• ACL:A different Future

  • This forum is for discussion of "Fallen Flag" roads not otherwise provided with a specific forum. Fallen Flags are roads that no longer operate, went bankrupt, or were acquired or merged out of existence.
This forum is for discussion of "Fallen Flag" roads not otherwise provided with a specific forum. Fallen Flags are roads that no longer operate, went bankrupt, or were acquired or merged out of existence.

Moderator: Nicolai3985

  by ThePointyHairedBoss
While reading "The Historical Guide To North American Railroads," I was a bit confused by the Atlantic Coast Lines logic. I mean, merging with the Seaboard Air Line instead of consolidating your holdings? I know it'd eliminate duplicate routes, but it would make more sense to merge ACL and L&N, and let SAL go to Southern in an attempt to pacify them. So that got me thinking, why not create an alternate merger scenario?

Here's my Ideal Pairings:

Atlantic Coast Line(5743 Miles)-Louisville & Nashville(6000 Miles)-Western Railway of Alabama(133 miles)-Atlanta & West Point(91 Miles)-Georgia Railroad(329 Miles)-Clinchfield(296 Miles)-Piedmont & Northern(150 Miles)-Part Of The C&EI(302 Miles)-Monon(541 Miles)-Washington/Philadelphia Northeast Corridor Segment(191 Miles)=Atlantic Coast Line System(13776 Miles)

Why this? Simple. It would have consolidated all of the ACL and L&N's major stock holdings and affliates, and it would prevent the need for maintaining duplicate SAL lines. Also, with a beefed up Southern-Seaboard, it'd be relatively equal in size to it, creating two competing systems. How this ACL "Mega Merger" would have happened would be that SAL and ACL couldn't agree on terms for the merger, leading to talks being called off in 1959. Southern would then announce its intentions to Merge with the CofG and Seaboard. Shocked by this, ACL immediately reacts by announcing that the ACL, L&N, and all its affiliates will merge. The two mergers are approved by the ICC, and by the 1970's, ACL locomotives can be seen in places like New Orleans, Philadelphia, Indianapolis, and Chicago due to the initial merger, and subsequent mergers with the Monon, P&E, C&EI, and a segment of the NEC to Philadelphia. Southern, meanwhile, merged with the SAL, the NS(old), the CofG,countless other shortlines, and even 176 miles of track on the Delaware peninsula of the PRR. This creates a system of 14506 miles.

This is the basic premise for my layout, which is how I justify the fact that I run 3 Atlantic Coast Line SD40-2's(Okay, they WERE supposed to be SCL, but my hobby shop mixed up the order, so they're just like real SCL units, but lettered as ACL). The date is 1980, just before the Southern merged with N&W, and Chessie merged with ACL.

  by Gilbert B Norman
Mr. Pointy, I really note that the ACL is "your road"; and that 500 Water concurs with it being the surviving East Coast route.

But I must wonder to what extent did the SCL consider keeping the SAL and thereby forming two "one-way railroads", except of course passenger trains and a Local freight or two.

Yes, the Roanoke River bridge would have needed to be replaced, but it would seem that the ACL would be less congested and that you could have been more in the market for expedited, i.e. Jax-Wash area 18hours, trains, and keeping business such as that OJ Train that it appears you have lost to the highways.

Maybe we have an "old Seaboard hand" around here who will stick up for his road.
  by Shortline614
Everyone, including CSX themselves, regrets the abandonment of the north end of the SAL between Norlina, North Carolina, and Petersburg, Virginia.

SCL was an outgrowth of the classic 60s strategy of merging with your competition. This was done to cut costs and cut out your competition in equal measure. This was allowed because railroads were shrinking and it was common thought that only a single railroad would be needed in certain regions. (The trucks would provide all the competition needed.)

In the long run, SCL in my opinion was a massive mistake because it doomed Florida, one of the largest markets in the country, to a monopoly for the rest of time. The Seaboard should have merged with the Southern. That would have provided more balanced competition everywhere. The ACL and all its subsidiaries merging together make sense, as that is exactly what happened IRL.

