ConRail and passenger services

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.

Moderators: TAMR213, keeper1616

ConRail and passenger services

Postby rrbluesman » Thu Feb 21, 2008 8:20 am

At the inception of ConRail, what were the reasons the federal government had to make ConRail retain the commuter services it had rather than turn them over to say Amtrak? Or, for that matter, since ConRail basically took over the roads that were running the highest number of passenger trains to begin with, why wasn't ConRail incorporated with an arm devoted exclusively to the care and advancement of the passenger services it had to keep? Wouldn't that have provided the government a sort of an out to passenger service basically up and down the NEC?
rrbluesman
 
Posts: 487
Joined: Mon May 23, 2005 9:36 pm

Postby Otto Vondrak » Thu Feb 21, 2008 2:40 pm

At the inception of ConRail, what were the reasons the federal government had to make ConRail retain the commuter services it had rather than turn them over to say Amtrak?

Conrail took over the operations of the six railroads that were transferred to it. Those operations included several commuter operations. The lesson learned from Penn Central was that Changing Everything On Day One is bad. Maintain the status quo while going about programs of improvement was the order of the day. Amtrak was formed to relieve railroads from the burden of operating intercity passenger trains- runs of over 100 miles or more. Saving commuter trains was not the goal of Amtrak. Amtrak would play a role later as operator for some agenices, but that's it.

Or, for that matter, since ConRail basically took over the roads that were running the highest number of passenger trains to begin with, why wasn't ConRail incorporated with an arm devoted exclusively to the care and advancement of the passenger services it had to keep?

Creating one company to take over the operations of six bankrupt railroads was difficult enough without making another complication with a Commuter Subsidiary. The commuter operations were part of Conrail's operations from Day One- Conrail mechanics repaired locomotives, whether passenger or freight. Car knockers inspected passenger cars and freight cars. Engineers worked passenger trains and freight trains. There was no clear, surgical separation between the two.


Wouldn't that have provided the government a sort of an out to passenger service basically up and down the NEC?

I don't understand what you're asking here.

Let's review: ConRail operated commuter trains in:

- New York (Everything out of Grand Central Terminal)
- Boston (Everything out of South Station)
- New Jersey (CNJ, PRR, NYLB, EL)
- Philadelphia (RDG, PRR, PRSL)
- Chicago (PRR Valpo Local)
- Cleveland (EL to Youngstown)
- PLUS an RDC from Buffalo-Toronto in cooperation with CP (TH&B)

Many of these services were being subsidized by local governments. Some ended for various reasons- the Cleveland train was discontinued 1977, the ex-TH&B RDC came off in 1981 replaced by an Amtrak train, the Atlantic City service ended 1982, and the Valpo Local became Amtrak's "Calumnet" in 1979. Conrail ceased operating the Boston lines in 1982 over a disagreement in funding levels, and Boston & Maine picked up the contract.

That left New York, New Jersey, and Philly. The Northeast Rail Services Act of 1981 authorized Conrail to cease operating commuter trains by Jan. 1, 1983, giving the municipalities two years to come up with a solution. The MTA formed Metro-North Commuter Railroad Co. to acquire the lines and equipment and operate the trains out of Grand Central. Many employees of Conrail furloughed over to the new company. Similar processes happened in New Jersey, and Philadelphia. By Jan 1, 1983, Conrail was out of the passenger business.

You couldn't really have one operator for so many cities in one corridor. Commuter services are based on metropolitan terminals, not so much as secondary trains to Amtrak corridor services.

-otto-
----------------------------------------------
Moderator: New York State Railfan :: New York Central :: Toy Trains
NYW&B Fan Site :: A Magazine I Read Often :: A Museum I Volunteer At
User avatar
Otto Vondrak
 
Posts: 20141
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 6:47 pm
Location: New York

Postby Noel Weaver » Fri Feb 22, 2008 4:03 am

Otto Vondrak wrote:[b]Many employees of Conrail furloughed over to the new company. Similar processes happened in New Jersey, and Philadelphia. By Jan 1, 1983, Conrail was out of the passenger business.

You couldn't really have one operator for so many cities in one corridor. Commuter services are based on metropolitan terminals, not so much as secondary trains to Amtrak corridor services.

-otto-


One correction, the employees of Conrail were not in a furlough status but
rather in a leave of absence status. We had the right to return to Conrail
twice a year as of the first of May and the first of November. Metro-North
people who worked for Conrail prior to January 1, 1983 still have that
right although it is highly unlikely that any of them would do that at this
stage in their career. When I did return to Conrail effective Nov. 1, 1987,
I had to give up my rights in Metro-North territory with regard to the
commuter passenger operation. The reason I made the move at that time
was because I was totally fed up with living in New York City.
An employee in a furlough status is there because his/her seniority will not
allow him/her to hold a job of any kind. An employee in a leave of
absence status is able to hold a job (sometimes even many good jobs)
but is not working for a legitimate reason. Any former Conrail employee
who was working for Conrail prior to January 1, 1983 and elected to work
for either Amtrak or one of the commuter outfits retained their Conrail
seniority and had the right of return twice a year as mentioned above.
In the case of Amtrak, they can actually flow back and forth every six
months if they so choose but again, it is not likely that anybody would
elect to do that.
Eventually this whole set up will be history once the last employees hired
prior to January 1, 1983 have retired in a few more years.
Noel Weaver
Noel Weaver
 
Posts: 9330
Joined: Sat May 29, 2004 9:33 pm
Location: Pompano Beach, Florida

Postby Otto Vondrak » Fri Feb 22, 2008 3:45 pm

Noel, thanks for explaining the movement between Conrail and Metro-North.

