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Running the RailsCapital and Labor in the Philadelphia Transit Industry$
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James Wolfinger

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781501702402

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501702402.001.0001

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National City Lines and the Imperatives of Postwar Capitalism

National City Lines and the Imperatives of Postwar Capitalism

(p.195) 7 National City Lines and the Imperatives of Postwar Capitalism
Running the Rails

James Wolfinger

Cornell University Press

This chapter analyzes the policies implemented by National City Lines (NCL), the debates about the PTC going public, and the process that created today's Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA). NCL's policies created much distress for Philadelphia Transportation Company (PTC) employees, Philadelphia residents, and Democratic political leaders, such that by 1963, liberal politicians and their supporters realized that private control of this vital public service was no longer tolerable. That year they set in motion plans to purchase PTC and transform it into a publicly run regional system, SEPTA. The chapter highlights how private interests extracted what value they could from an industry and then turned it over to public management after it had been stripped of its parts and was no longer profitable.

Keywords:   National City Lines, PTC, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, Philadelphia, liberal politicians, private interests

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