What happened when the US government stopped investing in railroads and started investing in highways and air travel? By the late 1970s, six major eastern railroads had declared bankruptcy. Although he didn’t like trains, Howard H. Lewis became the primary lawyer for the Reading Railroad during its legendary bankruptcy case. Here, Lewis provides a frank account of the high-intensity litigation and courtroom battles over the US government’s proposal to form Conrail out of the six bankrupt railroads, which meant taking the Reading's property, leaving the railroad to prove its worth. After five grueling years, the case was ultimately settled for $186 million—three times the original offer from the US government—and Lewis became known as a champion defender of both the railroad industry and its assets.
Foreword by John C. Spychalski
List of Abbreviations
List of Important Names
1. The Age of Innocence
2. The Gathering Storm
3. A Time of Waiting
4. The Beginning
5. The Plot Thickens
6. Fear and Exhaustion
7. Detailed Case Preparation
8. The Times That Try Men’s Souls
9. The Rail Use Case: Ours and the Government’s
10. The Government’s Case
11. End Game
Lewis has done the impossible—written an engaging and very human story about a railroad bankruptcy. I was deeply involved in the great railroad crisis of the early 1970s while at the FRA and USRA but still learned a lot from Derailed by Bankruptcy. This book is essential reading for those interested in a turbulent time when freight railroading came close to being nationalized.
Senior Vice President at Norfolk Southern (retired)
Derailed by Bankruptcy should be required reading in every law school, especially for students who aspire to become corporate attorneys. Howard H. Lewis provides valuable insights into the creation of Conrail and interesting observations of Drew Lewis before he became chairman of the Union Pacific.
author of The Men Who Loved Trains
The fact that the book was very hard to put down once you got started with it says something about the author’s ability to both enlighten his readers as well as tell a good story.
For the railfan, you'll receive an insider view of this historically important period and a better understanding of how and why Conrail came into being and what it meant for rail transportation.
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