I wasn't so sure if the previous threads would be necromacy. So I decided to start this new one...

If you don't know me very well, one of the subjects I like to post alot about on this site is railways. Like the last few threads, the basic premise of this idea is to create your own alternative railway(road) using the following format.




MOTTO (optional):


Go wild, any ideas are welcome.
Are these railways we completely make up? Or real ones that had a chance of happening but never came about?

Make up one of you like, just be realistic about if could even be built. Things like cost an political issues will be considered non-issues.

That means a Cape Town- Singapore network would pass, but not a subway from Los Angeles to Honolulu.
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NAME OF COMPANY: The Railway of the African Commonwealth; The Railway of British Africa (1927-1961)

4 ft 8.5 in


The borderline wet dream of Victorian Pioneer Cecil Rhodes, this line began work in the 1870s.

In the meantime, the Crown even consolidated many of its African territories into larger dominions...
  • South Africa: Benuchaland; Nyasaland; The Rhodesias; Lesotho; Swaziland; Namibia (after WW1)
  • British East Africa: Kenya; Uganda; Tanzania (after WW1)
  • Egypt: Sudan
But a variety of factors led to it often being halted in its tracks. For one thing, most of these new territories had different track gauges, with only Anglo-Egyptian Sudan and the colonies in the south of the continent had the same gauge of 4ft 8.5in "Standard Gauge." (as opposed to the 3ft 6in "Cape Gauge" of OTL). Not helping was that the route would require the use of territory that belonged to either Belgium and Germany, though the latter was nullified after WW1 when Germany lost all its colonies except Togo.

But when the Railway of British Africa was finally completed in 1927, it was a marvel to behold. A line stretching over an international Cape Town- Bloemfontein- Johannesburg/Pretoria- Bulawayo- Livingstone- Lusaka- Dodoma- Nairobi- Kampala- Khartoum- Cairo route. With plenty of connections to other African Cities on on the rails of South Africa, which at that point included all the other colonies south of Nyasaland.

In addition, most of the pre-existing railroad networks were revised to become one with the new line. For example, the East African Railways were revised to link the network with Mombasa, Dar Es Salam, and other cities in British East Africa. Which further allowed control over the territory.

Additionally, the railroad expanded to serve other corridors like Gaborone- Windhoek, or collaboration with the railroads in The Belgian Congo and Portuguese Africa to expand southern Africa’s rail service. But most iconically was the South African Coast Line, which expanded all the way from the west to east coasts on a Walvis Bay- Cape Town- Port Elizabeth- Durban- Maputo route, which was significantly one of the first South African lines to be built.

Big railroads need big power, so the main back bone of power in the days of steam were numerous Beyer-Garratts of all sizes. Though conventional steam locomotives, mainly in the form of 4-8-2s, also have served the line. Many of these engines are Standard gauge version of OTL's South African Railways designs, with the occasional East African Railways designs like the Class 11 2-6-2 and class 13 4-8-4 tank engines for shunting. In addition, several USATC and UK War Department steamers from both World Wars could be seen in numerous parts of the network until a long while after most of the network had dieselized.

This railroad also proved pivotal to the United Kingdom maintaining its empire for longer than OTL after the Second World War. As the presence of a united rail route enabled them to move troops and supplies needed to suppress rebellions in the colonies with more ease. Thus allowing Britain to maintain its status as a relative superpower in the Cold War alongside the USA at least into the 1970s. From then on, the railroad continued to be a major player in the insurance of stability in the British Commonwealth in Africa.

However, the network's history was far from without dysfunction. British East Africa began being dismantled into separate nations when Uganda was formed in 1966. Followed by Kenya and Tanzania being created in 1967 and 1969 respectively. When Idi Amin took power in Uganda then went to war with Tanzania, many major parts of the network in East Africa were destroyed, along with a good deal of rolling stock. Likewise, South Africa and the Rhodesias had large parts of their sections destroyed in the Bush Wars between in the late 70s, as did Angola, due to the war spilling into there to prevent Communist insurgencies in South Africa. Despite any and all destruction it suffers, the network has always been rebuilt due to its importance in Africa.

