At a meeting during the early days of Conrail, someone posed a legitimate question, "What 's Buckeye's primary function?" (You know, like Whiskey Island is coal (and Frontier is snow.))
The answer, given by a knowledgeable operating guy, was, "It keeps Conway from bumping into Avon." Catching his humorous tone, someone else volunteered, "Buckeye is our main source of hump-damaged cabins." [Not factually supportable; we could get hump-damaged cabooses virtually anywhere.]
The point is that Buckeye's usefulness was questioned even at the beginning of Conrail.
Additionally, I suspect Buckeye's value was questioned even before Conrail because the managers at the meeting were pretty much all former Penn Central men. The significant thing to me is that these Conrail managers were not former Penn Central managers, but mostly Penn Central operating personnel.