The Esch Cummins Act: US Railroad Consolidation program

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Andrew Boyd, Feb 28, 2018.

  1. Andrew Boyd Resident Rail Enthusiast

    Feb 23, 2018
    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.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2018
  2. Oldbill Well-Known Member

    Jan 2, 2015
    Ok, so did this consolidation meant fewer rail companies. What if a smaller line was profitable on its own, but not viewed as profitable by its new, larger post absorbtion owner? Did they just close it down?
    Evan likes this.
  3. Andrew Boyd Resident Rail Enthusiast

    Feb 23, 2018
    Yes, fewer rail companies would exist. But that would be because they were now part of larger rail companies. For example, the Frisco with the Santa Fe.

    My idea is that the lines would be fully melded into the owner. The fact is if it was profitable, I think the new company would keep it.
  4. Andrew Boyd Resident Rail Enthusiast

    Feb 23, 2018
  5. Joe Bonkers Bears are fast.

    May 25, 2007
    I'd put the DL&W with the Wabash & Erie system rather than the C&O/NKP system.

    Edit: I misread that; the DL&W is with the B&O. I think that's reasonable, so long as the LV goes to the C&O (a personal appeal: please call it the C&O rather than the NYC&StL, as I hate the name "Nickel Plate Road"; it has this obsolete, old-fashioned sound to my ears, like a really old guy talking about how the railroad "uses that thar newfangled nickel plate!")

    Can the B&O system get the OTL Erie Lackawanna's diesel paint scheme? And can the B&M get the post-1967 paint scheme of the D&H? Somebody should adopt Lehigh Valley's Cornell red, too.

    By the way, my model railroad club's freelanced line would fit in most logically with the MoPac system. :p
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2018
  6. Md139115 Bring back the Inquisition! Banned

    Jun 28, 2017
    Secret Catholic World Domination Conference
    I like to consider myself fairly knowledgeable about railroad matters, but I never understood the arguments about consolidation and competition. It’s self-evident that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, therefore, assuming that rail speed is equal (I know, that’s not always the case), the company owning a direct connection between two cities has a functional monopoly on travel between them. To put it as an example, let’s say that I needed to ship a load of steel from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia. I can go the NY Central route up to Buffalo, across to Albany, and down to NYC and Philly. I can go straight down the middle on the Pennsylvania RR, or I can go south on the B&O and come up from Baltimore. To take the giant arc through the Adirondacks is patently ludicrous, and going south is far longer, and, for the railroad, more expensive in terms of fuel costs, engine and rolling stock maintenance, and employee salaries. As such, the Pennsy has a functional monopoly in that it can promise me a quicker transit and charge me a price that is profitable for them but that the B&O barely breaks even on.

    Then when we get into consolidation, things get really interesting as a railroad can wind up being the sole line to a major city. What exactly happens if one railroad controls access to Chattanooga? Or Milwaukee? Can’t they set whatever price they want? I recognize that industries and some people might move elsewhere to seek cheaper prices on goods, but people still need to travel there and get food and goods shipped in.

    Some clarification would be much appreciated.
  7. Joe Bonkers Bears are fast.

    May 25, 2007
    Keep in mind that by the time this consolidation scheme would have been happening in TTL, truck competition would be heating up, rendering competition between the railroads less necessary.

    Edward Hungerford wrote a fascinating book published in 1945 called A Railroad for Tomorrow, describing the US rail system as of 1960 as a means of illustrating his proposals for improvements. He got many things wrong but some things right. What's interesting is that he dispensed with the whole idea of preserving competition and merged everything into one nationwide system, the United States Railroad Company (bad name, I know). His rationale was that competition would coming from other modes in the future, not between railroads.
    Electric Monk and Oldbill like this.
  8. Carl Schwamberger Well-Known Member

    Dec 14, 2012
    This all sounds Communist to me.

    Having done a bit of transport contracting I can say the transporters route is of fourth or fifth tier concern to me. Delivery date & undamaged delivery were my concerns, then price. A lot of people put price first, but they are probably risking less in terms of on time and condition. If the transportation contractor wants to send it by way of SanFrancisco thats their business, I've not got time to run their business. More likely what happens is the railroad contracted loads it on their car & pays the company with the direct route to place the cargo on the correct siding on time. As long as the product gets to the customer as agreed I don't give a damm.
    Nazi Space Spy, Oldbill and Md139115 like this.
  9. Andrew Boyd Resident Rail Enthusiast

    Feb 23, 2018
    Part of the idea here is that no railroad can control all access to the cities. At least that'd be the case with as few cities as possible.