During the days of the crackdown on Apartheid, South Africa's parts of the system largely maintained steam due to their lack of oil. Whereas most of the rest of the network had been dieselized except for heavier freights which were still hauled by the Garratts. Steam's survival in South Africa did continue on even after Apartheid's fall however, as many engines still serve industrial complexes or are even preserved for use on mainline excursions. Whereas in other nations who used the network also continue to own some steam engines as back up when the diesels somehow become too expensive to run, which has actually happened from time to time.
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Jumping on the bandwagon here.... :)

NAME OF COMPANY: Canadian National Railways

GAUGE: standard gauge (4' 8.5")


MOTTO (optional): Serves All Canada (1924-1964), Advancement Through Transportation (1964-1993), How Tomorrow Moves (1993-present)

HISTORY/ DESCRIPTION: Born from the demands of Canada's rapid economic and social growth in the 20th Century, Canadian National Railways came about as a result of the years of mismanagement of the Canadian Government Railways systems (primarily the Intercolonial Railway of Canada, Prince Edward Island Railway, National Transcontinental Railway and the Hudson Bay Railway) and the financial weakness of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, which led to fears about the problems about the loss of vital transportation links, particularly along the routes of the Intercolonial and National Transcontinental. Knowing this and knowing the financial problems that afflicted the Canadian Northern Railway, Canadian National Railways was developed to make sure all of the vital routes kept operating. The company's high visibility during World War I (particularly the vast amounts of people and goods hauled to the vital port of Halifax during war and its efforts in rebuilding the city after the devastating explosion in December 1917) led to the firm having a positive profile.

After the Canadian Northern and Grand Trunk railroads went bankrupt in 1919, both were almost immediately integrated into Canadian National - despite this, stockholders of the Grand Trunk fought the matter in Canadian courts for over two years before coming to an agreement with Ottawa in 1922 that paved the way for the Grand Trunk to be integrated into Canadian National in 1922. CNR's initially very twisted system began to be organized for civilian purposes after the war, particularly after Sir Henry Thornton became the President of Canadian National in 1922.

Sir Henry Thornton, who would head the CNR until his death in 1948, would shape everything about the company, most of all its reputation for engineering excellence and, in his words, "Doing the job right the first time." CNR quickly evolved its disparate systems into one cohesive whole and made good on massive promises. CN invested heavily in the communities it served and advanced the interests of thousands of customers large and small, introduced more passenger-friendly travel and CN's 'Great Canadian Fleet' of passenger trains - including the Super Continental, Dominion, Challenger, Royal Pacific, Wild Rose, Ocean, Trillium Special, Cavalier, Ambassador and Northlander - and made sure all of them were equipped to receive transmissions from CN's transcontinental radio network, which became the genesis of the global Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. CNR's hotel chain fought a spirited competition with Canadian Pacific Hotels over who could build and operate the most luxurious hotels, creating several of Canada's incredible hotels, most famously the Chateau Laurier in Ottawa, the Jasper Park Lodge in the British Columbia Rockies and the Royal Vancouver Hotel in Vancouver. The company was a pioneer in the 1920s of electrification in the Rocky Mountains and the first (and only, as it turned out) user of Garratt-type locomotives in North America, and worked with the Pennsylvania Railroad in the United States to develop its cab signal system (a system used to this day), while in the 1930s introducing the use of welded rail and reinforced-concrete crossties, as well as integrating the Newfoundland Railway into the CN system after Newfoundland's entry into Confederation. CN's relationship with its labour unions was excellent and was largely copied by its rival, Canadian Pacific - indeed CPR, which had been the first to cross Canada by rail (in 1885) also operated similar to CN in many regards.

Sir Thornton made a point of training a number of people to follow in his footsteps, and his successor was one of these, Sir Anthony McConnville. McConnville, who had been one of the men responsible for Canada's military logistics during World War II, ran CN from his mentor's passing until he retired in 1967, completing the dieselization of the railroad in 1959 and advancing its many holdings. Diesel locomotives were followed by 'railboxes' for less-than-carload shipping, the development of trailer-on-flat-car and container operations, bulk trains and newer types of railroad freight cars. The company abandoned its airline subsidiaries in 1962 (creating Air Canada) and while company had abandoned coastal ship operations, its newer ships operated for global operations, including building four VLCC-class oil tankers in the late 1960s, the largest ships then ever built in Canada. Branch lines began to be trimmed back in favor of trucking operations in the 1960s, but CN expanded repeatedly into the United States, expanding its American operations as well as continuing its proud support for Canadian industrial interests. CN and CP merged their communications subsidiaries in 1966, moving from its telegraph and telex primary businesses into telephone service in the 1970s.

