What if SP had never merged with UP?

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What if SP had never merged with UP?

Postby CPF363 » Tue Sep 27, 2011 7:38 pm

What would have happened if Phillip Anschutz had decided not to merge Southern Pacific with the Union Pacific? Could SP survive, as has KCS survived, on its own without UP? Could Anschutz find a railroad man to operate the system, possibly from another big railroad in addition to getting financing to make it more competitive with Santa Fe? Ultimately, was it a good idea for SP to sell out to UP in the end considering the merger-related difficulties that UP incurred following the merger? Could SP had asked for concessions from BNSF to make it more competitive, for example obtaining a Colorado to Chicago line via Kansas City, the old C&S-FW&D line between Colorado and Texas, and the CB&Q line directly to Omaha from Denver with a connection to the IAIS to Chicago without using any trackage rights? Simply, did SP need UP in the end to survive?
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Re: What if SP had never merged with UP?

Postby mtuandrew » Fri Sep 30, 2011 8:37 pm

CPF363 wrote:What would have happened if Phillip Anschutz had decided not to merge Southern Pacific with the Union Pacific? Could SP survive, as has KCS survived, on its own without UP?

For a while anyway, until the UP upped its purchase price, an eastern carrier bought the system or the SP entered bankruptcy liquidation.
CPF363 wrote:Could Anschutz find a railroad man to operate the system, possibly from another big railroad in addition to getting financing to make it more competitive with Santa Fe?

Yes (Ed Burkhardt?), and I don't know. The UP is having a time of it upgrading the Sunset Route, and a lot of that is due to deferred maintenance and lack of investment from the SP era.
CPF363 wrote:Ultimately, was it a good idea for SP to sell out to UP in the end considering the merger-related difficulties that UP incurred following the merger?

Probably - not only did the SP not have many other options to avoid being boxed in, but they didn't have the resources to battle both UP and BNSF in that market.
CPF363 wrote:Could SP had asked for concessions from BNSF to make it more competitive, for example obtaining a Colorado to Chicago line via Kansas City, the old C&S-FW&D line between Colorado and Texas, and the CB&Q line directly to Omaha from Denver with a connection to the IAIS to Chicago without using any trackage rights?

The SP probably could have gotten BNSF trackage rights from Trinidad to Dallas on the ex-C&S/FW&D route. For Denver to Omaha though, the SP probably wouldn't have gotten a thin dime from either BNSF or UP. They would have been best served by buying the Kyle Railroad interests and hashing out a shorter-distance trackage rights agreement from southeastern Nebraska to Omaha. For that matter, the SP lost out by not being able to purchase more of the Rock, like the Choctaw route to Memphis, the main line from Colorado Springs through Omaha to Chicago, and the north-south line through Oklahoma to Texas.

The combined SP-DRGW system already had trackage rights between Pueblo, Kansas City and St. Louis over the MP, with its own ex-Alton line beginning at St. Louis. SP probably could have purchased the MP Pueblo line outright, and had the option of rehabbing the Rock Island from St. Louis to Kansas City if it had become necessary.
CPF363 wrote:Simply, did SP need UP in the end to survive?

Good question - the SP did have the most direct American route between Atlantic (Gulf) and Pacific for a land bridge, and also had the most direct route from Los Angeles to the Deep South. They probably could have survived without the UP, but neither would have thrived as well.
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