Alternate SAL merger partners

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Alternate SAL merger partners

Post by Seaboard1968 » Mon Aug 02, 2010 9:27 pm

I have often wondered if the ACL/SAL merger was preordained. My two alternate merger partners would the SL-SF or GM&O. Any thoughts or comments would be appreciated.

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Re: Alternate SAL merger partners

Post by D.Carleton » Fri Sep 03, 2010 12:22 pm

The SAL+ACL merger has consumed more than its fair share of my ‘what if’ cranial free-time. Understand first off that this union was the flavor of its era. It is this same mentality that brought us Penn Central, Erie-Lackawanna and (almost) Norfolk & Western + Chesapeake & Ohio. It was the wreck of the Penn Central which demonstrated that parallel mergers did not guarantee long term success.

All of this said, Seaboard Coast Line did succeed… but at a price. As has been noted in a few text books on the subject, the service level offered by the combined road never did achieve the levels of when they were separate. (It should be noted the author is a resident of the Sunshine State which was decimated by the merger so there may be just a slight bias.) It has also been noted in the biography of D.W. Brosnan that a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ was reached between Southern and ACL that each would not interfere with their respective mergers of the Central of Georgia and SAL.

It is my personal belief that they got it backwards. ACL should have gotten the Central of Georgia and Southern should have gotten the Seaboard. Even with this twist the Southern would have been smaller than the ACL-L&N family of roads but the delta would have been less. Line attrition would still be inevitable but it would have been based less on redundancy and more on actual demand. And, of course, Florida would not have had to suffer the indignity of three-quarters of its rail mileage going into one camp. Ultimately two ‘more balanced’ Southeastern roads would have been formed with greater penetration of area serviced. However, in those pre-Stagger’s Act days, the name of the game was survival not service.

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A Less-Than-Perfect Fit

Post by 2nd trick op » Sun Oct 24, 2010 5:26 pm

Since ACL expanded its influence toward the Midwest via control of L&N. one attractive partner might have been St Louis-San Francisco, via Birmingham. It woulld have afforded entry into Kansas City and Memphis, and a direct connection with several of the western transcontinentals. Chicago would still have involved an interchange, however, and not by as direct a routing as L&N's partnership with Monon. Same would appply for Detroit and all the Great Lakes cities. SAL did maintain a connection with Clinchfield at Bostic, N C, but that road operated under a joint lease to both ACL and L&N after 1924. So for longer-haul traffic, the most likely interchange partner might have been Southern, either at Atlanta, or at Macon via the Macon, Dublin and Savannah.
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Re: Alternate SAL merger partners

Post by RichM » Mon Nov 08, 2010 4:17 pm

You might want to buy or borrow a copy of Richard Saunders' [b]Merging Lines[/b]. This is the most thorough coverage I've found of every merger/acquisition plan for US railroads through 1970. Lots of "what ifs" and what killed them, a lot of coverage of the southeast.

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