CPF363 wrote:What would have made the D&H so much of a better railroad is if they could have worked out an arrangement to get full ownership of the line from Binghamton to Hagerstown. This would have been a big game changer for the D&H all around with friendly connection with Chessie System and N&W. Following the creation of CSX and Norfolk Southern, there would not be any need for the D&H to run down to Potomac Yard over the Northeast Corridor for connection to the Southern and the RF&P as all of that could have been handled through the Hagerstown gateway. Wasn't his an objective of Bruce Sterzing, former president of D&H?
What you need to realize is that the D&H "expansion" to provide the new "Conrail" system with "competition" was a joke from the get-go. If they honestly wanted two northeast rail systems that were actually competitive, they should have done from the start what ultimately happened - divide the routes of all the northeast bankrupts into two competing systems based (mainly) on the former NYC and the former PRR, with the necessary additions of the other northeast roads to "fill out" each of the two systems. Instead, they cynically attempted to create a "successful Penn Central" by pouring money into mainly ex-PC routes and offering only comparatively second class routes (and with unacceptable labor rules) to any remotely real competitors (see the offer of EL to Chessie, who couldn't negotiate any better work rules than the failed EL already had, and backed out as a result; it was this
that led to EL inclusion in Conrail and the D&H "expansion" to provide an illusion of rail competition in Conrail's territory).
The D&H "expansion" should, at the very least, have provided direct ex-EL routing access to the northern NJ terminals (say Croxton) if they wanted to actually provide some
semblance of "real" competition. It's not as if Conrail was all that interested in the late-to-the-party ex-EL routes; if NY state didn't sink money into fixing track and signals on the "southern tier" route between Binghamton and Buffalo, Conrail probably would have abandoned it, or at least marginalized it heavily with single tracking and removal of signals. What the D&H got instead was a round-the-horn route via the ex-LV to Scranton, to the D&H's "home rails" to Binghamton (backtracking to something even more circuitous than the ex-LV (via Sayre), which itself was already probably the fourth
best northern NJ to Chicago (via Buffalo connections) route), to the ex-EL trackage rights between Binghamton and Buffalo (with Chicago reached via N&W/NS, which was a single track railroad also not competitive with the two and three main track ex-NYC between those two cities), giving (ultimately) the D&H a 3rd morning
delivery Chicago to Oak Island to "compete" with Conrail's SECOND morning delivery Chicago to North Bergen/Meadows/Croxton/Portside. As I said, a joke; the best the D&H was ever going to do was cherry-pick some Friday loads at a discount price (when the weekend somewhat nullified the extra day of delivery time) and lower-priority (and also less generously priced) traffic. And even this was strictly intermodal access; the D&H expansion wasn't given access to carload traffic at Oak Island. The D&H "competition" was a facade, and was set up to fail.
The north-south traffic might have been more effectively served by the control of the routes you mentioned, but prior to Staggers (October of 1980) the rate divisions made north-south traffic less than lucrative for the northeast roads, and with Corridor ownership being transferred to Amtrak so they could build it up as "high speed" passenger rail, they undoubtedly wouldn't have hobbled their new pet railroad with no Hagerstown gateway. For the northeast railroads, it was east-west traffic that was the most lucrative, and the routes the D&H was provided access to provided them with little to no ability to compete for such traffic - by design.
GE, not EMD, makes the best locomotives now; has for over 20 years. Get over it.