December 13, 2004

Forgotten Quips

I woke up at 2:00 am sweating in an overheated house, and for some reason remembered the phrase, "A pig can cross the country without changing trains, but you can't." I googled this quip, and found a single reference in a railroad business newsletter put out by the Blanchard company, consultants:

BNSF and NS announced a new non-stop intermodal run-through program, something we knew was brewing as far back as last September, when the fans were all a-dither over BNSF and NS officials spied together in places like Harrisburg, PA. Recall Robert Young’s quip in 50s – “A pig can cross the country without changing trains, but you can’t,” referring to the inevitable trainchange in Chicago. Well, according to the two railroads piggybacks couldn’t either, at least via Chicago.

Robert Young won a Pyrrhic victory by triumphing in a proxy fight for control of the New York Central Railroad, then a gilt-edged American company. The railroads were in the business of killing the passenger business, which they regarded as a diversion. They may have been right.

What I don't know is why I was dreaming about taking a round-trip train trip from New York City to Albany, something I've never done. I've never even been to Albany.

The fevered brain does strange things in the middle of the night.

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