Tuesday, February 22, 2022

"Edward Harriman improved railroads while building a fortune"

"Edward Harriman improved railroads while building a fortune" by Scott Mall, © FreightWaves Classics, February 22, 2022. (History Article)

" ... The (financial) Panic of 1893 negatively impacted most U.S. businesses for several years. Harriman was nearly 50 years old in 1897 when he became a director of the Union Pacific Railroad, which was then in receivership. In 1898, with the financial assistance of Kuhn, Loeb & Co., Harriman and a syndicate acquired the Union Pacific. Harriman’s key business achievement was the reorganization and rebuilding of the Union Pacific. By May 1898, he was chairman of the railroad’s executive committee, and from that time until his death, 'his word was the law on the Union Pacific system.' ... Harriman made a strenuous, daylight-hours-only trip from the Missouri River to the Pacific on the railroad in 1898. It was said that he inspected 'every mile, every station, every flatcar and engine.' One railroad superintendent stated that 'he saw every poor tie, blistered rail and loose bolt.' Under Harriman’s leadership every problem on the railroad was catalogued and fixed, and within months he had the ailing railroad in excellent health. Harriman reduced the company’s debt and upgraded its equipment, investing nearly $50 million by 1904. Harriman gained control of the Central Pacific Railroad in 1900-01. ... He became president of the Central Pacific in 1903. From 1901-09, Harriman was also the president of the Southern Pacific Railroad ... In 1904 he invested more than $22 million in the Central Pacific and $70 million in the Southern Pacific to improve the railroads. ... " [More]

[Courtesy Google Alerts.]