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Railroads--United States--Passenger traffic; Transportation--Minnesota


Since 1920 there has been an accelerating discontinuance of passenger train service in Minnesota. Railroads first tried to meet competition for passenger services from bus lines, streetcars, and private automobiles by reducing the frequency of schedules and by changing to mixed freight-passenger trains. These steps were followed by discontinuance of passenger services on branch lines or in marginal areas. The Transportation Act of 1958 created conditions favorable to continuance of unprofitable passenger schedules, but curtailment has continued.

This paper is concerned primarily with the declining role of Class I railroads as passenger carriers in the United States, with Minnesota as a particular case study. It illustrates dynamic spatial patterns of abandonment and curtailment of commercial railroad passenger services amidst economic growth and general affluence.

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