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Jervis Langdon Jr., 99; Led B&O's Last Years as Independent Railroad

February 19, 2004|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Jervis Langdon Jr., 99, one of the nation's foremost railroad executives, who was president of the storied Baltimore & Ohio in its last years as an independent company, died Monday in his native Elmira, N.Y., of congestive heart failure.

Langdon earned bachelor's and law degrees from Cornell University. He worked in legal departments of various railroads before becoming assistant vice president of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad.

After serving as a colonel in the Army Air Forces in the China-Burma-India theater during World War II, Langdon moved to Washington, D.C., as attorney for Southern railroads in rate-setting hearings before the Interstate Commerce Commission. He also served as president of the Assn. of Southeastern Railroads before joining B&O as counsel in 1956.

During his tenure as B&O president from 1961 to 1964, Langdon introduced efficiencies including computerization, single-commodity freight trains for coal and detailed cost-accounting procedures. He took the troubled railroad from a $31-million loss in 1961 to a $1.5-million profit in 1962.

But the B&O was taken over by the Chesapeake and Ohio in 1963, and, after several clashes with new management, Langdon left.

He subsequently served as president of the Rock Island and Penn Central railroads before retiring in 1976.

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