Rock Island Into Conrail?

Discussion related to the operations and equipment of Consolidated Rail Corp. (Conrail) from 1976 to its present operations as Conrail Shared Assets. Official web site can be found here: CONRAIL.COM.

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Rock Island Into Conrail?

Postby Jmusolf » Fri Jul 08, 2016 2:08 pm

Instead of abandoning or selling off all of the Rock Island to western companies was it ever a possibility for what was left of the CRIP to be merged into Conrail and be ran by the feds like the other bankrupt lines that made up Conrail?
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Re: Rock Island Into Conrail?

Postby Noel Weaver » Fri Jul 08, 2016 5:48 pm

Conrail, once Stanley Crane took over the helm became a leader in many respects. He made a waste in to a profitable operation. Lots of cuts came, jobs came off, employees got laid off and tracks came out BUT what remained was maintained to a high level, power was well maintained and most important trains got over the road. The Rock Island, on the other hand, was a loser. It operated in a territory that was top heavy with railroad tracks some of which were destined to go. The Rock Island was in pretty bad shape in the 1970's and by its closing around 1980 many sections were as bad as Penn Central and the others that made up Conrail were in the 60's. The troops picked a bad time to go out on strike and that was a factor in its demise. Some sections eventually got saved but the line was just one too many in a sea of red ink. The Union Pacific at one time was highly interested and in fact started the machinery to take it over but the powers to be in government stalled the process so long that the UP finally said the heck with it. Nobody else wanted it. For Conrail to have taken it over would have stalled Conrail's recovery to a point that the whole recovery of Conrail might well have turned out much differently than the success story that it did.
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Re: Rock Island Into Conrail?

Postby ExCon90 » Sat Jul 09, 2016 2:06 pm

Very true. If you look at a map of the Rock Island it becomes apparent that with the exception of Memphis westward (the Choctaw route) every significant market the RI served was also served by other railroads with easier routes and the track and signaling in better shape. The RI consisted of just the sort of routes that USRA cut loose when it founded Conrail.
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Re: Rock Island Into Conrail?

Postby Engineer Spike » Sat Jul 09, 2016 6:53 pm

In the Midwest, just two lines were bust, RI, and MILW. This is in constrast to all of the lines in the east, which were bust. The east needed outside intervention. Rock Island lines were snatched up by other companies, like the Spine Line to C&NW. Other marginal lines were just abandoned.

The strong lines took over the best parts of the weak ones. SOO Line took over Milwaukee, and parts of the RI were taken over, like my example of the Spine Line. There were enough strong carriers in the Midwest market left, like BN, SOO/CP, Northwestern, and ICG.
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