Larry Kaufman

Noted Transportation Journalist, Consultant & Author

Larry Kaufman, freelance writer, has been involved with railroads for more than 40 years.

A 1958 graduate of Cornell University, he began his journalistic career at the Cleveland Press, where he won a Guild Award for best news story of 1959. In 1960, he moved to the Cleveland News Bureau of Business Week magazine where he spent the next three years as assistant editor. The magazine moved him to St. Louis in 1963 as bureau chief.

In 1969, Larry was transferred to the Washington News Bureau as transportation correspondent. In 1970, he broke the story of the impending bankruptcy of the Penn Central Transportation Co., and provided continuing coverage of the then largest corporate bankruptcy in American history. He moved to the Department of Transportation in 1971 as Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs. He left government service in 1973 and worked briefly as a transportation analyst for Washington Analysis Corp., then and now a listening post for institutional investor clients, before joining the Association of American Railroads in the Office of Information and Public Affairs in 1974.

At the AAR, Larry concentrated on the railroad industry association’s competitive equity campaign, an effort to gain even-handed treatment of railroads by public policy makers. Early in 1978, he returned to Business Week as Transportation Editor and covered the developing trend toward deregulation of airlines, trucking and railroads.

Returning to the AAR in 1979 as Vice President of Information and Public Affairs, Larry directed the successful advertising and public affairs campaign for passage of the Staggers Rail Act of 1980, which substantially deregulated the U.S. railroad industry.

In 1981, he became Vice President-Public Affairs at Burlington Northern Railroad. After a brief period in public relations and advertising outside the railroad industry, Larry became transportation editor of The Journal of Commerce in 1986, and later became National Transportation Correspondent and a regular columnist in the newspaper.

Larry left the paper in 1995 to become Managing Director, Corporate Communications of Southern Pacific Transportation Co. until the railroad was merged out of existence. He then consulted with Norfolk Southern on the Conrail transaction, with Canadian National on the Illinois Central acquisition, and with the AAR on public policy issues, before becoming a free-lance writer specializing in railroad issues. He returned to The Journal of Commerce in 1999, where he broke the story of the Canadian National - Burlington Northern and Santa Fe plan to combine, then left when the paper restructured and changed its editorial focus in June 2000. He now is an independent writer and consultant on transportation issues. He is the author of two books, most recently “Leaders Count: The History of the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway,” and is now working on a history of Norfolk Southern Corp.

July 14, 2011