The U.S. Railroad Administration (USRA) was established as an independent agency by Presidential Proclamation 1419, issued on December 26, 1917.
President Woodrow Wilson signed the order under the Army Appropriation Act, which Congress approved on August 29, 1916.
USRA operated railroads, coastwise steamship lines, inland waterways, and telephone and telegraph companies that were seized by the government in the interest of national defense. It entered into compensatory agreements with seized carriers under the Federal Control Act approved on March 21, 1918.
Railroads and other seized carriers were returned to private control on March 1, 1920, under the Transportation Act of February 28, 1920. USRA functions after that dealt with liquidation and the final settlement of accounts.
Reorganization Plan No. 2 of 1939, effective July 1, 1939, abolished the USRA.
The article incorporates information from Archives.gov.