CN's expansion into the United States became a bigger deal in 1965 when the company purchased the dying Chicago Great Western railroad, making CN able to serve Chicago, Omaha and Kansas City for the first time, using Milwaukee Road trackage rights between Superior, WI and Minneapolis, MN - a route not ideal, but within a year and a half this didn't matter as CN, wanting to show what its operations were like to its new markets, began its 'American Highway' projects. The rebuilding of the Duluth, Winnipeg and Pacific, the 'Minnesota Gateway' main line and the rebuilding of the CGW became a big job even for CN's engineers, but it was completed to considerable fanfare, opening across the route in 1970 and making CPR, which had been in control of the Soo Line since the 19th century, very nervous indeed.

The situation got more notable in 1971 when the company purchased the Monon and Lehigh Valley railroads in the United States, giving the company a gateway to southern US markets and allowing the company to begin service to New York and Boston for the first time, kicking off a contest between CN and CP over American operations, which got turned up to titanic proportions in the mid-1970s. CNR ultimately bought over a thousand miles of ex-Pennsylvania Railroad, Reading Lines, Lehigh and New England and New Haven railroad routes and received trackage rights on the Northeast Corridor between Philadelphia and Richmond, Virginia as part of the formation of Conrail, adding another gateway. 1972 saw the Detroit, Toledo and Ironton became part of the CN system and grow the railroad's auto industry business (a very important one in Ontario and Quebec) and CPR bought out the failing Delaware and Hudson to get its own New York gateway, and both firms got into some huge situations - even so far as there to be a rumour that CN was going to make an attempt at buying the giant Burlington Northern, which had just come into existence in 1970. (This, obviously, wasn't true, but CN and BN were working on agreements at the time, which was likely the source of the rumours.) By this time, Ottawa, riding a wave of economic nationalism at the time, wasn't real pleased with CN's American focusing, but got CN and CP to agree in 1977 on the proposal to split up the dying Milwaukee Road, giving CN the Milwaukee's transcontinental line and many of its operations in Wisconsin and Michigan and giving CP lines in Iowa, South Dakota and southern Minnesota, giving CN a southern gateway to Vancouver (they had been struggling for this since the Grand Trunk Pacific days) and giving CPR a powerful market share in upper Midwest and a better Chicago gateway. The government hoped that would be that.

It wasn't.

CPR, whose involvement in Burlington Northern dated to when James J. Hill still ran them, was quickly able to work with BN, thus fixing CPR's problem of gateways on the West Coast of North America, but CN pulled a fast one on the CPR by giving Southern Pacific trackage rights through Seattle to Vancouver, which resulted in SP much more readily handling CN interchange traffic and, in a move that infuriated CPR, CN bought SP's Siskiyou Line from Portland, Oregon, and as part of the deal acquired trackage rights on SP to Oakland, California, allowing the company to access markets in California for the first time. This move initially angered Ottawa, but that anger was tempered when CN made it clear that the reasoning was to allow fruit exports to Asia through Vancouver and that the density of lumber traffic from British Columbia to California was so heavy that both lines were needed. CN proved right on this front - the California Main Line proved a gold mine for both railroads.

The 1980s saw CN management turn back towards Canada. The rebuilding of the Newfoundland Railway, completed in 1981, coincided with the arrival of three new diesel-powered ferries to the mainland - CN management was aiming to allow greater economic development in Newfoundland, and the new railroad allowed this, a situation made more important when oil exploration began in earnest off Newfoundland in the early 1980s and Canadian industrial interests developed several mines on the Island. CN and the governments of New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island completed the construction of the Confederation Bridge between the two provinces in 1985, and the completion of the St. Lawrence River High-Speed Route in 1984 took passenger trains off of CN's freight lines in favor of the new lines. A new bridge between the ex-LV/NYO&W route at Cape Vincent, New York, and Kingston, Ontario, giving a direct Ottawa/Montreal-New York route, opened in 1986, and the building of the branch line from Quebec City to Port Cartier, a job started in the 1960s, was completed in 1987. CN's huge Transcona and Beausejour shops spent much of the decade rebuilding hundreds of examples of aging EMD GP9 and Alco-MLW RS11 locomotives that the company still needed and larger and heavier trains became the norm. After the infamous Hinton crash in February 1986, found to be the result of an incapacitated crew related to CN's employee practices, the company dramatically overhauled its scheduling system and set up dozens of bunkhouses and rest areas to improve both employee safety and morale. After another collision at Dundas, Ontario in April 1989 (made rather worse by a tank car being broken open and its contents spilling into Lake Ontario) is followed by Southern Pacific's infamous San Bernardino train crash in California, with both serious accidents found to the be result of runaways caused by incorrect weight readings on freight cars, CN announces the addition to trains of a fourth crew member, a loadmaster, on long-haul trains carrying hazardous materials or above a specified weight. The crew improvements and the addition of new cabooses with air compressors to allow better brake response result in a steady improvement in CN's safety record, and the company's profits returned to the government hit their highest number ever in 1992, when CN earns Ottawa $656 million in profits.