    On the other hand, that's not something I thought of.
  10. Andrew Boyd Resident Rail Enthusiast

    Feb 23, 2018
    I frankly prefer the B&O paint scheme. But maybe a few could have the design of the DLW diesel livery with B&O colors. Also, I think the Nickel Plate isn't too bad. Though I understand why some prefer the C&O as a name.
  11. marathag Well-Known Member with a target on his back

    Feb 2, 2013
    That's why the ICC picked up so much power in 1906 with the Hepburn Act, it was TR regulating the Railroads to reduce shenanigans that had been ongoing since the ICC was created in the late 1880s
  12. MichaelWest Well-Known Member

    Apr 12, 2016
    When I plotted a timeline where the USA does not enter the Great War, I had enough rail congestion to spur better regulation and consolidation discussion, but I ended up without a World War II, thus leaving open whether the Interstate Highways ever get built beyond an at bottom improved US route network, therefore making interstate trucking far less competitive. It led me to earlier TOFC, the LCL containerization, NYCs COFC thrust (putting just the trailer body on the flatcar), and other improvements to use rail as the long distance freight mode. Reducing the trucking industry to regional and local or niche long distance, likely with less room to raise weights or increase sizes, might give the rail industry both the profitability and significance to continue with a regulatory approach, selfishly letting me keep fallen flags and merged away schemes longer.
    Joe Bonkers and Oldbill like this.
  13. Andrew Boyd Resident Rail Enthusiast

    Feb 23, 2018
  14. SsgtC Ready to Call it a Day

    May 14, 2017
    One thing, I noticed you have Norfolk Southern listed as merged into Southern. Just a slight problem with that. NS doesn't exist yet. The Norfolk Southern was a result of the merger between between the Norfolk & Western and the Southern.
  15. Joe Bonkers Bears are fast.

    May 25, 2007
    He's talking about the "original" Norfolk Southern, a small railroad in the Virginia-Carolinas area that was merged into the Southern in 1974. The name "Norfolk Southern" reappeared with the 1982 N&W-Southern merger.
  16. SsgtC Ready to Call it a Day

    May 14, 2017
    Gotcha. My mistake
  17. Joe Bonkers Bears are fast.

    May 25, 2007
    Since there's no railroad consolidation scheme that will please everybody, let me run past you some tweaks I would do for my own version of your consolidation plan:

    I'm giving the DL&W to the Erie, and taking away the Wabash (so that it becomes "Erie Lackawanna" in my fantasy world). The Wabash will go to the B&O; the NKP remains with the C&O. The other railroads in your Wabash & Erie go to my EL.

    In much the same way you split the NC&StL and the TC, I'm going to split the Lehigh Valley at Pittston Junction (between Wilkes-Barre and Scranton in Pennsylvania). All B&O lines west (north) of Pittston Junction go the B&O. A connecting track is built from Pittston Junction to the former CNJ in Avoca to allow the B&O to join its half of the ex-LV to the CNJ, giving it a through Buffalo-New York route that connects to the Wabash.

    The remainder of the LV, east (south) of Pittston Junction, goes to the PRR. The PRR can then combine this route with its "low-grade" route via Williamsport to give it an alternative route between New York and the west that bypasses the busy line to Philadelphia, Harrisburg, and Enola, not to mention Horseshoe Curve. (A very local note: Since PRR mainline freight trains will now need to go via downtown Wilkes-Barre to connect between the "old" PRR and the LV, the railroad is prevailed upon to grade-separate the route through downtown, which in turn finally prompts the building of the Wilkes-Barre Union Station that was planned but never built. PRR trains from the west will go up the OTL Wilkes-Barre branch from Sunbury, Pennsylvania, pass through downtown and onto the ex-LV, take the LV's passenger route to Pittston Junction, then at that junction get onto the Wyoming Cutoff to go east toward Allentown and New York.)

    If you don't like these, feel free to reject them; they can remain inside my own head, where I do my fantasy railfanning. :)
  18. Andrew Boyd Resident Rail Enthusiast

    Feb 23, 2018
    The National High Speed Rail Craze: 1970-2000
    Thanks to the renewal of American railroads thanks to the oil crises of first the early 50s and then the late 70s, passenger rail began to make a dramatic resurgence as it became america's preferred alternative to the automobile. This pro-rail stance common among Americans became even more prominent after and the growing hassle of getting on planes, not to mention weather hazards and more darkly the September 11 attacks.

    It was during the early days of the worst air disasters that Americans began to reconsider flocking from the railroads so quickly. At this point, private entrepreneurs began to cash in on the desires of people to get from one place to another quickly. But without having to wait around in poor weather and possibly losing luggage. This was also true in the case of freight rail, which also began to prove its potential at a stronger, better alternative to trucks.

    The first of these projects was a collaboration between the Pennsylvania Railroad and the New Haven Railroad. Together they upgraded the NH line from Boston to New York and the PRR from there to Washington DC. This new operation, which became known as the Colonial Express, was inaugurated in 1970, and soon it was considered by many superior to the airlines that operated between the same areas. In no small part due to its superior dining options, clean conditions, and service at reasonably high speeds even in the face of poor weather. Concurrently, the Pennsy also used the same treatment to upgrade the Pittsburgher, its NY-Pittsburgh passenger train, freight rail was naturally included in its plans for faster trains. The end result was the Keystone Corridor, a perfectly speedy rail service from New York to Pittsburgh.

