Publication Date



Housing/Neighborhoods, Equality/Civil Rights


BCT was completed in 1929 by New York Central Railroad, shortly before the stock market crash leading to the Great Depression. Between 1929 and 1933 the railroads’ gross operating and net revenues fell; costs dramatically increased while passenger’s disposable incomes decreased. The railroads were responsible for their own maintenance and capital improvements, while the Federal Government was actively subsidizing auto, bus and air travel. In addition, taxes paid by the railroads to federal, state and municipal governments were being used to pay for their competitors’ infrastructure. The U.S.’s entry into World War II brought an increase in freight and passenger rail traffic because rails were an effective way to move war goods and there were gasoline rations as well as rubber and metal shortages. While the railroads were now increasing income like never before, they were stretched near to capacity in addition to the fact that resources were not available to maintain the trains (materials were being used to manufacture war goods). Once the war ended, the railroads’ freight and passenger traffic once again declined.