The arrivals of Paul Tellier and Michael Sabia at CN in 1992 proved rocky. Tellier and Sabia had gone to CN with the intent on preparing it for privatization, but this didn't prove to be easy. CPR and CN began talks in 1994 about merging the two railroads' operations in Eastern Canada, and Burlington Northern offered to buy large chunks of CN's network in Western Canada in April 1995. Both offers were rejected, but the Tellier era at CN wasn't going well. Tellier's attempts to do away with the loadmaster positions and conductors on trains without hazardous materials drew monstrous howls of protest from railroad unions, and the sacking of thousands of management staff made matters worse. The company's attempt to close to the Beausejour shops in Moncton and abandon the Prince Edward Island Railway both drew protests as well, and the union problems resulted in the first strikes by the railway's workers in nearly 50 years in June 1996. Despite all of the federal government proposed to privatize the railway in January 1997, but that ended quickly as Canada's business communities, well aware of CN's decades of support for them, returned the favor. The government pulled the legislation in May, and after an arbitrator settled disagreements related to the strike the year before in July, Tellier resigned from CN on July 27, 1997, and was replaced on August 1 by Alexandra Miller, who had been a director of AMT in Montreal before then and who many considered not up to the job.

They would prove to be more than a little mistaken. Miller convinced Sabia to remain on board as CFO and brought in 32-year-old wunderkid Jason Pateros on the advice of SP boss Robert Krebs. The Miller-Sabia-Pateros trio proved to be as competent as anybody before them, and while Miller handled strategic operations and Sabia finances Pateros restored CN's reputation for customer service and over the years to come restored CN's relationship with its workforce. The company bought from Conrail and New York Central a line between Geneva, New York and Philadelphia built the enormous Sir Henry Thornton bridge over the Niagara River to hook Buffalo to Fort Erie, Ontario, removing a system bottleneck, and completed bypass routes for Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Thunder Bay and Edmonton, while extending the CNR's Rocky Mountain's electrification all the way from Edmonton to Vancouver. Ex-New York Central routes from Columbus, Ohio to Charleston, West Virginia (bought after Petro-Canada began operations at its Detroit synthetic fuel plant in 2000) and from Lansing to Mackinaw City, Michigan (to fill in a hole in the CN network) aided operations, while the introduction of the 'Racetrack' trains for the very fastest of deliveries made it possible for markets thought lost to trains such as milk, fresh food and mail to begin coming back to the rails. The Transcona Shops in 2003 began the production of CN's 'armor-framed' tank cars (which came to be called 'steelbacks' by the crews) developed specifically for the carrying of flammable liquids and liquified gases, and after one too many incidents of double-stack container cars tossing a container (including an infamous accident where a CPR train in Whitby, Ontario, tossed a container as a train went over a road underpass, the container landing on car beneath it and killing the car's two occupants) CN modified thousands of its container cars with either bulkheads or side-arms to prevent lost containers.

CN's advancement into the United States proved a rather big source of profits as well. Having purchased the Siskiyou line from SP in 1977, CN's engineering crews had gone to work on it, and its final (for now) form began operations in 1997, electrified and using centralized traffic control and long (in some cases five kilometers or more) passing sidings, the rebuild of the line removed over four thousand degrees of curves, lowered the grade from 3.3% to 2.25%, built several new tunnels (including the 6.7-mile Summit Tunnel, which opened in 1996) and provided much heavier track, bridges and roadbed for heavier trains, and CN began to try to avoid SP's lines in California, building its own Sacramento Division from Redding to Sacramento, California, opening that line in 1995 and reducing the needed trackage rights to the stretch between Black Butte and Redding. The lines in the Midwest primarily focused on the lucrative Powder River Basin coalfields, which everyone in the area - CN, CP and BN being joined by Union Pacific, Rock Island and Chicago and Northwestern - was in on and yet despite that everyone was making money on it. CN completed the Milwaukee Road's electrification of its former Lines West out to McLaughlin, South Dakota and rebuilt the line for fast freight service, and while the Midwestern operations' initial paring down ended up creating a new rival in the Wisconsin Central (which began operations in 1982 and proved a capable competitor to both CN and CP in the region), the western lines to Chicago proved a highly profitable enterprise, so much so that the by then cash-flush CN started looking to expand further.

