Whitsett, W. Gavin

60 minutes
Bobo, Mary
Transcription available:
Louisville and Nashville Railroad
Series ID:
Interview Number(s):
Miami City ticket agent in 1928; Atlantic Coast Line & Seaboard Coast Line. Promoted to city passenger agent in 1929 in New York City; went to Wall Street on Oct 29, the day the stock market fell. Job cut back, returned to Duke University. Peninsula & Occidental Ship Line position in Havana, Cuba - 8 years. Mr. Davies, President Atlantic Coast Line, offered job in Wilmington, North Carolina. Circumstances of meeting JB Hill. Became general passenger agent to New Orleans in July 1942. Connection between ACL, Bet-A-Million Gates, JP Morgan, Henry Walters, and the take over of L&N stock. New Orleans, passenger service, military trains, first diesel and JB Hill's attitude. JB Hill and Charles Kettering of General Motors, research on improving diesels. Investments into trying to continue to maintain passenger service, phase out local passenger service and problems encountered, specialties in the dining car. Decline of passenger travel tied to airlines and development of the interstate highway system in 1950s. Involvement of railroads and Whitsett in attempt to save passenger service, arrangements with other railroads, description of passenger accommodations, railroad's continued support of passenger service until it was obviously financially impossible to continue. Budd car possible answer but resistance by labor unions made it impossible for L&N to utilize. Work rule 100 miles=day/run/pay. Changes in union leaders' attitude was reflected in quality of work after civil rights activities began - helped to destroy passenger service. Railroad did not have control over service situation. Community relations and the responsibility of the position. Similarity between the railroad & military structure. Age factor in the L&N management. Stenographer for 40 years or more. Explanation of Traffic/Freight Traffic Department. Reflections of Kendall's presidency.
Louisville and Nashville Railroad Company, Atlantic Coast Line Railroad Company, Railroads--United States--Passenger traffic