-otto-
----------------------------------------------
Moderator: New York State Railfan :: New York Central :: Toy Trains
NYW&B Fan Site :: A Magazine I Read Often :: A Museum I Volunteer At
User avatar
Otto Vondrak
 
Posts: 20141
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 6:47 pm
Location: New York

Postby Jers2709 » Mon Feb 25, 2008 6:20 pm

Did any of the passenger cars receive Conrail markings?
Jay Smith
Lakehurst, NJ
Northeast Corridor-New Jersey Division HO Model Railroad
Amtrak - New Jersey - SEPTA
User avatar
Jers2709
 
Posts: 268
Joined: Sun Feb 18, 2007 3:22 am
Location: Lakehurst, NJ

Postby JimBoylan » Mon Feb 25, 2008 8:56 pm

Did ConRail run any of the Washington - Baltimore MU trains before MARC took over? Did ConRail run the short-lived "Parkway" trains East from Pittsburgh?
JimBoylan
 
Posts: 3104
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2004 2:33 pm

Postby USRailFan » Tue Feb 26, 2008 4:23 am

Otto Vondrak wrote:Let's review: ConRail operated commuter trains in:

- Boston (Everything out of South Station)

Conrail ceased operating the Boston lines in 1982 over a disagreement in funding levels, and Boston & Maine picked up the contract.


So these lines went from Conrail to B&M, and then to MBTA? Or was MBTA formed "from scratch"?
USRailFan
 
Posts: 442
Joined: Sun Nov 28, 2004 1:22 pm

Postby walt » Wed Feb 27, 2008 7:47 pm

JimBoylan wrote:Did ConRail run any of the Washington - Baltimore MU trains before MARC took over? Did ConRail run the short-lived "Parkway" trains East from Pittsburgh?


There were no Baltimore- Washington MU trains before the MARC "predecesor" MDOT. ( In actuality, MARC is a division of MDOT, but was created sometime after the commencement of the commuter operations). Neither the PRR or the B&O operated commuter trains, per se, between Baltimore & Washington--service between the two cities was provided by the intercity trains of each railroad. The strictly commuter service now provided by MARC was a creation of MDOT. The first MU cars used were old ex-PRR/PC MP54's--- cars which were well past their prime by the time they reached Maryland.
Please Move to the Rear and Speed Your Ride
( Philadelphia Transportation Company)
walt
 
Posts: 1090
Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2004 4:51 pm
Location: Columbia, MD

Postby Noel Weaver » Wed Feb 27, 2008 9:57 pm

walt wrote:
JimBoylan wrote:Did ConRail run any of the Washington - Baltimore MU trains before MARC took over? Did ConRail run the short-lived "Parkway" trains East from Pittsburgh?


There were no Baltimore- Washington MU trains before the MARC "predecesor" MDOT. ( In actuality, MARC is a division of MDOT, but was created sometime after the commencement of the commuter operations). Neither the PRR or the B&O operated commuter trains, per se, between Baltimore & Washington--service between the two cities was provided by the intercity trains of each railroad. The strictly commuter service now provided by MARC was a creation of MDOT. The first MU cars used were old ex-PRR/PC MP54's--- cars which were well past their prime by the time they reached Maryland.


This is not so. Both the PRR and the B & O ran commuter trains between
Baltimore and Washington. The PRR had two round trips between the
two above points, out of Baltimore in the morning and Washington in the
afternoon rush. They both were operated with MU equipment which could
be seen laying over at Baltimore on weekends when the service did not
operate.
The B & O also ran trains with Budd RDC equipment and even before
the Budd Cars came with standard equipment, engines and coaches.
I have timetables in my collection that show both of the above services.
Noel Weaver
Noel Weaver
 
Posts: 9330
Joined: Sat May 29, 2004 9:33 pm
Location: Pompano Beach, Florida

Postby walt » Thu Feb 28, 2008 8:10 pm

I stand corrected-- I knew that the service was not nearly as extensive as the MDOT or MARC service and, at least in the late 1960's when I moved to the area ( from Philly) it wasn't very well publicized.
Please Move to the Rear and Speed Your Ride
( Philadelphia Transportation Company)
walt
 
Posts: 1090
Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2004 4:51 pm
Location: Columbia, MD

Postby NS VIA FAN » Fri Feb 29, 2008 7:02 am

Otto Vondrak wrote:

Let's review: ConRail operated commuter trains in:..................

- PLUS an RDC from Buffalo-Toronto in cooperation with CP (TH&B)

........the ex-TH&B RDC came off in 1981 replaced by an Amtrak train


After VIA took over from CP this was a joint CONRAIL-VIA train.