Mining operations in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, begun in the 1970s with diamond discoveries, had begun to get attention from the railroads in the 1980s, particularly after iron ore mining began on the Melville Peninsula in the 1980s in such quantities that it became much more practical to build a rail line from Churchill, Manitoba, north to the mines on the Melville Peninsula. After big iron ore deposits were planned for production in the mid-1980s, CN in 1985 began construction of what would become the Nunavut Division, a line built from Churchill, Manitoba, to Hall Beach, Nunavut, a line nearly 1800 kilometers in length though a part of the world known for harsh weather - a monumental task to say the least. While Tellier did make an attempt at stopping its construction (and was quickly smacked down by Ottawa on this front, as they had promised better transport to the Inuit of the Northwest Territories many years before), CN completed the line to more than a little fanfare in May 1999, just a month after Nunavut's separation from the Northwest Territories into its own territory. The line became more than a little useful over the following years, hauling vast loads of iron ore from the mines on the Melville Peninsula and the rest of Western Nunavut (and later gold, copper, molybdenum, zinc, nickel and uranium also moved by rail) and perhaps more importantly it massively lowered the costs of living for the dwellers of the Arctic - goods could be hauled to Hall Beach or Naujaat by rail and then shipped from there, instead of having to fly thousands of kilometres from Yellowknife or northern Quebec. The construction of operation of the line resulted in huge costs of living decreases in Nunavut, a situation added to when the Nunavut government's first huge project, the South Baffin Highway from Iqaluit to Cape Dorset, opened in 2007 - a move that saw CN begin container service to Naujaat, as ice-capable ships would carry containers from there to Cape Dorset where they would be trucked to Iqaluit, further improving transportation in a part of the world that desperately needed it.

Indeed, by the early 2000s CN was getting back its long-held pride as an advancer of Canadian interests and transportation technology. The RailFast program, meant to develop fast freight services on the St. Lawrence River High Speed Line and begin in 2004, proved a roaring success for the movement of courier packages and was expanded to race across the NYC/Amtrak-owned Empire Corridor between Toronto and Detroit and New York in 2006 and across Michigan and Indiana to allow service to Chicago in 2007, allowing mail, parcels and express cargo to travel at speeds of up to 280 km/h.

Ever more powerful diesel and electric locomotives combined with four-man crews, radio-controlled locomotives, cab signalling, GPS-based centralized traffic control and ever-stronger rails and roadbeds allowed for heavier loads than ever before to be moved safely. CN, on the advice of now-COO Pateros, in 2003 requested Unifor (which represented most CN train crews aside from the engineers, as well as hostlers and many maintenance staff) and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers to setup their own independent inspection teams and committees totally independent of CN management to act as watchdogs for safety and efficiency purposes. This shocked the industry but was approved of by the unions and absolutely loved by shippers, insurers and regulators, and the inspectors began their jobs on January 1, 2005. CN's safety efforts were soon copied by everyone else in North America, and the company's efforts made headlines across the industry.

But the biggest move of all was yet to come.

As CN's reputation was restored, its ever-excellent engineering departments and management staff restored the company's reputation with shippers and its own operating department. The ex-Milwaukee Road and Chicago Great Western main lines were gold mines, the Pacific Coast Main Line from Vancouver to Oakland proved both an operational success and a financial one (even when accounting for the huge costs of rebuilding the lines south of Portland, Oregon) and the eastern lines inherited from a stack of predecessors proved successful, making it easier than ever for Canadian businesses to ship to American customers across New England, the Midwest and the Pacific Northwest. Having earned huge kudos with Ottawa for the Nunavut Division and other lines into the Northwest Territories and the Yukon Territory and the success that was the Newfoundland Railway by the 2000s and with the unions on cloud nine, Miller and Sabia announced in 2006 CN's largest acquisition proposal ever, a proposal to purchase the Illinois Central, the 'Main Line of Mid-America', which would give the company its biggest expansion in its reach ever - the lines would run south and southeast from Chicago, extending CN's reach as far as Houston, New Orleans, Atlanta and Jacksonville and stretching the line through the Mississippi River Basin.

