In 1920, Congress passed the Esch-Cummins Act. This Act (officially called the Transportation Act of 1920) not only 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. That last point is extremely crucial in understanding this. In 1929, 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. The plan included the following: Boston & Maine: Bangor & Aroostook; Delaware & Hudson; Maine Central New York, New Haven & Hartford: Lehigh & Hudson River; Lehigh & New England; New York, Ontario & Western New York Central: Chicago, Attica & Southern; Rutland; Virginian Pennsylvania: Long Island: 50% of Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Line Baltimore & Ohio: Buffalo & Susquehanna; Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh; Central Railroad of New Jersey; Chicago & Alton; Reading; 50% of Chicago, Indianapolis & Louisville; 50% of Detroit & Toledo Shore Line; 50% of Detroit, Toledo & Ironton Railroad; 50% of Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Line Chesapeake & Ohio – New York, Chicago & St. Louis: Bessemer & Lake Erie; Chicago & Illinois Midland; Delaware, Lackawanna & Western; Detroit & Mackinac; Erie; Hocking Valley; Pere Marquette; 50% of Detroit & Toledo Shore Line Wabash – Seaboard Air Line: Akron, Canton & Youngstown; Ann Arbor; Lehigh Valley; Norfolk & Western; Pittsburgh & West Virginia; Toledo, Peoria & Western; Western Maryland; Wheeling & Lake Erie; 50% of Detroit, Toledo & Ironton; 50% of Winston-Salem Southbound Atlantic Coast Line: Atlanta, Birmingham & Coast; Clinchfield; Georgia; Gulf, Mobile & Northern; Louisville & Nashville; Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis; New Orleans Great Northern; 50% of Winston-Salem Southbound; 25% of Chicago, Indianapolis & Louisville Southern: Florida East Coast; Norfolk Southern; Tennessee Central (East of Nashville, TN); 25% of Chicago, Indianapolis & Louisville Illinois Central: Atlanta & St. Andrews Bay; Central of Georgia; Minneapolis & St. Louis; St. Louis Southwestern; Tennessee Central (West of Nashville) Chicago & North Western: Chicago & Eastern Illinois; Columbus & Greenville; Lake Superior & Ishpeming; Litchfield & Madison; Mobile & Ohio Great Northern – Northern Pacific: Spokane, Portland & Seattle; 50% of Butte, Anaconda & Pacific Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific: Duluth & Iron Range; Duluth, Missabe & Northern; Escanaba & Lake Superior; 50% of Butte, Anaconda & Pacific; Trackage Rights on Spokane, Portland & Seattle to Portland, Oregon. Chicago, Burlington & Quincy: Colorado & Southern; Fort Worth & Denver; Green Bay & Western; Missouri-Kansas-Texas; Oklahoma City-Ada-Atoka; 50% of Trinity & Brazos Valley Union Pacific: Kansas City Southern Southern Pacific Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe: Chicago Great Western; Kansas City, Mexico & Orient; Midland Valley; Minneapolis, Northfield & Southern; Missouri & North Arkansas Missouri Pacific: Denver & Rio Grande Western; Denver & Salt Lake; Fort Smith & Western; Kansas, Oklahoma & Gulf; Texas & Pacific; Western Pacific Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific – St. Louis-San Francisco: Alabama, Tennessee & Northern; Louisiana & Arkansas; Meridian & Bigbee; 50% of Trinity & Brazos Valley Canadian National: Central Vermont; Duluth, Winnipeg & Pacific; Grand Trunk; Grand Trunk Western Canadian Pacific: Duluth, South Shore & Atlantic; Minneapolis, St. Paul & Sault Ste. Marie; Spokane International; Wisconsin Central 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. However, Congress eventually revised the plan to accomodate various complaints made by the nation's railroads. In addition, several railroads desired to First off, let’s group up these railroads by region and then discuss them individually. New England: Boston & Maine; New York, New Haven & Hartford It was already decided that New England would be divided up into two railroads. B&M would take the primary railroads in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Northern Massachusetts, while the New Haven would take the railroads in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Southern Massachusetts. They would also get railroads in New York. B&M would get the D&H which would give it Northeastern New York and an in to Scranton, PA, and the New Haven would get the NYO&W which would put it towards Western New York. Both of these railroads were arranged well and, in a way, turned out pretty well. But there was one issue, and that was with the New Haven’s Pennsylvania acquisitions of the L&NE and L&HR. Both of these lines were parallel, so L&NE was given off. Northeast: New York Central; Pennsylvania; Baltimore & Ohio; Chesapeake & Ohio-Nickel Plate; Wabash For the most part, these systems remained mostly intact. They generally kept the railroads that were owned by the primary companies with each other. This works out in the long run and even completed the proposed Van Sweringen system with the Nickel Plate, C&O and Erie. However, the main issue came in with the Wabash system. When a pre-release for the mergers came out in the early 1920’s, Wabash made a big deal about the fact that is was split in half. Its eastern lines were given to the Erie and its western lines given to UP. Wabash insisted that it not be split in half. So, the ICC made a plan surrounding the Wabash. However, when you look at the plan from afar, you see that the railroads that made up the system are a hodgepodge of the leftover railroads that were not put into the other systems. Some of the railroads fit into the