rrfoose wrote:It certainly would have been a regional powerhouse, but it still could only have survived in that form for a few years.
Come Conrail in 76, they would have lost all friendly connections east of Buffalo. However, had a NKP/WAB system been around in the 70s, they most certainly would have gotten the EL to stay afloat. This would have been a great route for intermodel - bypassing Chicago and using the EL's wide clearances. But as much as I hate to say it, I still think that NS would have made a play for the "new" NKP system after losing the bid for CR in the 80s. CR and CSX had lines in the north, but they didn't, and would have needed the NKP to survive. Either that or the MP/UP would have gobbled them up too.
Hmm, I wish there were a logical way for the NKP to have survived into the 90s/early 21st century so that I could model NKP SD70M's...ahhhhh...
rrfoose wrote:...but as you can see with N&W/NS, it was just easier to use the superior Wabash route!
If we're going to start talking Wabash, I must say I agree completely with you here! A Nickel Plate/Wabash merger would have been very natural and efficient. And you're right, the Nickel Plate's old "Clover Leaf" from Toledo to St. Louis was simply inferior to the Wabash, not so much for the clearances, but because of that big bulge in the route east of Fort Wayne, as well as the fact that the Wabash route served bigger cities in between, such as Lafayette, IN and Decatur, IL.
Part of a good merger is eliminating duplicate lines (duh, right?). The Nickel Plate from Toledo to St. Louis could have been abandoned completely. This would have still allowed Toledo/Chicago traffic to flow fairly well by transferring at Fort Wayne and abandoning the Wabash route across northern Indiana. Basically, this is
what happened under Norfolk & Western. They pretty much got it right. But the strange thing here is that Wabash had by far
the straightest route between Toledo and Chicago, straighter than New York Central or NKP. It's a bit of a shame to see it abandoned. I'm surprised no one bought it or spun it off.
Here's another map I made showing a Nickel Plate/Wabash merger. But if you ask me, the Wabash shouldn't have been Nickel Plate's first choice for a merger partner. I address this question on a different thread
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