Chessie System and EL/RDG

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Chessie System and EL/RDG

Postby CPF363 » Tue Feb 28, 2012 8:31 pm

What would have happened if Chessie System had purchased the eastern end of the EL and owned the Reading in 1976? What would the Northeastern rail system look like? Would New York be served by Conrail and Chessie System from 1976 to the 1990s? What would have happened to the D&H; would Chessie gone out and purchased that line from N&W? During the Reagan years, would NS had gone out and successfully purchased all of Conrail or would Conrail had survived until the ultimate NS/CSX breakup?
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Re: Chessie System and EL/RDG

Postby Noel Weaver » Thu Mar 01, 2012 2:47 am

The Reading was not offered to the Chessie System, portions of it were very vital to the plans of Conrail and in fact became key portions of their main lines through Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Not too much of the EL was really important to Conrail, they were sort of stuck with it when Chessie backed out, I have my doubts if the Chessie was ever really sincere about the EL in the first place.
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Re: Chessie System and EL/RDG

Postby lvrr325 » Tue Apr 10, 2012 8:20 am

Chessie dumped it's control of the Reading (around 40% IIRC) well before Conrail came, in 1967 or so.

Chessie could not come to agreement with the EL unions to make that takeover work, to some extent I suspect it was a combination of unions unwilling to give in and Chessie unwilling to offer enough to them. Of course, the result was a lot of those jobs moved, or lost - no one's running any through frieghts over the DL&W cutoff these days - but no one was thinking of that.
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Re: Chessie System and EL/RDG

Postby Engineer Spike » Wed Sep 11, 2013 11:23 am

I don't blame the unions for not taking the Chessie CBS. The cost of living is still much higher in the northeast. I was at BLE training. One of the engineers worded for NS in TN. He was showing pictures of his new house. The price he said that he paid was $180K. In NY State, the house would be worth about $300-400K. The $180K is about what my small 1920s bungalow is worth in New York State.

I think that the DL&W would have been gone even if Chessie had taken over EL. East of Dover, NJ, the overhead might not have cleared modern high cubes and stacks. The hills ares bad too. The old Erie is still running, and would have been a better alternative.
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Re: Chessie System and EL/RDG

Postby v8interceptor » Fri Nov 01, 2013 11:51 am

The only proposal I'm aware of that would have combined EL and Reading outside of CR was the final configuration of the abortive Mid Atlantic Rail Corporation which would have included basically all of Conrail other than the Penn Central.
IIRC, the damage from Hurricane Agnes was the final nail in that coffin...
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Re: Chessie System and EL/RDG

Postby scottychaos » Fri Nov 01, 2013 12:57 pm

Engineer Spike wrote:I don't blame the unions for not taking the Chessie CBS. The cost of living is still much higher in the northeast. I was at BLE training. One of the engineers worded for NS in TN. He was showing pictures of his new house. The price he said that he paid was $180K. In NY State, the house would be worth about $300-400K. The $180K is about what my small 1920s bungalow is worth in New York State.



You need to clarify what part of NY state you are referring to! ;)
the state is not at all equal across the board..
New York City region is a "different world" compared to the rest of the state..

Houses in upstate NY are probably comparable to Tennessee..
But a 150k house in Rochester or Buffalo is a 500k house in Nassau...
same state, different worlds..

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Re: Chessie System and EL/RDG

Postby sd80mac » Thu Nov 21, 2013 8:49 am

yeah but $200k 2000 sq ft house in Avon, ny would cost only $125 k and bit bigger house in Indiana near Indy... however $6,000 property tax for that house in Avon vs $1200 property tax in Indiana... general speaking of year 2005... I cant say what it cost in indiana right now...
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Re: Chessie System and EL/RDG

Postby Engineer Spike » Sat Nov 30, 2013 1:57 pm

I was reading The Men Who Loved Trains, and I read about the MARC-EL. Later on, EL got wiped out by the storm, and had to file bankruptsy. This was when the controlled transfer idea came in.N&W wanted no part of it, as Fishwick called everything east of Buffalo and Pittsburgh a sinkhole.

I realize that the property values vary in NYS. Many EL employees did live in the NYC metro area. I live in Saratoga Springs, which is not as costly as the NYC area, but is still pricy. 20 miles away, the Mohawk Valley is much cheaper, but my point is that things are generally more expensive than most of the south.

One of my conductors had gone to college in the south. One day we had some NS power, which have more spartan cab appointments than ours. He pointed out the militant attitude of NS management, and said, "If you want to work here, and buy your food down at the the Piggly Wiggly, you'll do just exactly what we say. If not you can got back to dirt farming."

I don't think that all of the EL would have survived even if MARC-EL or C&O had bought it. There were simply too many lines. The unions wanted the best contract for the members. That means a wage which would be livable in the northeast.
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Re: Chessie System and EL/RDG

Postby CPF363 » Mon Dec 02, 2013 8:58 am

It is frustrating that the Chessie System could not close on the deal to purchase all of the EL east of Sterling, OH, all of the Reading Railroad and the CNJ or LV east of Allentown. In addition, USRA could have added the the Big Four line through Indianapolis to St. Louis and the associated Big Four routes through Columbus to the system. This would have allowed for the existing Chessie System to connect to the new railroad in multiple locations such as Hagerstown, Phalidelphia, Sterling, Youngstown and Columbus. The old EL main line west of Marion would have been closed with Chicago bound traffic shifted to the former B&O. Chessie System may have found some use for the yard in Marion being at the junction point of its north-south former C&O line to Toledo and the Big Four line. In the end, this option would have been considerably more favorable for the shippers than the best of the Penn Central in a all Conrail railroad in the Mid West and Northeast with a degraded eastern end of the EL. N&W might have held on to the D&H with a haulage agreement to bridge its cars between the NKP in Buffalo and Binghamton, or sold out to Chessie.
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Re: Chessie System and EL/RDG

Postby Chessie77 » Wed Apr 06, 2016 9:40 pm

As far as what lines the Chessie System would have taken over, they were the EL east of Sterling OH, all of the RDG and the PRR Hagerstown branch. They would also have gotten about 450+ locomotives. There was a list of the locomotives in Xtra2200 South published in early 1976 that listed all the locomotives Chessie would have got from EL and RDG. I hope that this helps.
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Re: Chessie System and EL/RDG

Postby lvrr325 » Wed Jun 29, 2016 9:36 am

let's see, which is better, a pay reduction, or no job at all..... but I digress.


Chances are if it happened this way, NS would have taken over Conrail entirely at some point. The D&H might not have gone bankrupt, but you have to wonder if the current situation would be reversed and Chessie/CSX would buy it out rather than Gulford or CP.
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Re: Chessie System and EL/RDG

Postby Engineer Spike » Sat Sep 24, 2016 4:32 am

If Conrail had the River Line, MARC-EL, or Chessie would have needed an north-south line too. This could connect the Philly, and Jersey traffic, as well as the traffic from the south, to the EL. They might have also wanted to compete with Conrail for New England traffic, as well as Montreal traffic, since Conrail had the NYC route. In New England, I'm sure the B&M would have been a friendly connection.
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