Conrail Route Abandonment Regrets?

Discussion related to the operations and equipment of Consolidated Rail Corp. (Conrail) from 1976 to its present operations as Conrail Shared Assets. Official web site can be found here: CONRAIL.COM.

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Conrail Route Abandonment Regrets?

Postby NYCS » Fri Jan 23, 2015 11:36 am

Hey guys,

I've been studying the network of Conrail before the CSX/NS split, and ran across this map showing the railroad's network and how it was to be distributed: ... ain_lg.gif

My question is, since Conrail is one of the major success stories of Northeast railroading, they obviously had to do a lot of abandonments to eliminate duplicitous routes, unprofitable branches, and slim down to become profitable. With all that said and done, I ask you this hypothetical question:

Do you think - in retrospect - there are any routes that Conrail abandoned that wasn't a smart strategic move? Perhaps if the railroad survived into today, given the shift in traffic volumes and commodities (i.e. ethanol boom), do you think Conrail would be banging its head against a wall for abandoning certain routes? I know this is all hypothetical, but figured it would be a fun discussion. Which routes should Conrail have kept from its predecessor roads instead of abandoning them, and why?

My answer: The line west of Manhattan to 65th Street Yard (which was sold to Trump for residential high-rise development). Even though the industries had left the High Line, the 65th St. Yard would have made for a strategically placed team yard facility and bulk transfer terminal for goods destined to Manhattan. (food ingredients, rebarb, steel I-beams, construction materials, etc.)
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Re: Conrail Route Abandonment Regrets?

Postby Engineer Spike » Fri Jan 23, 2015 12:32 pm

I wonder if the PRR across IN, and OH would eliminate some of bottlenecks.
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Re: Conrail Route Abandonment Regrets?

Postby Allen Hazen » Sun Feb 08, 2015 11:07 pm

The Canada Southern across southern Ontario was, I believe, a very well-engineered line. At a guess, it could have been part of a usefully short route between Chicago and some East coast port. (Certainly it seems to be on a direct line from the midwest to Halifax, which, as the easternmost port on the main North American rail system (? that is true, isn't it ?), is a natural place for the rails to meet container ships. And it LOOKS as if Chicago to Buffalo is shorter by CASO than by the New York Central main line: which would make it part of Conrail's shortest route to anywhere it reached via Buffalo.)
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