Derailed by Bankruptcy

Derailed by Bankruptcy

Life after the Reading Railroad
Howard H. Lewis, John Spychalski
Distribution: World
Publication date: 01/04/2016
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 978-0-253-01866-3
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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.

Author Bio

Howard H. Lewis, a graduate of Harvard Law School, has practiced law for over 50 years.

John C. Spychalski is Professor Emeritus of Supply Chain Management, Pennsylvania State University.


“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.”
 — Jim McClellan, 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.”
 — Rush Loving, author of The Men Who Loved Trains 

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Table of Contents

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

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