A story in Saturday's Business and Financial section detailing the financial losses of the nation's railroad industry incorrectly reported that the published first quarter industry deficit of $274 million did not include figures from Conrail. According to the Association of American Railroads, Conrail's losses are included in that figure.
The nation's railroad industry suffered its worst quarterly deficits in history during the first three months of 1978, according to a report by the Association of American Railroads.
According to the report, the rail industry's deficit - not including Conrail - was $274 million for the quarter compared with a $34 million loss for the same period last year.
AAR President William Dempsey blamed a second severe winter, the lengthy coal miners' strike and continuing high prices which he said "led to this disastrous period."
Dempsey expressed hope that the Interstate Commerce Commission would act swiftly in approving the rail industry's recent request for freight rate increases across the nation.
Yesterday the ICC responded to that hope by announcing that it would hold three hours of oral arguments on the proposed rate hikes at 10 a.m. on June 5.
If approved, the increases would bring the country's railroads an estimated $700 million more annually.
The rate proposed calls for a 4 percent hike for freight traveling between East and West points, 2 percent hikes for freight from and to points in the South and 7 percent for significant shipments of coal.
Practically all of the quarter's losses were realized in the AAR's Eastern District, which registered a $357.6 million deficit comparied with $243.6 million lost last year. That figure was offset by $0.3 million in income in the Southern District, down from $50.5 million last year, and $83.9 in income from the Western District, down from $159 million.
Operating revenues for the industry during the same period were up to $4.749 billion from last year's first quarter of $4.671.
The Consolidated Rail Corp., the government-aided company that replaced bankrupt railroads in the Northeast, reports its figures separately.