---> 1976-2016: 40 Years Since Conrail's Creation <---

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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---> 1976-2016: 40 Years Since Conrail's Creation <---

Postby Franklin Gowen » Fri Apr 01, 2016 1:33 am

April 1, 1976 was the very first day of Conrail. Love it or hate it, but Conrail definitely made history. Armed with Uncle Sam's gigabucks, CR helped save northeastern railroading from near-total collapse. I find it hard to believe that the adventure which began the day that Penn Central ended had its start four decades ago.

Much has changed since 1976. Disco is dead, Philadelphia PA is no longer a host city to a Class 1 railroad, and the locomotives now wear other heralds than the famous "can opener". Despite that, the Conrail legacy goes onward. Long live Big Blue. :-D
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Re: ---> 1976-2016: 40 Years Since Conrail's Creation <---

Postby MACTRAXX » Fri Apr 01, 2016 7:53 am

FG and Everyone:

I will agree to that - Conrail over time turned out to be a success story over the period of its 23 year history.

I recall the black and white introductory two page advertisement introduction with the heralds of the railroads that
that were taken over on locomotives and the engineer giving "thumbs up" as a symbol of a new beginning.

Thankfully the US Government - when it owned Conrail - "let Conrail be Conrail" and become a strong railroad that
stood well out on its own - and became a good merger partner for the CSX/NS takeover in the late 1990s.

See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conrail
http://www.prrths.com/newprr_files/Hagl ... _intro.htm
Good chronological history by year in PDF form - contains Conrail history 1976-1989 as a successor of the PRR.

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Re: ---> 1976-2016: 40 Years Since Conrail's Creation <---

Postby Noel Weaver » Fri Apr 01, 2016 11:07 am

The very first years with Conrail I thought "HO HUM" more of the same. Things certainly changed in a big way when L. Stanley Crane took over the helm. Trackwork commenced galore and where we once were able to go 30 MPH if not much less and in some places we could only go 10 MPH now we were able to go 50 MPH. Smooth track too. Conrail became a very efficient operation during that period and thanks to cooperation between Conrail and the operating unions some crew districts were extended and we ended up with jobs that were the best in my entire career. Had not LSC come on the scene when he did I wonder what would have maybe I should say could have happened to Conrail? Norfolk Southern had its sights on the railroad back when LSC was on the scene and LSC did as much as anybody to keep Conrail Conrail. What has happened since my part of Conrail was taken over by CSX? I don't think things are nearly as good as they were on Conrail, M of W has slipped, trains are fewer and service is not as fast or as dependable, employee morale (very important in this business) has slipped and probably more that doesn't come to mind right now. From my experience I left a good job with Metro-North to return to Conrail back in 1987 mostly because I was just plain fed up with living in New York City for way too long. My ten years living and working in Albany (Selkirk) were the best of my entire railroad career and it would not have happened were it not for L. Stanley Crane. Thank you departed friend.
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Re: ---> 1976-2016: 40 Years Since Conrail's Creation <---

Postby KLCS » Fri Apr 01, 2016 12:18 pm

I was too young to remember much and lived in an area with a sparse Conrail presence. I was taken aback when the split occurred in 1999 but I was too young to understand. I just thought Conrail was a 'given'. Now I understand much better the entire situation and appreciate the history and the role Conrail played in Northeastern railroading.
Happy 40th Anniversary.
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Re: ---> 1976-2016: 40 Years Since Conrail's Creation <---

Postby ExCon90 » Fri Apr 01, 2016 2:34 pm

Particularly regarding Noel's apt comments about LSC, I can't help wondering what might have happened if the Southern Railway had not had an ironclad policy of mandatory retirement at 65, an age at which LSC was not ready to retire. I can't think of anybody else who could have done what he did. In addition to getting the property back in shape, he got rid of the consultants and got Congress to understand that the Staggers Act was absolutely necessary. I think probably only he had the credibility to get that through their heads.
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Re: ---> 1976-2016: 40 Years Since Conrail's Creation <---

Postby shlustig » Sat Apr 02, 2016 7:42 am

As a Division staff person, one of the things about LSC that most impressed was the total lack of pomposity compared to previous PC and CR senior management.

We had a summertime 6 Hi-Rail caravan from Croton to Selkirk (Hudson Line) with the lead HRC being our Div. Supt. Bob Carbaugh and LSC. I had the last HRC and handled the paperwork. Approaching Hudson, I got a radio message that we would be going into the yard, not part of the itinerary.

After the trip, Carbaugh explained that after the stop at Rhinecliff. LSC mentioned that he would like to see the branch (Claverack) and the ADM facility.
We were stretched out over a mile as the M/W and engineering types in the intermediate cars made stops to check things out. While waiting for us to catch up in Hudson Yard, Carbaugh got out and started to clean the windshield. He was surprised to see LSC reach from the other side for the bottle and towels to do his side of the windshield saying that it was the least he could do for the trip!
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Re: ---> 1976-2016: 40 Years Since Conrail's Creation <---

Postby CNJ Fan 4evr » Sat Aug 06, 2016 3:27 pm

I was 10 when CR started. I can remember my dad asking "What the hell kind of railroad are they running anyway.?" "Instead of CNJ you have Penn Central with Lehigh Valley and Erie Lackawanna engines." Little did he, or the rest of us, know what was to follow. I hated the fact that many storied locations were abandoned but as we grow older we understand better why they did what they did. I still saw the old lines represented by the old engines that would go through High Bridge, Washington, Broadway, or Belividere for a few years. Then came the blue. After getting used to it, it turned out to be a really cool color. Much better than NS black which just reminds me of the dreaded PC black. I was fortunate to have seen the last 10 years of Conrail. Looking back on those photo prints I snapped and the video I captured of Big Blue, I can truly say I miss that railroad. Now railroading has become bland. Same locomotives on nearly all the big lines. It won't be surprising that in the future there will be even fewer railroads as the big get bigger and mergers that took away Conrail might someday take away NS, CSX, UP, or BNSF and make them into just another huge merged railroad company. We'll have to check back here in 40 years. :wink:
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