OK, without Maybrook, could the EL have gotten some of that NE traffic back through interchange with the unified D&H/B&M at Binghamton?
Could the mainlines have been bought at liquidation, and operated by a new non-union corporation? That happened where I use to work. Or bought a non-union shortline and have it first take over the branchlines, and then absorb the whole railroad on paper Guilford-style? Or just plain broke the union Florida East Coast style? Payroll was the biggest drain, and the reason Chessie balked.
You are right about having the right management. A good salesman could have landed more deals like the UPS deal, got more customers to build online (power plants, auto works), and might have gotten a much bigger share of traffic coming from existing plants like the steel mills in Cleveland after one of their sales.
Don't forget just how bad PC was. It lost an entire train for a week. Cars were derailing in yards without being moved. It took years to get it back in any kind of shape. Not that the EL was that great of shape, but it could have been patched up and running strong long before Conrail.
Someone brought up Philadelphia, would that be a better port than Hoboken for stacks? unit grain trains from Ohio and Indiana?
It might be a pipe dream, but you land one of the new Honda plants, or a new power plant taking unit trains of Powder River coal, get a jump on the land bridge container biz, you never know. The KCS is doing fine without that stuff.
Just some thoughts to ponder.
Erie Kent Division MP 215.5
Ohio Valley System virtual railroad http://www.ohiovalleysystem.com