USRA and Utah Railroads
This page was last updated on July 1, 2018.
United States Railway Administration (USRA)
December 28, 1917
President Woodrow Wilson took control of the U. S. railroads, as of December 28, 1917:
"Now, Therefore, I, Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States, under and by virtue of the powers vested in me by the foregoing resolutions and statute, and by viture of all other powers thereto me enabling, do hereby, through Newton D. Baker, Secretary of War, take possession and assume control at 12 o'clock noon on the twenty-eight day of December, 1917, of each and every system of transportation and the appurtenances thereof locat ed wholly or in part within the boundaries of the cont inental United States and consisting of railroads, and owned or controlled systems of coastwise and inland transportation, engaged in general transportation, whether operated by steam or by electric power, including also terminals, terminal companies and terminal associations, sleeping and parlor cars, private cars and private car lines, elevators, warehouses, telegraph and telephone lines and all other equipment and appurtenances commonly used upon or operated as a part of such rail or combined rail and water systems of transportation; - to the end that such systems of transportation be utilized for the transfer and transportation of troops, war material and equipment, to the exclusion so far as may be necessary of all other traffic thereon; and that so far as such exclusive use be not necessary or desirable, such systems of transportation be operated and utilized in the performance of such other services as the national interest may require and of the usual and ordinary business and duties of common carriers."
(Read the complete proclamation, Presidential Proclamation 1419 -- Government Assumption of Control of Transportation Systems, December 26, 1917)
March 21, 1918
The United States Railway Administration (USRA) took over the operation of America’s railroads (including Bingham & Garfield) to improve the efficiency of America’s railroads during World War I. It continued to operate and “administer” the railroads until March 1, 1920.
(Read the text of the Railway Administration Act of 1918, Pubic Law 65-107, 40 Stat. 451; Approved March 21, 1918; affirming President Wilson's executive order of December 26, 1917, taking control of the nation's railroads)
March 1, 1920
The United States Railway Administration (USRA) returned control of the nation's railroads (including Bingham & Garfield), from government control due to World War I, back to the railroad companies. Included in the enabling Esch–Cummins Act was a provision to allow the ICC to control the railroads profits and rate of return for investments.