Once upon a time such a move would have elicited howls from Ottawa, but this time it was the opposite - Ottawa was positively gleeful about the prospect of its railroading monster expanding into the United States to such a degree. To the surprise of many, there was little issue from Washington about it - the Illinois Central had been in and out of financial troubles since the 1970s, and the prospect of CN's deep pockets reviving a sector of the country's transportation system that could use help had the Surface Transportation Board quite happy indeed. IC shareholders approved the CN takeover on June 11, 2007, and CN formally took over the Illinois Central on November 1, 2007. In something of an interesting twist, on January 1, 2008, CN passed off a sizable chunk of the IC's former Gulf, Mobile and Ohio main line to Southern Pacific, allowing SP to serve Chicago on its own rails for the first time.
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Don't have the time to do a full write-up, but an alt-New Haven that wasn't stopped from buying out the Boston and Maine might be interesting.
NAME OF COMPANY: Scranton, Pittsburgh, and Lyons

GAUGE: 4 ft 8.5 in


NICKNAME: The Fallbrook Route

At the turn of the 20th century, the Fall Brook Railroad chose to try and expand its scope of service to other parts of New York and Pennsylvania beyond their territory.

Their ambitions were sympathized with by the New York Central. As such, they leased to the SP&L the line from Blackwell, PA to Jersey Shore Junction. As well as much of their Pennsylvania Division from Ashtabula, OH to Williamsport, PA. Then shortly after, they built a more direct route to Pittsburgh via Beech Creek and Hailwood. The end result was the reasonably robust Scranton, Pittsburgh, and Lyons, which was owned partially by the NYC.

At first the road used mainly power leased or acquired secondhand from the New York Central or Baltimore and Ohio. This changed in 1902, when the railroad received their first new steam engines. Those being a group of Baldwin 4-6-0s intended mainly for passenger service. As well as a group of ALCO Moguls for use on branchline and light mixed traffic work. The main freight engine in these early days were a group of Baldwin 4-8-0s built to a similar design to the N&W M class. These initial locomotives were eventually joined by a class of Baldwin Consolidations for fast freight service in 1910.

The railroad competed with the PRR's Northern Division in transporting coal and ore to the ports at Sodus Point, New York and Passenger traffic between New York City and Pittsburgh via the Lackawanna railroad. The most significant of said passenger services being the Big Apple, a Pittsburgh- Williamsport- Scranton- Jersey City service which quickly became a popular alternative to the PRR's trains. Another popular train was the Northern Keystone, which operated from Pittsburgh to Scranton, where the Reading took it the rest of the way to Philadelphia.

The next big modernization on the CW&D occurred in 1917 with the United States Railroad Administration taking over the SP&L and bringing in several of the "USRA Standard" locomotives (light 2-8-2s, 4-6-2s, 2-10-2s, 4-8-2s, 0-8-0s and 0-6-0s) and rolling stock. The PN was privatized once again in 1920, but the influence of the USRA remained well into the days of the Ripley Act.

In the 1930s, the Big Apple rechristened as a streamline passenger train. New power was provided by 10 4-6-4s built to the same design as those of the Lackawanna. Also built to the design of Lackawanna engines were a group of 4-8-4s. However, this service wouldn't last long. As the Ripley Plan dictated that the line would become part of the Lackawanna, which would in turn become part of the Baltimore and Ohio.

On the bright side, the SP&L still lives on. Especially because the B&O still uses their lines to better compete with the Pennsylvania Railroad. Furthermore, the Big Apple became a combined trains with the B&O's own Capitol Limited. With the two trains running was one from Chicago to Pittsburgh, then splitting at Pittsburgh for northern Pennsylvania and Washington DC. On that note, the NYC and B&O have also become firm business partners, with the former being given trackage rights over the former SP&L, as well as the B&O lines from both Cleveland and New York to Washington DC.
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NAME OF COMPANY: Valparaiso Central

4 ft 8.5 in


The original idea of this rail line was that it would run from Chicago to Valparaiso. Then split at the latter to go east to South Bend, Ft. Wayne, and La Crosse, where it would further split to go to Lafayette and Indianapolis or Logansport.

However, it did not get very far to say the least. Work on the line to La Crosse was only just completed when the line went bankrupt. At that point, all they had were a handful of ALCO built 2-8-0s, numbered 20-27 for use on their main freight service. Despite this, it would solider on when the Monon chose to see them as a possible new route into Chicago. Not to mention a way to tap Valparaiso as a locale.

At this point, the VC got a few 4-6-2 Pacifics which hauled passenger trains running in conjunction with the Monon. As well as steel passenger cars. In addition, they soon after got some USRA Mikados and Santa Fes for freight.

