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It usually takes a crisis to get things changed quickly.

This reminds me of the UK fire departments, usually township controlled, prior to WW2. During the blitz (concentrated bombing) of UK cities and towns it was found that much of the equipment on many fire trucks was incompatible with other trucks. This immediately brought in a UK standardization of equipment which survives today.

The railroads also kept a special cars (similar to a 20ft. boxcar) with firefighting equipment in many strategic places on the railroad. I'm sure they were painted red.
 

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I agree that it was just resistance to change. Remember that once the RRs were forced to convert to automatic couplers they found benefits including being able to get more done with the same amount of crew members=less crew members needed total. Could be that the crews also saw that aspect coming and therefore resisted. As someone who regularly has to switch equipment with link and pin at the B&O museum I don't understand their resistance. Using those darn things scares the **** out of me, even more so when I'm running the engine knowing what a quick slip of my hand could do to my conductor.
 
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