system like the W&LE, DT&I, and WM. The LV works to an extent, albeit through the Wabash’s trackage rights across southern Ontario. But railroads like the N&W and SAL definitely did not. First off, it gave the Wabash an unfair advantage as it is the only railroad to have three Ohio-Atlantic routes with two other systems only having one route. It also creates an issue as the DT&I would be a horrible bottleneck for the railroad due to the railroad’s southern topography and the fact that it was the only connection with the N&W and SAL. One option that was proposed would be to eliminate the Wabash from the proposal completely and distribute its railroad parts to other railroads. However, this is unfair for one specific reason. If you were to look at a map of all the railroads that are in the eastern half of the United States, you will notice that there are a total of ten east-west mainline routes. The B&O, NYC, PRR, C&O and Erie all have one of these East-West routes that go all the way from the Atlantic coast to Chicago. The other five railroads, the DL&W, LV, N&W, VGN and WM, will add one additional route to each of the larger systems between the Great Lakes or Ohio River and the Atlantic coast. The NYC was fairly set in this system as it gained its second mainline from the Virginian. The only issue was with the CA&S. The CA&S was originally a subsidiary of the C&EI. It was eventually spun off due to it not being profitable enough and was eventually abandoned. The CA&S doesn't fit well with the NYC due to it being a parallel road. But there is another railroad that it would work well with. One thing that was proposed was to give the Nickel Plate a route between Chicago and St. Louis. But the CA&S is just enough to give the NKP a route from Chicago to its Clover Leaf line in Veedersburg, IN we’ll give it to the NKP instead and the abandoned portions that need replaced can be rebuilt. The PRR's second mainline can arrive in the form of the N&W. This is honestly a given since the N&W was owned by the PRR at the time. This can be seen in the fact that it had connections in Columbus and Cincinnati, OH, Hagerstown, MD and Norfolk, VA, which were also served by the PRR, so it naturally works. Also, PRR gets the eastern half of the TP&W since it actually fits quite well into it. The Western half of the TP&W goes to the Santa Fe as it does not work as well with the Wabash system. The B&O can gain its second mainline in the form of the DL&W. The DL&W already connects well with the RDG and CNJ in the east as well as the BR&P in the west and it will eliminate the parallel lines that would have been created under the C&O/NKP system. Furthermore, the DL&W fits a bit better than the LV, which was another option for them. B&O can also acquire the L&NE. When the L&NE was abandoned in the 1950’s, the CNJ took over operations of a few of its southern lines. This still works and gives the B&O an additional line to connect with the New England roads in New York and another route between New York and Philadelphia. Finally, the B&O would relinquish its partial ownership of the DT&I to the Wabash due to it being parallel to its own line between Toledo and Cincinnati. Just because the DT&I was a bottleneck doesn’t mean it doesn’t fit into the Wabash system. The best route for the Wabash to become on with would be the Erie. The Wabash would also gain the Pittsburgh & Shawmut and the Pittsburgh, Shawmut & Northern which would give it a direct route between the Erie and Pittsburgh, allowing it to compete with the B&O and the PRR. The Wabash-Erie combination would require swapping the Erie with the LV on the C&O/NKP. This would work best because the Van Sweringens probably wouldn’t put up as much of a fight over loosing the Erie since they already had some ownership in the LV. Also, since the Van Sweringen roads get the PM there is no need for the D&TSL. So, full ownership of it can go to the B&O and give it a direct route into Detroit. These arrangements give all the railroads two Ohio-Atlantic routes and keeps competition within the railroad families that are in the area. Southeast: Atlantic Coast Line; Southern; Illinois Central; Wabash; Chicago & North Western The major railroads of this group generally stuck with their family ties. The ACL family stuck together without incident, and the Southern took over the railroads that would extend it to where it didn’t reach. Even the IC held onto the CofG. The first issue with the Southeast railroads is with the C&NW. (Seriously ICC!?! It’s called the Chicago & North Western for a reason. It’s not the Chicago & South Eastern!) So, we eliminate this railroad completely and send the southern railroads to their respectful owners. The C&G and the M&O go to the Southern, the latter since they had owned that road for some time and attempted to merge it at one point, and the C&EI can go to the ACL since it fits with the L&N system and traffic patterns so well. This last point allows the elimination of the partial ownership of the Monon by the ACL. The second issue comes from the Wabash-SAL arrangement. We can already guess that the SAL would have to go with someone else. And, in order to avoid merging parallel railroads, we would automatically give the SAL to the IC. This was, in fact, the original plan in the pre-release of the proposals. However, doing this poses a problem. This third issue comes from the ACL’s ownership of the NC&StL. The main issue is that it gives ACL a near monopoly in central Kentucky and Tennessee, while the IC and SOU barely get anything