Showing posts with label Santa Fe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Santa Fe. Show all posts

Monday, May 7, 2018

Santa Fe Railroad

ATSFa Railroad - Photo: Wikipedia
One of the most popular railways in history was known as Santa Fe even though its official name was Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe. From 1859 until 1996 this railway provided numerous services for hauling materials and maintaining miles of railroad tracks. It became one of the largest and most profitable railway companies during its prime.

The Santa Fe Railroad took a very entrepreneurial approach to their services. They purchased large areas of land from the government and then built their railroad tracks through them. They took the remaining land and sold it to businesses and individuals looking for a place to build a home or to operate a farm. They knew that by bringing people to these areas they would soon need supplies to be brought to them via the railway.

In addition, they implemented the concepts of adding buses and ferries to their passenger railway services. Since they couldn’t always reach the passengers by train they had locations set up where people could use the ferry or the bus to reach the train as part of the price of the train ride. This idea was an immediate hit and increased the number of people that began using the Santa Fe railroad for their transportation needs. 

In 1872 the Santa Fe railroad took advantage of the cattle industries in both Colorado and Kansas. They were able to ship live cows on their trains as well as to transport meat from the processing and ship it to other areas. Some businesses felt this concept was a double dip for the railway while others felt it was the genius idea that offered them plenty of profit without having to build more train tracks to reach it.

Yet the real money for the Santa Fe Railroad came with the discovery of gold in the mountains of Colorado around what is today Leadville and Cripple Creek. The railroad was able to bring supplies to the area for those looking to strike it rich. They also hauled the gold for the various companies mining it and charged a hefty price for doing so.

With the earnings that the Santa Fe railroad was making from the gold rush, they decided to expand their railway tracks into new territory. They faced many challenges getting them built along Raton Pass into New Mexico. There were simply too many hills and mountains to make this an easy job. 

Between 1965 and 1945 Santa Fe had become the most profitable railway in the country. They started out with only 62 miles of track and had grown to more than 13,000 miles. As the years went by Santa Fe continued to be a very profitable company, yet they had many competitors to contend with as well. This bit into their profits and they decided in 1983 to merge with Southern Pacific. 

The merger was never completed though as it was denied by the Interstate Commerce Commission. They felt that this merger would result in too many duplicate routes being in place by the railways. Many people were surprised when Santa Fe merged with one of its biggest competitors in 1996. Burlington Northern has always been well known for acquiring other railway companies. With this acquisition through their name took a change as well and became known as Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF). 

Yet both of these individual companies found that they were offering the same services, had similar goals, and wanted to offer the best possible training for their employees. They found they both had some strengths and some weaknesses but by joining forces they could emerge as the very best railway company in the world. 

Today BNSF is the most profitable railway in the business as they are able to offer competitive rates and they have thousands of miles of train tracks to incorporate various routes. They work hard to educate the public about safety issues and concerns. They also offer competitive wages and require all of their employees to engage in regular training.