    All too soon, the success of this service was noticed in the West by California's Southern Pacific Railroad. They themselves proceeded to make similar upgrades to the route of their Coast Daylight passenger service from San Fransisco to Los Angeles. This line had already been upgraded via the use of EMD diesels and concrete ties in the place of wood ties and steamers. But by 1975, the SP had created a high speed transit operation on par with that of Japan. The SP even went up to 11 in trying to beat the Santa Fe in Chicago- LA traffic. As it took the flatter terrain of the ex-Rock Island line and made similar modifications, thus also upgrading the Golden State passenger train.

    In 1973, the Southern Railroad took a note of the Pennsy's book. Then it made heavy conversions to their ex- Florida East Coast mainline and included a new branch to Orlando. The end result of this was Brightline. A successful passenger service which naturally won the hearts of many Floridans fed up with traffic jams and who felt a plane ride between the two cities was absurd.

    Eventually, the Chicago area was next to be subject to the new high speed rail craze. But it was the New York Central, the Pennsy's fierce rival, that held most of the cards in the Midwest. They initially started with the James Whitcomb Riley on the Chicago-Indianapolis-Cincinnati mainline in 1975. This newly improved service was a success, and soon, the NYC used the line splitting at Greensburg to create another high speed service to Louisville. This was followed shortly after with the upgrading of the lines from Cleveland to Chicago and Cincinnati. But the NYC was not going to stop there. For it expanded the scope of their higher speed rail program, and made the upgrades all the way to Buffalo, NY. By 1988, the NYC had most of their passenger rail lines running at speeds of 125 mph.

    The PRR was naturally shocked by the NYC's efforts and success at upstaging them in the high speed rail development. Starting when they began eating at the PRR's profits in the Chicago-Cincinnati/Louisville traffic. As such, the PRR decided to cash in where the NYC hadn't tried to do so, New York- St. Louis. The upgrades began in 1979, and soon, they had reached Columbus, OH. Where the line split again to Cincinnati. However, the PRR got in a financial rut that kept the project from starting again until the 1990s.

    Meanwhile in the west, the Milwaukee Road decided to upgrade its famous Hiawatha service from Chicago-Milwaukee-Twin Cities. Later on, they also upgraded the line from Milwaukee to Green Bay. The Union Pacific attempted to do likewise, and they ran their own train between the three cities via Madison, WI.

    The Chicago- St. Louis corridor was almost completely dominated by the Illinois Central.

    All around, passenger rail in 2018 is in a far better spot than IOTL. With modernized variations of the streamliners of yesteryear being supplemented by some of the fastest trains in the western world corridors.
    Last edited: May 8, 2018
    Salvador79, Lucas, isayyo2 and 3 others like this.
  19. Andrew Boyd Resident Rail Enthusiast

    Feb 23, 2018
    Preserved Steam Engines of this timeline, Pt.1

    Due to the steam locomotive soldering on for most of the 20th Century in this time line. There is no surprise that many more survived into preservation. These are some of the famous of the engines that didn't make it or otherwise. Or even if they were just figments of my imagination.

    Also, ITTL, the NRHS operated on a scale of mass rail preservation, and was responsible for forming many railroad museums across the nation, including museums for each of their respective chapters.

    Engine: Mountain 5321
    Railroad: Missouri Pacific
    Built in 1919 and again in 1939 at the MoPac shops in Selida, MO. 5321 was one of the Mountains the MoPac ran in mixed traffic. The 5321 was taken up by the Austin Steam Train Association to be preserved once the MoPac eventually retired it. Soon after, the Austin Steam Train Association received the permission to run with alongside ex-CBQ engines 4960 and 5632 on the MoPac system. Along with 5632 being saved ITTL at the Illinois Railroad Museum, the 5321 continues to run all across the MoPac's St. Louis to Laredo line today, as well as work alongside ex-Southern Pacific 2-8-2 745.

    Engine: Atlantic 3
    Railroad: Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific
    This engine famous powered the Hiawatha from Chicago to the Twin Cities in its day. Today, it is thankfully preserved at the Wisconsin Chapter of the NRHS with one of the original Hiawatha consists.

    Engine: Russian Decapod 1630
    Railroad: St. Louis - San Fransisco/ Aitchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe
    The engine is mostly the same Frisco 1630 of OTL. But when the Santa Fe got the SLSF and its engine, they renumbered her 3630, and didn't retire her until 1965, then she was sold to Eagle-Pitcher. She spent the first few years of her life on the IRM in her Santa Fe look. But this changed in the early 80s, and she almost always is clad in her SLSF look today.
  20. Lucas Well-Known Member

    Oct 25, 2014
    Great TL! Is always good view a ATL about railroads. About the railroads in this TL, apart of modernization of steam fleet, ocur some kind of expansion of electrification in P.R.R./Milwaukee Road/NYC?

    And about the High Speed Trains, is have curiosity for what type of models of trains used? They look like the TGV/Shinkansen? or are models completely different?