Light at the End of the Tunnel: A TL of the American Railroad

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Andrew Boyd, Jan 24, 2019.

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  1. MorningDew suburbia is big gay

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    Trains DO work as the primary mode of transportation in NYC...

    But aside from that, you're right that electrification won't work everywhere for passenger rail in the U.S.A. However, there are several routes (Dc-Boston, which is actually electrified otl), NYC-Chicago, San Francisco-San Diego, and possibly Seattle-Portland that have a dense enough population and short enough distances that electrification/high speed would certainly be profitable if more people actually rode them, which is pretty easy to do if you get more people living within a mile of commuter rail stations so that they can use trains to get to and from work, and visit other cities with them.

    Additionally, with subsidies, a double-track electrified line from Chicago to San Francisco is doable. It will need heavy subsidies, but considering the fact that THE ENTIRE TRANS-SIBERIAN RAILWAY LINE IS FULLY ELECTRIFIED IN OTL it is certainly doable (Chicago-san fran is only half as long as the Siberian/low-density portion of the route of the TSR and has bigger cities along the route like Denver, salt lake city, and Reno, so while it wouldn't be profitable it wouldn't make too big of a loss for the more profitable routes to handle).

    So while trains won't be able to cover everywhere like they used to, a Chicago-LA overnight service is quite possible ittl.

    Don't forget that cities like Minneapolis, Columbus, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, and more can be serviced by spur lines.
     
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  2. Andrew Boyd Autistic, but Artistic

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    Actually depending on how well things go, we could see several lines in the Northwast and Midwest linked together by HSR.
     
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  3. Threadmarks: Railroads in the Early Days of the Depression

    Andrew Boyd Autistic, but Artistic

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    When the Great Depression first hit the Western World in 1929, the railroads were hit fairly hard. Capital investments were cut, and maintenance was deferred to the greatest extent possible. Locomotive sales plummeted during the early 1930s, and most railroads had long "dead lines" of locomotives collecting dust in storage yards. Unused rolling stock tied up substantial amounts of capital, had costs associated with bond interest, and weren't earning any money to pay these costs. The "New Deal" of President Franklin Roosevelt sought to stabilize the economy in a number of ways. The Reconstruction Finance Corporation had been chartered during the Hoover administration to loan money to essential businesses, including banks and railroads.

    But the true start of the future began on June 3, 1933. On that day, the Roosevelt Administration approved the Pennsylvania Railroad's plans to acquire further stake in the Norfolk & Western. A railroad which the shuttled PRR trains from Ohio to the ports in Norfolk, VA and the surrounding area. After this, the Roosevelt Administration decided on trying to work with the railroads to form even more mergers.

    Eventually, this co-operation among all the railroads would lead to The Ripley Plan, which was created in the 1920s in the last days of USRA control, being revitalized. In 1934, the ICC released its initial plan, listing mainly the Class I railroads. All railroads Class II or lower would be merged into the railroad that they had a majority connection with. While these plans would not completely go according to what was organized, a comprehensive list of the planned roads was written:

    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 (North of Monon, IN); 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; 33% of the Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis

    Southern: Chicago, Terre Hautte, and Southeastern; Columbus & Greenville; Florida East Coast; Mobile & Ohio; Norfolk Southern; 33% of the Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis; Chicago, Indianapolis & Louisville (south of Monon, IN); Tennessee Central (East of Nashville

    Illinois Central: Atlanta & St. Andrews Bay; Central of Georgia; Seaboard Air Line; 50% of the Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac; 33% of the Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis; Tennessee Central (West of Nashville)

    Great Northern-Northern Pacific: 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)

    Naturally, many railroads were quick to contest certain arrangements. As such, a few mixtures like the Burlington+MoPac did not happen. Whereas other plans would only happen after a series of trades and acquisitions of certain lines among the companies took place. After the plan was released, 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.

    As a result of the railroad's complaints, the act was never officially passed. But its role in deciding various merger partners would be very key to the future.
     
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  4. marathag Well-Known Member

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    Even before the Great Depression, around 20% Railroads were already in receivership, and that increased to almost a third by the mid '30s
     
  5. Andrew Boyd Autistic, but Artistic

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    Yikes. Like I said, I thought the 30s would be a good POD.
     
