Taggart Transcontinental (TT) is a railroad owned and run by a brother-sister team. James is the president. Dagny is the vice president of operation. An ancestor founded the railroad. The conflict centers on the Rio Norte Line. It runs from Cheyenne to El Paso. It has been in need of new rails for over a year. TT has lost business to the Phoenix-Durango because of accidents and an inability to stay on schedule. Dagny wants to replace the rail with a new metal that's never been used before from their current supplier. Rearden Metal is lighter, cheaper and stronger than steel. James wants to continue to wait for his friend Orren Boyle of Associated Steel to deliver the order that was due over a year ago. Dagny gets her way.
SUBPLOT (loose ends)
Who is John Galt? - We learn this phrase is slang for "don't ask questions nobody can answer".
San Sebastian - A line that runs from El Paso to the San Sebastian Mines in Mexico. Dagny is convinced Mexico will nationalize the line and TT will lose $40 million. James doesn't want to believe it or think about it.
Halley's Fifth Concerto - Dagny hears a brakeman whistling a melody that sounds like a Halley concerto. The theme of the concerto is: "...that there was no ugliness or pain, and there never had had to be. It was a song of an immense deliverance." Dagny confirms that Halley didn't write a fifth concerto and is still out of the public eye.
Owen Kellogg - Dagny wants to promote Owen. When she gets to NY, she learns Owen wants to see her. He quits for a personal reason. Dagny tries to determine the cause but is unsuccessful. "For the first time in her life, she felt helpless and beaten."
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