With the Ripley Plan's passing, the Southern Railroad got the Monon from Louisville to Michigan City. As well as the Valparaiso line to Chicago. Today, the Valpo Central is the primary Chicago mainline for the Southern. Whereas the Chicago Terre Hautte and Southeastern to the west is mainly used for freight.

One of the Valpo Central's 2-8-0s, numbered 26, works at the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum in North Judson.
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Name of Company: Commonwealth Railways

Gauge: 3ft 6 in

Period Operational: 1943-present

History Description:
Narrow gauge line extended to Darwin from Adelaide via Alice Springs. Hastily built in WWII after the American failure at Midway and subsequent fall of New Guinea and the Solomon islands in 1942 and served for a time after the war's end in 1946. Line was rebuilt in standard gauge by 1955.
NAME OF COMPANY: Nashville & South Eastern

4 ft 8.5 in


The Nashville and South Eastern was established in January 1868 to construct a railroad line between Nashville, TN and Atlanta, GA. It was conceived as a way to compete with the pre-existing Nashville, Chattanooga and St. Louis by offering a more direct route from Nashville to Chattanooga which stayed entirely in Tennessee. The Southern and Illinois Central each saw this fledgling little company as becoming a thorn in the side of their common rival, the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, which owned the NC&StL. The SOU and IC provided funds for the railroad and construction began in the early Spring of 1870. By that fall, the NSE had reached Shelbyville, TN and in the late spring of 1871, the N&SE reached Chattanooga.

Up until 1875, the N&SE only owned 15 4-4-0 American type steam locomotives of its own and made due mostly with leased power from its two backers. In 1875, the NSE purchased from Rogers Locomotive Works 13 2-6-0 locomotives numbered 20 through 32, and set them to work on freight trains. Several more 4-4-0s and 2-6-0s of similar designs and shared parts were late built by Baldwin for the line.

Passenger and freight service began in earnest after construction of the main line was completed in the summer of 1872 with a large train station built in Nashville. In 1876, the Nashville and South Eastern launched its premiere passenger train dubbed the "Music City Flyer." The following year, they bought the only inside-cylinder steam engines for use in the United States. Them being a group of 0-6-0 switchers for use mainly in Nashville.

In 1883, the NSE constructed its main locomotive and car shops in Shelbyville, TN. Also during the 1880s, the NSE constructed several branchlines to serve the communities of Tennessee, as well as an additional link to some communities south of Nashville. Lastly, they also began sharing a maintenance facility in Chattanooga with the Central of Georgia railroad. Also, the 4-4-0s and 2-6-0s were joined by 4-6-0s for mixed traffic work.

Starting in 1900, the NSE began to replace its wooden passenger car fleet with new steel cars and began to upgrade locomotives and track during a major capital improvement program that lasted throughout the first decade of the 20th Century, during this time most of the 2-6-0s and 4-4-0s were removed from the roster, and replaced with 4-6-2s on passenger work, 2-8-2s for freight, and 4-8-0s on mixed traffic work.

The next big modernization on the NSE occurred in 1917 with the United States Railroad Administration taking over the NSE (and all other US railroads) and bringing in several of the "USRA Standard" locomotives (light 2-8-2s, 4-6-2s, 2-10-2s, 4-8-2s, 0-8-0s and 0-6-0s) and rolling stock. The NSE was privatized once again in 1920.

In 1925, the NSE ordered a series of six 4-8-2s from the Lima Locomotive Works for use on fast passenger trains and freights. These engines would proceed to replace the few 4-6-0s that we still in service. In 1928, the railroad also ordered several 4-8-4s from ALCO to use exclusively on its Nashville-Chattanooga express trains, demoting most 4-6-2s to mere slower trains. These engines were largely similar in design to the Northerns built by ALCO for use in Mexico. They also ordered from Lima a group of 2-10-4s for heavy freights. These would ultimately turnout to be the last engines they bought.

In 1933, the National Railroad Consolidation Act was passed by Congress. The act was designed to create a group of lines that could enjoy long-term competition with each other. Under this act, the NSE received the half of the Tennessee Central running from Nashville to Hopkinsville, KY.

