Why Did The Railways Express Company (REX) Die?

Back in the days before air travel became cheap, people shipped stuff by railroad. REX was a firm that picked up packages/parcels at train stations, and delivered them to their final destination. I recall seeing a row of their trucks parked outside South Station (Boston, MA). Their trucks were painted in red and green-and they fulfilled the role that FEDX or DHL does today.
Why did such a well-established firm fail to see that extending their operations o airports made sense? It seems like a natural.
Of course, we wonder why firms like JC Penny are dying…or why Kodak died.
Are CEOs sometimes clueless about technological change?

For most of its existence (as the Railway Express Agency) it was a franchised monopoly jointly owned by the various rail companies and the *exclusive *parcel express service (other than the Post Office) they would work with. It did seek to expand into air and truck service but it had no such exclusivity with those other carriers; it lived by the railroads and it died with the railroads. By the time it “privatized” itself into REX the writing was already on the wall.

Some things are bloody obvious AFTER they happen.

Another thing we tend to let fall between the pages of history is antitrust enforcement, which in the 40s-50s-60s wasn’t a mythical beast the way it’s become since the Reagan Administration.

Sometimes you hear people say the railroads were shortsighted for not getting into the airline business. But of course several of them did—and were forced to divest their airline operations for antitrust reasons.