The Great Northern Railway in 1958

Hayden, Stone was a securities firm that, after a series of mergers and acquisitions, is part of American Express today. This report appears to have been commissioned by the Great Northern to provide potential investors with an independent review of the company’s value. Although not an annual report, it came with a collection of annual reports and contains similar information, so I’m listing it as one.

Click image to download a 13.0-MB PDF of this 32-page report.

Most of it deals with freight, of course. One of the two paragraphs about passenger service says, “Under the ICC formula, Great Northern’s passenger operating ratio for 1956 was 193.86% and its operating deficit was $23,965,884. However, on an out-of-pocket cash basis, management believes that its passenger service is provided on much more favorable terms. The Company’s crack train, the Empire Builder, grosses around $5.35 per train mile (out-of-pocket costs about $4.50 per train mile) and its secondary train, the Western Star, grosses about $3.90 per train mile with out-of-pocket costs of some $3.45 per train mile. Management feels that since the Great Northern must operate passenger service, its service and equipment should be of the best, especially if it is to generate goodwill and create additional freight traffic. Toward this end, the Empire Builder has been completely equipped with new cars twice since the end of World War II, and continuing this policy, new dome cars were placed in service in 1955.”

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