The Tier also had 25 mph and 30 mph speed restrictions in many locations during much of CR's ownership. Even the portions of the line that didn't have speed restrictions topped out at 40 mph. NS under Wick Moorman raised the speed limit on most of the Tier in the mid 2000s. We can talk "coulda woulda shoulda" but Conrail allowed the Tier to decline under deferred maintenance from 1976 to 1999.
Simply not true. Things definitely improved during the 80s. I was an engineer and later dispatcher on the Tier. Normal Speed Buffalo to Bingo was 50 (and yes, some sections were lowered to 40 later on). Speed at CP River was 50 on Single/#1 track and 25 on #2 track. Portage bridge was/is 10 due to bridge condition, and we know what's happening there. Speeds on the Delaware were 40 and 35. Yes there were (and are) slower permanent and temporary (come and go all the time) speed restrictions and yes (with the 10MPH between 352 and 334) #2 track was referred to by Conrail crews as 'the D&H main'. Unless there was opposing traffic, eastbounds usually ran #1 track against the current from CP358 to Cass Street and D&H trains sometimes got the shaft. Do you put your competition ahead of your own business? At the time the Tier was very much a political animal, what with NYS providing financial incentives to keep it alive and CR playing that game while at the same time wanting to keep the Tier out of the hands of its competition. Smart businessmen like those who ran Conrail (and I'm not blowing sunshine) hedge their bets and protect their interests using all means available to them, and once serious merger talks began in the mid-90's, all bets were off when it came to any
changes. For a while van speeds on the water level route were raised an additional 10MPH to compete with trucks. The fact that the higher speeds were cut doesn't mean that things were in decline on the main line either.
CR removed 100 feet of track in Corry circa 1995 and was forced to restore it under court order. One would think that a RR supposedly in expansion mode wouldn't be dismantling a potential through route, or cutting the Falls Road a year prior.
CR also turned rail at Cass Street on the east end of the old main too and suspended the signal system. Standard RR practice when a line is taken out of service long term. Tax implications among other things. But they didn't pull up the entire thing - not exactly a 'dismantling'. Court order? Sometimes you win, sometimes you loose - I don't remember the specifics now but IIRC it had to do with local traffic on the west end, not some bigger issue. Why would you keep up that much duplicate route for ELOI/OIEL and an occasional coal train? And the Falls Road? Really???
Keeping up 50 miles of duplicate main from Rottenchester to Niagara Falls? For what? After Niagara Falls (Canada) made them tear up one route through town and most of the remaining traffic was to be diverted to Black Rock, was there any reason, at all
, to have a duplicate main there? It's one thing to keep a real alternate through route of several hundred miles around and quite another to save truly redundant items like the Falls Road.
I wasn't debating the merger itself, just the statement about decline. The Split (not merger to Conrail people) was definitely good for competition in the northeast and I hope NS wins the battle if it comes to that. I have little good to say about CSX. NS traffic is mostly from fracking and NS's use of the Tier in establishing a workable network in the northeast. Good for them. I also wouldn't be surprised to see a new interlocking pop up in Binghamton (maybe reinstall West BD?) now that NS owns the old A&S - think Chicago-Boston traffic. BTW, when I said long term, I mean 50 years plus, not 5-10 years.
What the #*** did we just hit, Over ???