"Natural"/obvious mergers.

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Re: "Natural"/obvious mergers.

Postby Lehighton_Man » Thu Jan 28, 2010 11:03 am

Never really was interested in the Monon in a whole, but since half of the Valley's Century 628s were ex. Monon units, I gotta give props to the Monon for giving us "discount" Centuries. :P
But, I really think that a LV/NKP merger would've been so practical, I mean, it should've happened. It actually almost did! NKP and LV Expressed so much interest in merging back in the 50s, there were small talks about it, not widely known, but it happened. Reading actually got in on the deal too, but it fell apart, and War traffic dried up, leaving the Valley the Shriveled up prune it was. Now, for a "What-If" Moment, if I tally this all up, Reading, Lehigh Valley & Nickel Plate Road... We have Philedalphia, Reading, New York City, Sayre, Buffalo, Cleveland, Toledo, & Chicago, under one name. What that name would be, is only for ones amusings. :) But, the financial aspect of that would be enormus. Valley and Reading could've lessened their dependence on coal traffic, and switched to the new TOFC service, running from Chicago & New York, while Reading got things from DC, and points south. ;)

(see what happens when you have too much time on your hands? :D)
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Postby 2nd trick op » Thu Jan 28, 2010 4:03 pm

Both LV and DL&W "courted" Nickel Plate back in the 1950's, and I believe the Lackawanna was the more agressive of the two. Both were rebuffed due to their shaky finances; I believe DL&W would have been the less attractive, due to the steep grades on both sides of Scranton and the albatross of its New Jersey commuter obligations. But at any rate, the "bridesmaid" might have sought relief via a parnership wih Wabash. Since both LV and WAB had ties to the PRR at one time, that would have fit the Pennsy's sphere of influence nicely.
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Re: "Natural"/obvious mergers.

Postby Lehighton_Man » Wed Feb 10, 2010 10:55 am

In my general opinion, PRR did more harm than help in that era. Take the Reading for example. They wanted to remain independent, and resisted the PRRs moves for take-over, so what did the PRR do? Built it's own route paralleling the Reading in many locations, as an act to dry up the Reading's traffic. PRR was very similar to John Rockefellar and his Monoplies. PRR tried, but failed so hard at being a monoply. Yeah, they have their unique steam locomotives, and famous landmarks like Horseshoe, Altoona, and the Rockville Bridge, among many more, but visual entertainment doesn't make up for the brutality that management tried to do. Had PRR just kept to themselves reasonably, instead of trying to be the biggest in the north east, then I think 1976 would have looked a lot different. Not to bash on PRR fans, but I have my own thoughts to blame a lot for 1976 on PRR and it's aggressive nature to devour anything in it's path. It can almost be compared metaphorically to Hitler and his domination for Europe during WWII.

Thus, why I dislike the PRR.
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Re: "Natural"/obvious mergers.

Postby SemperFidelis » Tue Aug 17, 2010 8:56 pm

During the heyday of anthracite coal as fuel and also during its decades-long downward trend in popularity, I think that some of the "anthracite roads" would have benefitted from a merger.

DL&W and CRRNJ would have given either railroad a much larger group of mines from which to originate traffic. DL&W had the better route to the coal fields in and around the greater Scranton/Wilkes Barre area, but CRRNJ had much better access to the manufacturing centers in the Lehigh Valley area. An early Aldene Plan could have consolidated much of the passenger traffic to Hoboken or perhaps somehow to Communipaw/Jersey City. Or maybe passenger traffic could have all gone to Hoboken while freight traffic could have been centralized at Jersey City. CRRNJ's lines to southern New Jersey, while never major generators of traffic, might have done better under a merged system by allowing sand for concrete to be shipped (originating and terminating on the same railroad) to various on line points around what were then very fast growing suburbs and cities. Cement traffic may well have offered similar revenue gains. DL&W would also have gained access to the Raritan River area and a good route to the Philadelphia market over the joint "Royal Blue" route. An indirect route to the Philadelphia market would have been available through the Southern Division as well.

Pretty much any of the coal field roads of the northeast were good candidates for one another, I'd imagine.
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Re: "Natural"/obvious mergers.