As for the Central of Georgia, I don't think it would fit in either an ACL-L&N system or SOU-SAL system. (There is far too much overlap with either.) I'd give it to either the Frisco or Illinois Central. Both owned the CoG at one point or another. The IC-GM&O merger was a massive mistake and the GM&O makes sense as a part of another system. I'd say put it with the Chicago & North Western since they always had a periodic interest in reaching the Gulf for Midwestern grain exports. (C&NW even owned a chunk of GM&O shares in the early 60s.)
  by Gilbert B Norman
Yes Mr. Shortline, now that a State passenger train agency has, or intends to, acquire the abandoned SAL ROW through VA, any thoughts of relaying the rail for Class I freight traffic, and fixing up the Roanoke River bridge, are gone forever.

But I totally agree; two roads making rates from a traffic source, such as a maritime port, certainly adds to the attractiveness of such for those whose industry calls for railroad transportation. In the case of Florida away from Jax, shippers have their choice of one road or the other.

While I haven't been able to do any "Port of Miami peeking" in two years (The Cleveland Orchestra has now scrubbed their January residency twice) and where I always got a hotel with a view of the Port (extra $$$), that away from the "Love Tubs", the Port never seemed all that busy - definitely no vessels anchored or "slow steaming" about the entrance.

True, the now Mexican owned FEC - essentially the only act in town - has every interest in keeping Jax an open gateway, i.e. not favoring either Chessie or Topper, who's to say that either of those would like to have that traffic diverted to, say, Savannah, where they need not divide the Bill with anyone so long as it is consigned Locally to somewhere on either's respective systems.
  by west point
A major problem of the SAL line was from Savanah - Jacksonville. Much closer to the coast than the ACL line having more swamp like ROW to maintain. Another was the high bridge over the Altamaha River. Last I knew it still is there slowly rusting away. SOU would have had a continuing maintenance problem for that route segment.
  by Gilbert B Norman
Mr. West Point, I had learned same myself; no wonder SCL chopped up the Seaboard Savannah-Jax.

But the one-way strategy can and does work with the existing ACL considering the two existing routes via Nahunta and Waycross respectively.
  by mdevall1
Ah, yes...the Southeast High Speed Rail project. That has been an ongoing thing for a number of years now. It is proposed to use the old SAL "S-Line" between Raleigh and Petersburg within the area where I live. There were public meetings in our town over ten years ago regarding the project. A number of residents and businesses were against it due the number of railroad crossings they were planning to remove in town and pretty much splitting it in half...similar to what Wake Forest is now with only four crossings in their central district. This significantly increases response times for emergency responders and could congest traffic in some areas. Also, the 110 MPH speed the passenger rail plans on traveling is an obvious safety issue as well although I do expect that the trains will slow down some in municipal sections.

Right now, CSX is still running freight between Raleigh and Ridgeway on the current Norlina Subdivision line. It is expected to be sold to the NCDOT, possibly, within the next few months to a year. If the Southeast High Speed Rail project does go through, they will most likely have to replace the 118-year-old steel historic trestle over Cedar Creek south of Franklinton which is in a remote area at the moment. That will be a feat.

Anyways, we shall see what happens here.
  by Gilbert B Norman
...of rail within this Journal article, but rather to the namesake of a unique one-time Seaboard Sleeping Car:

Fair Use:
.."It is creepy, but it’s also kind of cool,” says Jessica Henry, a waitress at the Flat Tire Bar & Grill in sleepy downtown Elberton. She’s had customers from as far away as Germany who came to see the monument. “It would be a disaster to blow it up.”....
The car in question, named Elberton, was built by Budd during 1950 as part of an order of 10-6's and named for on-line communities. At some time during the later 50's, the car was sold to the PRR and was reconfigured with 11BR. The PRR assigned it to the Broadway where it ran in each direction on alternating days.

