It is a bit subjective and confusing but basically it came pretty close. It is reported that it was NKP President John Davin that approached DL&W President William White sometime in the late 1940’s. NKP and DL&W were natural partners as DL&W needed a western extension and NKP needed an eastern outlet.
By the late 40’s or early 50s DL&W had purchased a substantial block of NKP stock. Of course ICC approval was needed among other regulatory issues and of course internal politics. Davin, a much unremarked manager was at the helm of NKP during it’s best years but died of cancer on January 17, 1949. Some NKP BOD and major shareholders did not want DL&W acquisition of their road and it is said they actively recruited Lynne L. White (no relation to William) from C&NW to kill the prospect. It is also recorded that Bill White met with the NKP BOD and was perhaps a little arrogant or pushy or in some way alienating to them and the die was cast for NKP to resist. It seems a bit odd if that happened as White did not make too many of those kinds of mistakes. White soon moved on to the NYC and Perry Shoemaker came in as President of the DL&W. Shoemaker tried, maybe half heartedly to woo NKP to no avail and I think the ICC made DL&W put the NKP shares in trust.
About 1958 Shoemaker sold off the substantial NKP holdings to help their terrible cash flow position, especially after Hurricane Diane and mounting commuter losses. White, who was by that time President of the D&H chastised him for that, or so it has been reported.
Shoemaker then tried the three-way with DL&W – D&H-ERIE that D&H backed off from and which resulted in Erie Lackawanna. White later became President of the EL (1963-1967) and Shoemaker went to CNJ.
Lynne L. White died in 1964 before the N&W takeover, by lease of Wabash and purchase of Nickel Plate.
In my mind it was a merger DL&W/ NKP that should have happened, it was possible but likely the NKP shareholders made out better with N&W in the long run.