All Aboard America: An American Railroad Consolidation Timeline

Ripley's Reckoning
Welcome to All Aboard America! This is a timeline created by myself. Though contributions from many other users may be accepted.


"I honestly never thought it would pass at all. Since the railroads were used to private ownsership, I thought the only thing they would accept would be the idea of government aid."- William Z. Ripley, first ever issue of Trains magazine


July 6, 1929

After World War 1, Congress had returned the railroads back to the private sector from USRA control during WWI. But it also instructed the Interstate Commerce Commission to create a plan to consolidate the railroads of the United States into a limited number of systems to preserve competition between the railroads.

William Z. Ripley had been the man in charge of revising the plan. But after it was bought out, there was instantly discussion by the railroads, who had themselves given their own opinions on who they would prefer to be merged with.

Everyone had something to complain about. For instance, the Van Swergin brother did not want the Erie yanked from them. Whereas the PRR also protested getting the N&W and Wabash yanked from them.

As a result, Ripley set up negotiations with the railroads to revise the contract, which had taken most of the 1920s. But it was worth it since the rewritten act better suit competition.

Boston & Maine: Bangor & Aroostook; Delaware & Hudson; Maine Central

New York, New Haven & Hartford: Lehigh & Hudson River; New York, Ontario & Western

New York Central: Rutland; Virginian

Pennsylvania: Long Island; Norfolk & Western; 50% of the Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Line; Toledo, Peoria & Western (east of Peoria); 50% of the Winston-Salem Southbound

Baltimore & Ohio: Buffalo & Susquehanna; Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh; Central Railroad of New Jersey; Chicago & Alton; Chicago, Indianapolis & Louisville (Chicago- Indianapolis route); Delaware, Lackawanna & Western; Detroit & Toledo Shore Line; Lehigh & New England; Reading; 50% of the Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Line

Chesapeake & Ohio: Bessemer & Lake Erie; Chicago & Illinois Midland; Chicago, Attica & Southern; Detroit & Mackinac; Hocking Valley; Lehigh Valley; New York, Chicago & St. Louis; Pere Marquette

Wabash & Erie: Akron, Canton & Youngstown; Ann Arbor; Detroit, Toledo & Ironton; Erie; Pittsburgh & Shawmut; Pittsburgh & West Virginia; Pittsburgh, Shawmut & Northern; Wabash; Western Maryland; Wheeling & Lake Erie

Atlantic Coast Line: Atlanta, Birmingham & Coast; Chicago & Eastern Illinois; Clinchfield; Georgia Route; Gulf, Mobile & Northern; Louisville & Nashville; Mississippi Central; New Orleans Great Northern; 50% of the Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac; 50% of the Winston-Salem Southbound; 50% of the Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis (East of Nashville)

Southern: Chicago, Terre Hautte, and Southeastern; Columbus & Greenville; Florida East Coast; Mobile & Ohio; Norfolk Southern; Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis (west of Nashville); Chicago, Indianapolis & Louisville (south of Monon, IN, and Michigan City branch); Tennessee Central (East of Nashville)

Illinois Central: Atlanta & St. Andrews Bay; Central of Georgia; Seaboard Air Line; 50% of the Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac; 50% of the Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis (East of Nashville); Tennessee Central (West of Nashville)

Great Northern: Chicago Central & Pacific; Duluth, South Shore & Atlantic; Great Northern; Minneapolis & St. Louis; Northern Pacific; Spokane, Portland & Seattle

Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific: Butte, Anaconda & Pacific; Duluth & Iron Range; Duluth, Missabe & Northern; Escanaba & Lake Superior; Trackage rights on Spokane, Portland & Seattle to Portland,

Union Pacific: Central Pacific; Chicago & North Western; Kansas City Southern; Lake Superior & Ishpeming; Litchfield & Madison; 50% of the Louisiana & Arkansas; Missouri-Kansas-Texas

Missouri Pacific: Chicago, Burlington & Quincy; Colorado & Southern; Denver & Rio Grande Western; Denver & Salt Lake; Fort Smith & Western; Fort Worth & Denver; Green Bay & Western; Kansas, Oklahoma & Gulf; Oklahoma City-Ada-Atoka; Texas & Pacific; Western Pacific; 50% of the Trinity & Brazo Valley;

Southern Pacific: Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific; St. Louis Southwestern; 50% of the Trinity & Brazo Valley

Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe: Chicago Great Western; Kansas City, Mexico & Orient; 50% of the Louisiana & Arkansas; Meridian & Bigbee; Midland Valley; Minneapolis, Northfield & Southern; Missouri & North Arkansas; St. Louis-San Francisco; Toledo, Peoria & Western (west of Peoria)

Canadian-American International: Duluth, Winnipeg & Pacific; Grand Trunk Western; Minneapolis, St. Paul & Saute Ste. Marie; Wisconsin Central

Ripley also had made a plan to split up various declining interurban lines to the major railroads. As well as the consolidation of Interurban lines in the Chicago area.

He had also developed a plan to split the operations into phases. Including a first phase that linked shortlines. Phase Two would link the secondary lines. Then a third phase which linked up the rail lines.

Now Ripley was prepared to present the revised plan to Congress. He was unsure of how well received it would be. But now was the ultimate triumph, he had been working hard to make sure the railroads could still work and compete functionally.

Much to his disappointment, the act was still vetoed. But the plan's genuine merits would eventually give it another chance...
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