Shortly after, however, the railroad was absorbed into the Central of Georgia. That said, many of its engines still around (USRA engines, 4-6-2s, 4-8-0s, 2-8-2s, 4-8-2s, 4-8-4s, and 2-10-4s), were continued to be used by the CofG. As if that weren't enough, all of the 4-8-0s, 4-8-4s and 2-10-4s were once again still used by the Illinois Central, which took over the CofG in 1948, until that railroad ended its own steam operations. Today, the NSE is still a vital part of the Illinois Central's network. As it is a major source of revenue which lets the IC compete with the Atlantic coast Line and Southern in Midwest-Florida Traffic of both passenger and freight.
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I was going to make a timeline that would involve the South Eastern Railway taking its original route to Dover as an extension of the London & Greenwich Railway, which in my plans yielded some interesting results.
NOTE: People should read this to understand the context of myfuture ideas. It will be updated to include my new railroad ideas at various points.

In 1929, William Ripley worked with the railroads to revise a consolidation plan he created. Then working further with FDR to create 16 mega railroads for regional competition.

New England

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; Scranton, Pittsburgh, and Lyons

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

Erie: Akron, Canton & Youngstown; Ann Arbor; Detroit, Toledo & Ironton; 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; Little Rock & Nashville; Louisville & Nashville; Mississippi Central; New Orleans Great Northern; 50% of the Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac; 50% of the Winston-Salem Southbound; Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis (East of Nashville); 50% of the South Virginia Coast

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); Valparaiso Central

Illinois Central: Atlanta & St. Andrews Bay; Central of Georgia; Seaboard Air Line; 50% of the Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac; Nashville & Southeastern; Tennessee Central (West of Nashville); 50% of the South Virginia Coast


Great Northern:
Chicago Central & Pacific; Duluth, South Shore & Atlantic; Great Northern; Milwaukee and Dakota; 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; San Diego and Nevada; St. Louis Southwestern; Texas Central; 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; Texas Central; Toledo, Peoria & Western (west of Peoria)


Canadian Pacific: Minneapolis, St. Paul & Saute Ste. Marie

Canadian National: Duluth, Winnipeg & Pacific; Grand Trunk Western; Wisconsin Central

The government also agreed to give cash to railroads that wished to improve themselves or build new lines. In addition, the railroads themselves also proceeded to purchase several interurban lines in the midwest. Those being...

Pennsylvania Railroad
  • Bought Toledo and Indiana Interurban
  • Built reroute of Butler Branch via Ft. Wayne to create Detroit- Ft. Wayne- Indianapolis line.
Chesapeake & Ohio/ Nickel Plate
  • Bought Ohio Electric Interurban line from Lima to Cincinnati
  • Bought Indiana Railroad Interurban line from Ft. Wayne to Indianapolis and Louisville, plus lines from Lafayette to Connersville; which they then linked to Cincy via Hamilton and Chicago via North Judson.
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The 'Canadian-American International' is a total non-starter as Canadian National was government-owned at the time. I can see Grand Trunk and the smaller CN subsidiaries being integrated into the parent company and the Soo Line being brought into Canadian Pacific, but merging the two would require one to buy out the other and that's not likely to happen.
The 'Canadian-American International' is a total non-starter as Canadian National was government-owned at the time. I can see Grand Trunk and the smaller CN subsidiaries being integrated into the parent company and the Soo Line being brought into Canadian Pacific, but merging the two would require one to buy out the other and that's not likely to happen.

I fixed that. But now I have something else to suggest, as I saw your America's Rail Museum idea.

Since the B&O would still do passenger service to that area, I imagined they could either start using the former Lackawanna Hoboken Depot instead of the CNJ depot. Or, we could do vice-versa with the Hoboken terminal becoming a museum and the CNJ station serving its original function.

Also, any comments on my original American railroad ideas? Like that Scranton, Pittsburgh, and Lyons?
IMO, one of the biggest problems the B&O had serving New York was the fact that they had to bus or ferry passengers to its station, and since you have now given them tracks to New York what might be in order (particularly considering the Great Depression and the desire in Washington for statement-making projects) would be a B&O station in Manhattan and either tunnels under or bridges over the Hudson River to a 'West Side Station' in Manhattan, a big 'Game On!' to the Pennsylvania and a powerful statement by the B&O management to its new divisions that they mean business for them, too.
IMO, one of the biggest problems the B&O had serving New York was the fact that they had to bus or ferry passengers to its station, and since you have now given them tracks to New York what might be in order (particularly considering the Great Depression and the desire in Washington for statement-making projects) would be a B&O station in Manhattan and either tunnels under or bridges over the Hudson River to a 'West Side Station' in Manhattan, a big 'Game On!' to the Pennsylvania and a powerful statement by the B&O management to its new divisions that they mean business for them, too.

OK. There's that.