Question about George Alpert

Joined: 11:43 PM - Feb 10, 2018

7:32 PM - Oct 06, 2018 #1

Hey guys, so I've been looking around stuff about Patrick McGinnis, I noticed that someone said both McGinnis and Alpert failed New Haven and led to the collapse of the New Haven. I did a thread months ago mentioning Patrick McGinnis and how I found out that Pat was partly the reason why the New Haven collapsed. What did Alpert do that made New Haven into a full collapse?
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nhrhta
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nhrhta
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Joined: 4:42 AM - Feb 06, 2003

8:30 PM - Oct 06, 2018 #2

Solomon:

By the time Alpert came on the railroad it was losing money on both passenger and freight service.  Typically, railroads lost money on passenger service, especially commuter service, and made up the loss on freight service profits.  By the latter half of the 1950s major highway systems were being completed all across southern New England and the kind of industry that shipped by rail was moving out of the region.  There was very little that Alpert could do, but he did try.  One of the things he tried to do was to get the states to provide tax relief and financial subsidies for the commuter service.  To some extent he was successful, but the tax relief and subsidies provided didn't come close to making up for the railroad's shortfalls.  When the railroad went bankrupt for the second time, the Trustees knew that the railroad could not survive as an independent operation so they didn't even bother trying to reorganize it.  They immediately tried to force it into the Pennsylvania - New York Central merger, figuring that the merged railroad would be so big and profitable that it would be able to absorb all of the New Haven's losses.  Of course, this turned out to be a mistake.  One might say that Alpert's strategy worked to some extent., but not while he was there  The passenger service was eventually absorbed by the government and the taxpayers now hold the bag for this economically unviable operation.  Freight service has almost ceased to exist as there is very little industry remaining in what used to be the New Haven's territory.  For example, I think that today there is only one or two rail shippers left in metropolitan Boston.

Marc Frattasio
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Joined: 11:43 PM - Feb 10, 2018

10:03 PM - Oct 06, 2018 #3

So I see Alpert wasn't trying to be like McGinnis but was trying to fix the New Haven but it failed to the point where it collapse? Or did he do something that was similiar to McGinnis?
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nhrhta
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nhrhta
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8:30 AM - Oct 07, 2018 #4

McGinnis was also trying to fix the railroad, while also trying to make some money for himself and his financial allies.  McGinnis understood that the railroad was losing its heavy industrial base while simultaneously facing competition from limited access highways and short-haul airlines.  His approach was to introduce high speed passenger service between Boston and New York City, expand piggyback service, and acquire a fleet of 50 foot boxcars specially equipped to handle shock-sensitive electronic equipment.  Alpert's approach was to try to get the government to step in and help subsidize the railroad's passenger losses.  Ultimately, there was nothing that anybody could do to prevent the New Haven's collapse.  Nearly every railroad operating in the northeast eventually collapsed - that's what Conrail was all about.  The New Haven was just the first major line to go.

Marc Frattasio
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Joined: 11:43 PM - Feb 10, 2018

6:17 PM - Oct 07, 2018 #5

McGinnis was trying to fix the railroad and even did something that eventually landed him in prison for 18 months and Alpert came in also trying to fix the railroad but the government never did anything and there was no other way to fix the New Haven since air travel increased and highways were built? I guess Alpert wasn't trying to be a bad man or anything like what McGinnis did right? Sorry, I'm trying to understand things fully here. I heard how McGinnis did some deals that landed him in prison but I saw Alpert that made him fail the New Haven and I was trying to understand, if Alpert wasn't a bad person but was doing things to make sure the New Haven keeps running but that has failed?
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Statkowski
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7:23 PM - Oct 07, 2018 #6

By the time Mr. Alpert came on the scene the handwriting was essentially on the wall.  Eastern Airlines, stealing passengers, had hourly departures between LaGuardia Airport in New York City and Logan Airport in Boston (remember, this was back before you had to be body-scanned, X-rayed, groped by strangers, needed four forms of approved identification and gave a sample of your blood).  Interstate 95, stealing both passengers and freight, ran between the Metropolitan New York area and the Metropolitan Boston area.

The best that Mr. Alpert could do would be to slow down the cash hemorrhage.
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Joined: 11:43 PM - Feb 10, 2018

9:24 PM - Oct 07, 2018 #7

Wasn't it other airlines than Eastern as well? And one more question. Has Alpert did anything criminally wrong like what McGinnis did?
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Statkowski
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Joined: 4:39 AM - Mar 05, 2003

9:38 PM - Oct 07, 2018 #8

Other airlines flew between New York City and Boston, but the Eastern Airlines Shuttle was the people mover.

Mr. McGinnis was convicted for actions taken while he was with the Boston & Maine, no longer with the New Haven.

Mr. Alpert was never charged nor convicted of anything, nor even suspected of any criminal wrongdoings.
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Joined: 11:43 PM - Feb 10, 2018

11:24 PM - Oct 07, 2018 #9

Okay then. Thanks for the info you guys shared with me! 
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rfranzosa
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Joined: 6:55 AM - Oct 17, 2005

5:30 PM - Oct 08, 2018 #10

... and as ‘All Things Must Pass’ Eastern Airlines didn’t last either

Rick Franzosa
#0697
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