Modern Decline of Railroads

1960s and 1970s Railroads Timeline


The Erie Railroad merges with competitor Delaware, Lackawanna & Western to form the Erie Lackawanna Railroad.


After a U.S. ship is attacked, Congress endorses the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, authorizing U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.

New England's troubled Rutland Railroad is abandoned. Sections of the line soon reopen as the Vermont Central Railroad and the Green Mountain Railroad.


New York City's Pennsylvania Station is razed in December, sparking a landmarks preservation movement that continues to this day.


Pennsylvania Railroad and New York Central merge to form Penn Central.


The Pullman Company's staffing of sleeping cars ends as of January 1.


In this frenzied time of mergers, Chicago, Burlington & Quincy; Great Northern; Northern Pacific; and Spokane, Portland & Seattle combine, forming Burlington Northern.

The Interstate Commerce Commission reluctantly allows the demise of the legendary California Zephyr.


Amtrak takes over most passenger-train operations in the United States.

Auto-Train begins service in December, carrying automobiles and their occupants between Lorton, Virginia, and Sanford, Florida.


A fleet of French-built Turboliners are delivered to the United States, marking fledgling Amtrak's first new equipment acquisition.


Conrail begins operation as a result of the consolidation of Penn Central; Erie-Lackawanna; Reading; Lehigh Valley; Jersey Central; Lehigh & Hudson River; and Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore lines on April 1.


The first double-deck Superliner cars enter service for Amtrak.