire someone else to perform the service, or do the job itself, as it pleases.
To this the plaintiff responds that while the argument sounds plausible, no other course but use of Pullman cars and service on such terms as it can get is a practicable one for the railroads. We think that this response is correct in point of fact though the considerations which lead to the conclusion vary among the different roads. The point is important and merits some discussion. The alternative at the present time is not that the railroad may turn to some service company other than Pullman to do the job. There have been no others in the field since Pullman bought out Wagner more than forty years ago. The alternative is, rather, that the railroads either separately or together, urn their won sleeping car service.
If a railroad is to do its own sleeping car business it must, of course, have sleeping cars. If new cars are to be furnished they will as a matter of commercial necessity be the lightweight type. Pullman itself has not built or purchased any of the older type heavyweight cars since 1931. New lightweight cars cost, at the beginning of the war, about $80,000 each. It is highly unlikely that they, or new cars of any kind, can be manufactured or purchased during the war emergency. It is possible that if lightweight cars were to be produced after the war in large numbers, the unit price would be considerably reduced. Even at $60,000, to provide an all new lightweight car fleet for any railroad would demand an enormous flow of capital into that industry. The Boston & Maine system, for example, uses in non-peak periods approximately from 54 to 74 cars daily; the Chesapeake & Ohio from 46 to 69; the Missouri, Kansas & Texas from 49 to 55. In the case of larger roads, such as the Pennsylvania and New York Central, the minimum requirements are considerably larger. On the Pennsylvania alone, Pullman has put in operation in the past five years 142 lightweight cars, at an estimated average cost of $80,000 per car, the contract calling for 200 such cars. The situation with respect to the New York Central is similar. The necessary investment at $60,000 per car for non-peak service for the smaller roads mentioned would be:
Boston & Maine Railroad $ 3,240,000-$ 4,440,000
Chesapeake & Ohio Railway Company $ 2,760,000-$ 4,140,000
Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railway
Company $ 2,940,000-$ 3,300,000
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