Postby KillerB » Sun Jan 23, 2011 10:49 pm

Lehighton_Man wrote:In my general opinion, PRR did more harm than help in that era. Take the Reading for example. They wanted to remain independent, and resisted the PRRs moves for take-over, so what did the PRR do? Built it's own route paralleling the Reading in many locations, as an act to dry up the Reading's traffic. PRR was very similar to John Rockefellar and his Monoplies. PRR tried, but failed so hard at being a monoply. Yeah, they have their unique steam locomotives, and famous landmarks like Horseshoe, Altoona, and the Rockville Bridge, among many more, but visual entertainment doesn't make up for the brutality that management tried to do. Had PRR just kept to themselves reasonably, instead of trying to be the biggest in the north east, then I think 1976 would have looked a lot different. Not to bash on PRR fans, but I have my own thoughts to blame a lot for 1976 on PRR and it's aggressive nature to devour anything in it's path. It can almost be compared metaphorically to Hitler and his domination for Europe during WWII.

Thus, why I dislike the PRR.


The PRR's management did what any railroad's management would have done, given their resources. Railroads didn't exist in some happy world where everyone "just had to get along," they were cutthroat competitors, especially in the era before regulation. The PRR built the Schuylkill Branch in response to the P&R entering the Philadelphia-New York market.

As for later on, had it not been for the PRR, the LV would have been out of business long before the advent of Conrail.

Ultimately, the biggest mistake the Pennsy's management ever made was going ahead with the NYC merger after the ICC decreed that they'd have to take the New Haven and divest themselves of the N&W.
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Re: "Natural"/obvious mergers.

Postby wigwagfan » Mon Apr 04, 2011 1:24 am

I would think that UP+SP certainly qualifies - the Union Pacific and Central Pacific (a Southern Pacific predecessor) of course built the transcontinental railroad together, and it was Edward Herriman's intent in the early 1900s to merge the two carriers and during that timeframe the two railroads shared many common standards and operated together. The overland route beginning in the San Francisco Bay Area east to Omaha required the partnership of both railroads and continued up until the Union Pacific purchased the Western Pacific in 1983 (thus giving UP its own route west from Salt Lake City, bypassing the Southern Pacific - this is what prompted the SP + DRG&W merger in the 1988.)

Whereas...Southern Pacific + Santa Fe were the merger of two long entrenched competitors who were on the same turf, or BN + SF which operated in two completely different territories - having only overlap between Kansas City and Chicago, and both railroads had operations in Oklahoma that included north-south routes in competition with each other - but that's it.
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Re: "Natural"/obvious mergers.

Postby mtuandrew » Tue Apr 05, 2011 1:25 am

wigwagfan wrote:I would think that UP+SP certainly qualifies - the Union Pacific and Central Pacific (a Southern Pacific predecessor) of course built the transcontinental railroad together, and it was Edward Herriman's intent in the early 1900s to merge the two carriers and during that timeframe the two railroads shared many common standards and operated together. The overland route beginning in the San Francisco Bay Area east to Omaha required the partnership of both railroads and continued up until the Union Pacific purchased the Western Pacific in 1983 (thus giving UP its own route west from Salt Lake City, bypassing the Southern Pacific - this is what prompted the SP + DRG&W merger in the 1988.)

Whereas...Southern Pacific + Santa Fe were the merger of two long entrenched competitors who were on the same turf, or BN + SF which operated in two completely different territories - having only overlap between Kansas City and Chicago, and both railroads had operations in Oklahoma that included north-south routes in competition with each other - but that's it.

Yup, UP+SP was obvious, and the Rock Island and the Milwaukee would have been natural partners but for finances, but (UP+WP+MP) + (SP+DRGW) was not such an obvious, natural merger. I've wondered what the western rail map would have looked like, had the Rock and Milwaukee consummated a merger and prospered (with or without the C&NW), and also if the MP had continued its slide into bankruptcy a la Rock and gotten divvied up between the major lines (with most of the main lines going to ATSF or BN.)

On that note, I think the BN+SF merger really needed that center corridor from Denver to San Francisco Bay to make it a natural three-way merger. It's fair to say that the DRGW and WP belonged together (and would have remained together, except for a pesky depression.) The Moffat Tunnel route and the Tennessee Pass route would have provided very strong connections from both Burlington Northern and the Santa Fe. And in California, the WP line from Bieber to Stockton was the missing link in a BN- or ATSF-controlled line from San Diego to Vancouver.