Crews handling the train between Buffalo and Hamilton were either CONRAIL (St. Thomas based) or CP (TH&B).

It lasted until Amtrak became involved and the new “Maple Leaf “ inaugurated via Niagara Falls in April 1981.
User avatar
NS VIA FAN
 
Posts: 871
Joined: Wed Mar 31, 2004 11:51 am

Re: ConRail and passenger services

Postby MACTRAXX » Thu Jul 31, 2008 8:43 am

Everyone: I rode the Buffalo-Toronto RDC service on four round trips BUF-TOR in 1979 and 1980 and I will add to NS VIA's post that I recall this train used CP RDC's,the TH&B and Conrail had an agreement running this train taking six month turns between Buffalo and Hamilton and a CP crew took the train between Hamilton and Toronto. NS notes that the CR crew was St.Thomas based-a remnant of Niagara Rainbow service - I recall one CR conductor working this train wore a Amtrak uniform and that I was quite surprised that he was indeed from St.Thomas. Another thing I recall was this train was the only passenger service run by CR that had no subsidy whatsoever.

I became very interested in this train and I drew up a proposed schedule as a proposed Amtrak train thru to Toronto and I submitted it to NARP,government agencies like the Ontario MTC and politicians like US Representative John LaFalce from the Niagara Frontier-he took some interest in seeing thru rail service to Toronto from WNY. I was told that Niagara Falls did not want to lose any rail service and the routing via CN serving population centers like St.Catharines would be much preferred. I then drew up a proposed schedule using the CN route and submitted it further-rail activists took up this idea and in the Spring of 1981 the Amtrak/Via Rail Canada Maple Leaf was born.

I do wonder what would have become of this service if the re-routing had not occured and if Amtrak and VIA would have kept this route over the more populated CN route under contract with Conrail and the TH&B.

In closing I feel that this was one of the most interesting passenger trains partially operated by Conrail in its history.
Memories and observations from MACTRAXX
EXPRESS TRAIN TO NEW YORK PENN STATION-NO JAMAICA ON THIS TRAIN-PLEASE STAND CLEAR OF THE CLOSING TRAIN DOORS
MACTRAXX
 
Posts: 3432
Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 11:55 am
Location: Islandia,Long Island,NY

Re:

Postby Gerry6309 » Thu Jul 31, 2008 10:01 am

USRailFan wrote:
Otto Vondrak wrote:Let's review: ConRail operated commuter trains in:

- Boston (Everything out of South Station)

Conrail ceased operating the Boston lines in 1982 over a disagreement in funding levels, and Boston & Maine picked up the contract.


So these lines went from Conrail to B&M, and then to MBTA? Or was MBTA formed "from scratch"?


MBTA started contracting with PC & BM to operate commuter trains in the 1960s and owned most of the ROWs and all of the cars by 1982. When negotiations with Conrail broke down, they offerred the work to BM, which was happy to operate the trains, as long as they didn't lose money. When the BM contract was up, Guilford was in power and Amtrak was handed the whole operation.

Many a New Haven Fan was aghast at the invasion of their territory by BM but it kept the trains running. The operation has been unified ever since, though a link between the two terminals seems impossible.
Gerry. STM/BSRA

The next stop is Washington. Change for Forest Hills Trains on the Winter St. Platform, and Everett Trains on the Summer St. Platform. This is an Ashmont train, change for Braintree at Columbia.
User avatar
Gerry6309
 
Posts: 1484
Joined: Wed Jun 13, 2007 10:46 pm
Location: Boston

Re:

Postby Otto Vondrak » Wed Aug 20, 2008 7:51 pm

Jers2709 wrote:Did any of the passenger cars receive Conrail markings?


None that I am aware of.
----------------------------------------------
Moderator: New York State Railfan :: New York Central :: Toy Trains
NYW&B Fan Site :: A Magazine I Read Often :: A Museum I Volunteer At
User avatar
Otto Vondrak
 
Posts: 20141
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 6:47 pm
Location: New York

Re:

Postby Otto Vondrak » Wed Aug 20, 2008 7:54 pm

USRailFan wrote:So these lines went from Conrail to B&M, and then to MBTA? Or was MBTA formed "from scratch"?


The service out of North Station was operated by B&M historically. The service out of South Station was New Haven and New York Central. After Penn Central in 1968, it was all one road. Conrail took over South Station services in 1976, but a disagreement over funding subsidies led to the contract picked up by B&M in 1980, so they were operating both sides of town. Sometime, I forget when, but the contract went from B&M to Amtrak to operate all the trains. The MBTA was created in 1964 to take over all transit services for the city and suburbs, but they decided not to directly operate the trains themselves (unlike NJT and Metro-North). So for awhile, you had trains carrying both B&M and MBTA markings, but this slowly came to an end and only the MBTA branding survives today.

-otto-
----------------------------------------------
Moderator: New York State Railfan :: New York Central :: Toy Trains
NYW&B Fan Site :: A Magazine I Read Often :: A Museum I Volunteer At
User avatar
Otto Vondrak
 
Posts: 20141
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 6:47 pm
Location: New York

Next

Return to Conrail - 1976 to the Present

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests