“The Public Be Damned!”


ntbraymer

By Noel T. Braymer

I was thinking about this famous quote recently which I knew was from a 19th century railroad baron. With help from Wikipedia I discovered it was a quote from the Chicago Daily News in 1883 from an interview by reporter John Dickerson Sherman with the then president of the New York Central Railroad William Henry Vanderbilt. The question to Mr. Vanderbilt was “Do your limited express trains pay or do you run them for the accommodation of the public?”. Vanderbilt replied, “Accommodation of the public? The public be damned! We run them because we have to. They do not pay. We have tried again and again to get the different roads to give them up; but they will run them and, of course, as long as they run them we must do the same.” Well this was an honest answer but in today’s parlance a PR…

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