  6. marathag Well-Known Member

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    Between the after effects of the WWI Nationalization, and the new ICC regulations, Railroads were finding going rough
     
  7. Andrew Boyd Autistic, but Artistic

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    Feb 23, 2018
    Well TTL is going to be better for the railroads.
     
  8. Knightmare Well-Known Member

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    Pretty low bar.
     
  9. MorningDew suburbia is big gay

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    Let him do some more posts first so we can determine the direction ttl u.s.a is going in. The great depression was the shaping point of how many things, including rail transit, played out postwar.
     
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  10. Mark E. Well-Known Member

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    If you follow the Kondratieff Long Wave economic theory, major recessions/downturns happen when the economic drivers of the day (petroleum resourcing and real estate development c.1982 and Railroads/steel c.1928) move from growth to stasis. Investors are blind-sided that decades of rampant growth might slow down or stop. Now, the driving industries don't go under, they suddenly stop growing. So, a market crash in 1929 sends a cascading effect down.

    The Long Wave cycles of 50-55 years are very regular because the timing coincides to the period when those who remember the previous downturn are retired or gone. Their grandchildren make the same mistakes, generation after generation. Stated another way, each mentor generation prepares the next generation for the conditions they themselves experienced. That advice is one generation out of phase. They adjust to the adversities of their times and change their value system, passing it on to their children. The cycle repeats. To break the cycle, the theory is not to listen to your parents but to listen to your grandparents.
     
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  11. Threadmarks: Locomotives: The Pennsylvania Railroad R3 4-8-4 "Keystone"

    Andrew Boyd Autistic, but Artistic

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    "During the late 1920s and early 30s, the Pennsylvania Railroad wanted to look for a new locomotive to replace the K4 Pacifics on passenger service. While there was a surplus of them because of the PRR's electrification program in the NE Corridor, simply double-heading them was inefficient because of how expensive the crews were. The ultimate solution came in when PRR Board Executive Martin Clement remembered the strength of the Timken 1111 when built. As such, they consulted Baldwin and Lima and devised a second batch of 4-8-4s. Only this time, with more power and elegance in the design, and the ability to haul passenger trains at 120+ mph on level track. The end result was the R3 locomotive. Known as the "Keystones" by the railroad, this engine combined the latest in Lima and Baldwin's locomotive ideas. Then fusing them with many traditional PRR features like Cast-drop pilots, headlights mounted on top of the smokebox, and belpaire fireboxes. Also included were such features as a square cab with round ended windows, Timken Roller Bearings, and the 16-wheel "Coast to Coast" tenders. The last of which would become common on many PRR engines later on."
    -SteamLocomotive.com on the Pennsylvania Railroad R3 Class 4-8-4; Known to most people as Keystones

    "This mighty engine's influence can easily be seen on many later 4-8-4s from around the world. Here in the states, various features of the Chessie Greenbriers and N&W Js can be traced back to the Keystone. Whereas around the world, many more engines also trace their origins to elements of the R3. The 25NC of South Africa is essentially a South Africanized R3 with a different boiler. Or the SNCF 4-8-4s of Andre Chapelon are obviously Europeanized R3s aside from the change of boilers."
    -Top 15 American 4-8-4s: Trains Magazine; March 2017 Edition

    "The R3 mainly worked as the long sought successor to the K4 on express passenger trains. But they also turned out be very competent at fast freight trains, and could often be seen on fast merchandise trains alongside the L1 Mikados and M1 Mountains."
    -Excerpt from placard for R3 #7106, On display at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania; Strasburg, PA

    "The Pennsylvania Railroad R3 was rather bland compared to the nostalgic K4 Pacifics, and lacked the sleek and dashing image of the later T1 Duplex. But they were also stronger and more consistently reliable. Which means they were cheaper to maintain and capable of more kinds of trains than either of the other two express passenger types."
    -TV Tropes Entry for Boring, But Practical: Real Life/Machinery

    [​IMG]
    The Chesapeake & Ohio J-3a Greenbrier was one of several 4-8-4s inspired by the R3.

    upload_2019-2-13_9-55-24.png
    Sprite Art portraying an accurate, but rather basic model of the R3. Needless to say, the real thing is way more detailed.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2019 at 9:55 AM
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  12. MorningDew suburbia is big gay

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    Non subways are being electrified in the 30s? very interesting.
     
