Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Jack Gallagher dies at 94: From editor to passenger rail activist

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John S. (Jack) Gallagher, Jr., a railroad economist and consultant who in the 1950s was traffic and transportation editor of Railway Age, has died at the age of 94. Gallagher was part of a high visibility effort in the mid-20th Century to reinvent the passenger train. His friend, rail historian Geoffrey Doughty, recalls that at the age of 90 Gallagher was still working on high speed and lightweight train development. Death came on Dec. 31, 2009.

“In addition to his work for the World Ban and US AID in Asia,” recalls Doughty, “It was Jack Gallagher who developed passenger studies for the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad, and then was appointed to lead New York Central’s passenger research bureau by Robert R. Young. It was Gallagher who, along with his small department, undertook passenger studies that resulted in the passenger service plan bearing his name, and was manifested in NYC’s short-lived Travel Tailored Schedules of 1956-57 during Young’s crusade to revolutionize America's passenger service. Young’s ‘new trains’ were highly publicized during his brief leadership of NYC 1954-1958.

“Although the passenger research bureau was disbanded following the death of Young in January 1958, the bureau's findings were late rimplemented by President Al Perlman in his drive to eliminate passenger losses and then passenger service altogether. NYC's (and later Amtrak’s ‘Empire Service’) was based on Gallagher’s findings. Indeed, he was one of the corporation’s early advisors and the overall results of his studies have served as an economic cornerstone of fundamental passenger service operations.

“He eagerly and generously helped a platoon of usyounger passenger transportation advocates (and historians) understand the past while looking to the future of passenger rail transport,” Doughty says.