To me, it "stuck out like a sore thumb" being the only stainless car in the consist after the several transcontinental cars were withdrawn during '58.

Finally, Elberton was along the route of the Silver Comet, much of which has been abandoned to become the Silver Comet Trail. A friend of mine in the Atlanta area into bicycling, rides that trail often. When I saw her and husband this past February, the subject came up and was surprised to learn of the name's origin.
  by Engineer Spike
This thread has lots in common with the many threads of a similar topic about why PRR merged with Central, instead of merging in its holdings like N&W, Wabash, and many others. It seems, as has been mentioned, that the game in that era was for a consolidation of parallels. EL, PC, BN, SCL, C&NW+CGW+M&StL all come to mind in that regard. N&W's combination with Nickel Plate and Wabash consolidated many parallel routes too. Maybe the thought was exactly to consolidate the diminishing traffic on fewer trunk lines.

Fellow member CPF 363 and I often discuss the railroad merger chess game. Especially in the SCL merger, where any hope of resurrection of the SAL is just about hopeless, maybe part of the thought was to make it so someone could not put the pieces back together, such as Walter Rich did, much to Conrail's chagrin.

I have been thinking heavily about the market forces in the rail industry, especially since the whole PSR related meltdown. Back in college I had a business class in my senior year, and we had to analyze an industry. This was our final project for that class. This has left me with a conclusion which makes me question the STB, and other regulatory bodies. Right now they are operated as duopolies. Maybe this is the wrong classification, especially since the mega mergers of the 1990s. Sure there is a choice between BNSF and UP between Chicago and California. Same between New York and Chicago. This is a good example of having the choice between A and B. The problem lies in the fact that many places in between are actually served by a monopoly. We said it right here. Florida belongs to CSXv(except for FEC"s minuscule presence), The PNW is largely captive to BNSF, and now CSX has New England, since NS decided not to take a bigger stake in the Pan Am sale. Maybe railroads ought to be regulated as monopolies.
  by CPF363
ThePointyHairedBoss wrote: Thu Jul 03, 2008 10:30 pm While reading "The Historical Guide To North American Railroads," I was a bit confused by the Atlantic Coast Lines logic. I mean, merging with the Seaboard Air Line instead of consolidating your holdings? I know it'd eliminate duplicate routes, but it would make more sense to merge ACL and L&N, and let SAL go to Southern in an attempt to pacify them.
Considered the same thoughts, ACL and L&N merged system. Would have been on par with the Southern's elaborate network, minus Florida that the Southern never had. For the SAL railroad, could see that ultimately going one of three ways:
- One: An "expanded SAL" to include IC, GM&O, Clinchfield and possibly L&N's Cincinnati to Atlanta line as part of the ACL-L&N merger.
- Two: SAL would have been broken in two, with the Richmond through Hamlet, Atlanta to Birmingham going to ACL-L&N and south of there to the Southern.
- Three: Southern makes an effort to control the SAL preventing the SCL merger all together and goes for the whole system for themselves. At a minimum, ACL-L&N would have wanted Pembroke, N.C. to Birmingham line as a condition of SOU-SAL if that were to come into fruition.
  by Engineer Spike
I do think that the SCL merger should have involved some line sales to another strong system, like the Southern. As noted, the single available flavor in Florida is a major issue. It seems like the ICC played the same game in many mergers of the era, mot all which resulted in a lopsided market competition. It did work in some instances, such as C&NW?M&StL?CGW, where the market was already over saturated. BN was a failure to customers in the PNW as well as ID and MT. The Milwaukee was supposed to be the answer, but let's be honest, how effective was it really going to be? One must also remember that under the laws as of the merger dates, the rates were regulated. I'd love to see data about how BN or SCL changes their rate structures for locations where they had a monopoly post deregulation. One could say the same thing about PC. How were the also rans like EL, D&H, B&M, LV....... really going to compete where there was no other strong competition, like PC had in the midwest against the likes of N7W and Chess.