Pools, Railroad

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POOLS, RAILROAD, agreements between railroads to divide competitive business, sometimes by dividing traffic but usually by dividing income. The Chicago-Omaha pool, dating from 1870, divided business among three railroads, effectively squelching competition from other carriers. Equally effective was the cattle eveners' pool, formed in 1875 to equalize traffic in livestock between Chicago and New York. Section 5 of the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887 and the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 outlawed pools, but the practice continued in modified forms. The Transportation Act of 1920 provided for legal pooling agreements when approved by the Interstate Commerce Commission, but the railroads rarely made use of this privilege. They had found other methods better suited to their needs.


Hoogenboom, Ari, and Olive Hoogenboom. A History of the ICC: From Panacea to Palliative. The Norton Essays in American History. New York: Norton, 1976.

Kerr, K. Austin. American Railroad Politics, 1914–1920: Rates, Wages, and Efficiency. Pittsburgh, Pa.: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1968.

Ulen, Thomas S. "Cartels and Regulation: Late Nineteenth Century Railroad Collusion and the Creation of the Inter-state Commerce Commission." Ph.D. diss., Stanford University, 1979.

HarveyWalker/a. r.

See alsoAntitrust Laws ; Interstate Commerce Commission ; Railroad Rate Law .