outside of a split Tennessee Central. The IC already manages to get to Nashville with the west end of the TC, but it doesn’t have any good routes to connect Nashville with the CofG. We are going to get a bit more creative and built and entirely new Nashville- Chattanooga line for the IC to use. But more on that later in this thread. But that also leaves out the Southern which only gains the Mobile & Ohio on the west side of Tennessee and the TC east of Nashville. So my proposal is to split the ownership of the NC&StL between the SOU and ACL, with the SOU getting the Memphis-Nashville line. With the ACL get the Nashville- Atlanta. Once we have built the IC their own Nashville- Chattanooga line, everyone’s happy and has what they would each want the NC&StL for. The fourth issue we see is with the rest of the IC. We see that the ICC intended to give the IC the Cotton Belt and the M&StL. (I guess they were trying to make a railroad that looked like an upside-down version of their C&SE!) We already know that this doesn’t work. We keep the southern roads in the south and nothing more. So we eliminate those railroads from the system and send them to others later on. Furthermore, letting the IC keep the Chicago Central & Pacific out to Omaha is a bit overpowering for a southern road, especially considering that none of them generally get past the Ohio River or St. Louis, so we’ll remove it as well and give it to someone else. Sixth, the third solution will involve the SOU getting complete control of the Monon lines south of Monon, IN. While the Michigan City Branch and the line from Monon to Indianapolis goes to the B&O. But I think my first option fits better than the CTH&S for my belief that the Monon routes would be more useful to the Southern than the CTH&S lines. Due to the fact it stops in major cities of Lafayette and Bloomington, while the only significant city on the CTH&S other than Chicago is Terre Hautte, IN. The final issue is one that, for whatever reason, was never brought up in the proposal. And that is with the Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac. The line was originally owned by six railroads, ACL, B&O, C&O, PRR, SAL and SOU. Three of these railroads, the C&O, PRR and SOU, all have lines traveling between Richmond and Washington, or something that bypasses the route. The other three don't. The line doesn't need to be part of the B&O system as it just extends the railroad south. However, if the ACL and IC have equal ownership of the line, it will help them compete with the SOU better. So the RF&P will be split between the two. Northwestern: Great Northern-Northern Pacific; Milwaukee Road; Chicago & North Western The first two railroads are fairly well put together roads. They work out in the long run and it is certain that this will not end up like the railroads in our time line. There are a few small changes that can be made though. First would be to give the M&StL and the CC&P to the Great Northern Pacific. The CC&P fits perfectly with the GN, connecting with it in Sioux City, SD and it also fits well with the M&StL, which originally used it as a route to get to Chicago and was probably the main reason it was paired with the IC in the first place. On the other hand, the CC&P and M&StL don't link the Twin cities and Chicago quite directly. Like we did with the IC in Tennessee, we'll build then a new line from St. Paul to Madison, WI to get it all the way to chicago. The rest mainly involves the MILW. The MILW’s Chicago, Terre Haute & Southeastern is in a situation similar to IC’s CC&P. It’s an extra line that runs outside of the railroad’s operating region. We will split it from the MILW and give it to the SOU. The SOU would only need to use the Monon to connect between Bedford, IN and Louisville and could probably get by on trackage rights. The other option would be for it to take full ownership of the line up to Monon, IN and leave the rest to the B&O. The latter is a little more likely as two of the Monon’s branches along that line connect with the SOU or the CTH&SE. The other items would be to give the MILW full ownership of the BA&P. And of course, we give the C&NW and the remaining lines in that system to the UP; it’s just obvious. Midwestern: Chicago, Burlington & Quincy; Missouri Pacific; Union Pacific In remembering that this plan is to preserve competition between the railroads, we would want to make sure that all the railroads match up to give everyone an equal opportunity. Almost all the railroads west of the Mississippi we want to touch at least Chicago and Minneapolis and the midwestern and southwestern ones we want to touch the Gulf of Mexico in at least more than one place. We also want them to be truly transcontinental. From a layman's perspective, all of these railroads work. But, when you look at them in more detail, you find some problems. Already, we see that both MP and UP do not get to Minneapolis or Chicago. We’ve already solved UP’s problem by giving them the C&NW. But then we need to figure out what to do about the MP. One idea to give MP the CGW so that it would connect with Minneapolis. The railroad fits well and it doesn’t conflict with anything else on the railroad. But if we did that then we are taking away Santa Fe’s opportunity to connect with Minneapolis. The only solution I had there was to give it the M&StL since it connects with the Santa Fe in Peoria, IL. But the M&StL doesn’t fit into the Santa Fe system all that well. And we couldn’t go the other way around. I had also seen maps that showed that the WP provided