Noel Weaver wrote:Conrail proved that money could be made running railroads in the northeast, they fixed up the track, tore up what was not needed, bought new locomotives and instiled pride in the troops and MADE MONEY.
Actually, Conrail proved that you could NOT make money running a railroad in the northeast, given the operating environment of the PC,
because they FAILED to make a nickel until AFTER Staggers was passed (after which Conrail's losses ended almost immediately). Until the shackles came off, all the billions poured into fixing track, rebuilding terminals and buying new locomotives didn't yield a penny of profit, and in fact Conrail kept coming back to Washington for more taxpayer money to cover operating losses.
I know you feel strongly about the lack of investment in infrastructure in those days, but you have to understand that railroads in the northeast in those days weren't able to earn their cost of capital
given their operating circumstances, much less provide a return for their stockholders on top of that. That is the REASON those railroads (among others) were pursuing the "diversified holdings" (i.e., non-railroad businesses and investments) - because THOSE pursuits had a chance of earning some profits, something that railroads in the northeast clearly could not by that point. If there was an opportunity to make huge sums of money by running the railroad, the money would have been
sunk into the railroad. The "conglomerate" mentality grew from the lack of income from railroad operations, it was not the cause of
it. If you think the railroads would have the resources to sink the billions invested in railroad infrastructure over the last 2-3 decades with rigid ICC regulation, 5-man crews, 100-mile "days," and no ability to stop running money losing branch lines, passenger trains and commuter trains, you're kidding yourself. The revival of the railroad industry came ONLY after these NECESSARY reforms. The northeast railroad operating environment in those days was untenable, and remained so until regulatory relief (and the unloading of commuter and other money losing passenger operations, and the ending of labor protection payments, etc.) occurred. Without those changes, Conrail would remain an independent taxpayer sinkhole (since under the operating circumstances pre-Staggers the red ink would have never ended, and no suitors would have been lining up to pay billions for the privilege of taking on those losses).
As for the PC logo, as a kid I actually didn't recognize what it was - it always just looked to me as a sort of abstract, modern "corporate" logo. Once I realized what it was (probably after seeing one with the red "C" lol), I always thought it quite clever and quite attractive. It's too bad it ended up being a symbol of the ultimate failure in the RR industry.
GE, not EMD, makes the best locomotives now; has for over 30 years. Get over it.