As for the competing Oklahoma and Texas operations of BN and ATSF pre-merger, that was because BN had already picked up a "natural merger" partner of the ATSF - the SLSF. Take a look at the old Frisco route structure, and you'll see that it plugs neatly into the Santa Fe at Avard, OK, at Kansas City, at Paris, TX, and at Fort Worth. The Frisco was originally linked by stock to the Santa Fe, but even after that link was broken, much of the Frisco route structure still catered to the ATSF.
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Re: "Natural"/obvious mergers.

Postby USRailFan » Tue Apr 05, 2011 11:56 pm

Wasn't Illinois Central under Harriman as well? SP+UP+IC, now that'd have been a heck of a system there...
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Re: "Natural"/obvious mergers.

Postby Minneapolitan » Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:20 pm

I've been a strong believer that Erie and Nickel Plate should have merged.

Each of these railroads had great systems, but they were both deeply flawed. If they had merged, these flaws would have been eliminated. Let's take a look...

The problem with the Erie is that it had a poor presence in the highly industrialized and populated Lower Midwest. While the route from New York City to Chicago was competitive, there was nothing in between. The largest city on this route was Akron! Sure, the Erie served the large cities of Buffalo and Cleveland (as well as Cincinnati and Indianapolis through B&O trackage rights, and it's worth noting the good connection between Buffalo and Cincinnati), but only if the traffic was New York bound. Any traffic between Chicago and Cleveland/Buffalo/Cincinnati had to go far out of the way and then backtrack some. As the Erie went west across the map, it seemed to swerve, wobble, and miss every major city - and all the traffic between them. The Erie missed Columbus, Toledo, Fort Wayne, and Erie, PA. Other railroads made huge profits by connecting this region together. The Erie had Akron...

The problem with the Nickel Plate is that it didn't connect to Atlantic tidewater. No doubt, the Nickel Plate was a beautifully designed railroad system, connecting every corner of the Lower Midwest with fast, smooth, straight routes with minimal trackage. But without a connection to the East, the Nickel Plate was doomed to be gobbled up. Sure, the Nickel Plate had the Alphabet Route, but does anyone really think that would have survived long with so many players in that mix, each with its own issues and complex corporate ties?

But put the Erie and the Nickel Plate together, and we've got a powerhouse railroad! The Erie would have its desperately needed presence in the Lower Midwest, and the Nickel Plate would have its connection to the Atlantic. As we all know, a primary goal in railway mergers of this time was to eliminate parallel routes to save money. This also could have been accomplished with an Erie-NKP merger. In particular, the Erie could have shed everything west of Lima, Ohio, and NYC/Chicago traffic transferred to the NKP at Dunkirk, New York for a smooth shuttle through Cleveland along Lake Erie. Also, this system could have shed its B&O trackage rights between Indianapolis and Hamilton, Ohio. All Indianapolis freight could have been sent down the Nickel Plate. All freight between New York and St. Louis could have traveled Erie all the way to Lima, and then transferred to Nick Plate.

Look at it. Isn't it beautiful?
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Nickel Plate - Erie Merger Map 2.JPG
Nickel Plate - Erie Merger Map 2.JPG (47.4 KiB) Viewed 5324 times
Nickel Plate Road should have merged with ERIE.

Duh.
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Re: "Natural"/obvious mergers.

Postby Minneapolitan » Wed Mar 19, 2014 2:53 pm

Why didn't the L&NE and the Susquehanna merge?

With a deepwater port in New York harbor, the cement plants (and earlier, the anthracite collieries) served by L&NE could ship their product worldwide. Additionally, northeastern Jersey could have had a simpler freight connection to the Maybrook Gateway and New England. Over eighteen miles of the L&NE main was trackage rights over a NYS&W track that essentially went nowhere on its own. Just consolidate! I've never understood how the original NYS&W ever survived. Their mainline was from the Hudson shore in Jersey to Middletown, NY. That's it. And it was basically paralleled by both the Erie and the O&W.

Seems like a no-brainer to me.
Nickel Plate Road should have merged with ERIE.

Duh.
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