  13. Andrew Boyd Autistic, but Artistic

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    Only the Boston- Washington DC PRR/NH line at this point.
     
  14. MorningDew suburbia is big gay

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    Ah
    How fast is the max speed on the line?
     
  15. Andrew Boyd Autistic, but Artistic

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    I'll have to ponder it. It's mostly the same as OTL's electrification of that rail line.
     
  16. marathag Well-Known Member

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    Feb 2, 2013
    Roadbed and rails is what limits speed, the GG-1
    [​IMG]
    could be run above limits-- 8500HP, almost twice normal. Was geared for 128mph speed, but normally limited to 100 for track on the DC to Boston run
    Last used in revenue service in 1981
     
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  17. Threadmarks: The Creation of Tribeca Station

    Andrew Boyd Autistic, but Artistic

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    During the course of the 1930s, the Baltimore & Ohio began talks of merger with three Northeastern roads; the Reading, Delaware, Lackawanna, & Western, and the Central of New Jersey. To this end, the B&O purchased the New York Central's Pennsylvania Division from Ashtabula, OH to a link with the Reading at Williamsport, PA. With this in mind, the B&O had big plans to become a major card-player in the traffic of Anthracite Coal and other goods produced in the area.

    As part of these negotiations, all four railroads realized that there were going to be some major changes if they wanted their passenger businesses to rival those of the Pennsylvania & New York Central. That being the need for a station that was on New York itself, as opposed to Jersey City across the Hudson River. As such, the Reading proposed a station directly across the river from one of the pre-existing ones.

    Ultimately, they chose a rather more costly but much, much more high-profile and statement-making project. They would build via the Lacakawanna into Jersey City and then go underground there, with the B&O Manhattan station being built in Tribeca (which was still mostly industrial at the time), in a block made up of Broadway, Murray Street, Greenwich Street and Chambers Street. The biggest advantages of this: The station's main entrance on its East Side opened out onto Broadway, facing the Tweed Courthouse and New York City Hall across the street. It would be directly connected to the PATH system's Hudson Terminal (until to make way for the World Trade Center in the 1960s) and THREE subway stations were also right there. In addition, the addition of a tunnel east of the station to Atlantic Terminal (less than three miles away) would allow LIRR service to this station. Now that won't happen with the PRR owning the LIRR, but later on that would surely gain interest from the City of New York.

    The station began construction in June 1932. It took a few years, but was eventually completed in March 1934 to much fanfare from the local government. The first train to depart was the Jersey Central/Reading's Crusader to Philadelphia on April 3, 1934.

    OOC: Special thanks to @TheMann for his suggestions.
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2019
  18. Swede Tech-priest

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    Now THAT is an interesting station. A huge investment to make too, the cost of digging the tunnels would be very high as would buying the land for the station. The return on investment would by now in 2019 be immense, especially with the LIRR going there from Brooklyn. Having it there would make a huge difference for the future of regional rail service. Up to and including maybe a different set-up of who owns/operates what in the region. The question is if B&O had the funding available at the time to build that station and the tunnels to it?

    Also:
    What's the name given to the station? "B&O Manhattan"? Sounds kinda dull IMO. Just "Manhattan"? Or "New York Broadway"?
    What does it look like?
     
  19. Andrew Boyd Autistic, but Artistic

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    Tribeca Station is it's name. I imagined it being possibly a sort of art deco style.
     
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  20. TheMann Canuckwanker in Chief

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    I was gonna make it Broadway Station, but Tribeca Station works too.

    Later on, I can see Penn Station being dedicated almost entirely to long-distance trains, with Metro-North and Shore Line East (and a few LIRR trains) taking over Grand Central and the LIRR and NJ Transit taking over Tribeca Station.
     
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