By 1933, the Pennsylvania Railroad had been in existence for nearly ninety years. During this time, it had grown from a small line, struggling to build west from the state capital in Harrisburg, to the dominant transportation company in the United States. In Volume 2 of The Pennsylvania Railroad, Albert J. Churella continues his history of this giant of American transportation.
At the beginning of the twentieth century, the Pennsylvania Railroad was the world's largest business corporation and the nation's most important railroad. By 1917, the Pennsylvania Railroad, like the nation itself, was confronting a very different world. The war that had consumed Europe since 1914 was about to engulf the United States. Amid unprecedented demand for transportation, the federal government undertook the management of the railroads, while new labor policies and new regulatory initiatives, coupled with a postwar recession, would challenge the company like never before. Only time would tell whether the years that followed would signal a new beginning for the Pennsylvania Railroad or the beginning of the end.
The Pennsylvania Railroad: The Age of Limits, 1917-1933, represents an unparalleled look at the history, the personalities, and the technologies of this iconic American company in a period that marked the shift from building an empire to exploring the limits of their power.