Joe Biden believes that government played a large role in the success of railroads in the 19th century. In this video, Don Boudreaux points out that that isn’t actually true. There were four transcontinental railroads. Three of them received subsidies. The fourth was the Great Northern Railway, founded by Canadian immigrant James J. Hill. He alone rejected any special government favors.
All three subsidized railroads went into receivership. Hill’s Great Northern Railway remained solvent, and is still in business today as the BNSF Railroad.