a perfect connection between Santa Fe’s northernmost California point and BN’s southernmost California point. When you think about it, both the CB&Q and the MP could be merged into a single system. The CB&Q and MP don’t have any conflicting lines and fit almost flush to each other. It gives the MP its access to Minneapolis and Chicago, fills in the gap that the CB&Q has between the C&S, and allows the Santa Fe to keep the CGW to Minneapolis. Furthermore, both worked with D&RG on passenger trains. So it just makes sense. The final railroad to discuss would be the left over MKT. We know it can’t go to MP-CB&Q because of parallel lines. If the CB&Q had merged with the Frisco, which would have been another proper railroad in its own right, then maybe it could have gone with that. We know that it can’t go to the Rock Island or Santa Fe as they both have parallel lines and it most certainly couldn’t go into UP... or can it? When you look at it from a distance you would say “No! The MKT parallels the KCS which the UP is getting. And we don’t want parallel roads.” That is true. But when you look at a few other things, you see something more. MKT gives UP a direct line into St. Louis and the L&M line, and also takes it to Galveston and Huston, TX, which it doesn’t get through KCS. When you look at it that way, putting MKT with the UP doesn’t look so bad anymore. Southwestern: Rock Island-Frisco; Santa Fe; Southern Pacific The main railroad in this group we will discuss is the Rock Island-Frisco. Once again, this looks like it would work. Frisco generally stays in Missouri, Arkansas and eastern Texas while the Rock Island stays in Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma and western Texas. But when you look at it operationally, there are several major issues. So this plan no longer fits. The only option would be to split the two railroads apart and give them to others. The only two railroads that appear to be contenders in this are the Santa Fe and the SP. The SP as it stands gets nothing, which we already know doesn’t work. How can we picture the SP without the Cotton Belt! The SP and the Rock Island fit together like a glove, they were meant to be. You have the Albuquerque line which sends SP to Kansas City, the Cotton Belt which gives the railroad a southeast border and a route from New Orleans to St. Louis and the Rock Island puts SP into Minneapolis. The only other issue with this would be the original Central Pacific line which, if SP got trackage rights over MP or UP between Salt Lake City and Denver, would have made it the only two transcon railroad in the west. My proposal would be to give the CP to the UP. Then you have the Frisco. Early on, Santa Fe and Frisco tried to merge. Santa Fe wanted Frisco to put it into St Louis and for its line through Alabama. The Frisco wanted Santa Fe so it could get to San Francisco and fulfill the second half of its name. The two railroads fit together and it is a perfect match. The ATSF can run passenger and freight trains to the junction at Avard, Oklahoma. Then it goes over the SLSF to Tulsa, Springfield, and finally St. Louis. Canadian Subsidiaries: Canadian National; Canadian Pacific This final section is a fairly simple one when looked at from a distance: The American subsidiaries of the two Canadian railroads becoming a direct part of their respectful owners. That’s what happened in our time line, that’s what should happen now. But hold on, we saw what happened with that in our time line. SOO bought MILW, sold its own lines to the Wisconsin Central, and then were bought by CN, when, in reality, GTW should have gotten the MILW. So, why don’t we make a compromise here? First, we already know that the CV and the GT should go to CN and that the SI should go to CP. They’re on opposite sides of the map from the bulk of the other railroads and they can’t really merge with anyone else because of their ownership. But when we get into the bulk railroads in the Great Lakes, that’s where we have some fun. Instead of having the two railroads separate, why not merge the SOO and GTW into a single company that is owned 50/50 between CN and CP? This has several advantages. First, it combines these railroads into one that can be easily regulated by the US government. Second, the railroads fit together decently (as we’ve seen in our timeline). And thirdly, it gives both CN and CP an advantage. It gives CN a connection between its GTW and DWP properties, and it gives CP a connection between Chicago and Windsor. One thing about this however is that no matter how we do this, the SOO will be getting a monopoly in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The only way to settle this would be to remove the DSS&A from the system and hand it over to the Great Northern Pacific. It already had trackage rights to Duluth over the NP and fits perfectly into the system. So, after going over all these railroads, analyzing them, rearranging them, and defining them, Congress reduced the number of railroads from 21 to just 16. These complete railroads are listed here: 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: 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 National: Central Vermont; Duluth, Winnipeg & Pacific; Grand Trunk; Grand Trunk Western Canadian Pacific: Duluth, South Shore & Atlantic; Minneapolis, St. Paul & Sault Ste. Marie; Spokane International; Wisconsin Central This thread is designed to detail ideas for possible additions to the changes cause by the revised plan. I will personally contribute my own ideas first.