If the PM never merged...

Any historical questions can be posted here. Answers would certainly help as well :)
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If the PM never merged...

Unread post by MQT1223 »

So is there anything out there about plans the PM had if they had never merged with the C&O? Its always fun to think about "what-if". I feel like the PM would've had a very hard time later on with all of the redundant branch lines and the loss of automobile traffic later on had they managed to not become part of CSX's lineage.
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Re: If the PM never merged...

Unread post by SD80MAC »

Even if it had retained some form of autonomy, it had been owned by C&O since the late 20s. I would guess it would've become a component road of Chessie System like C&O, B&O and WM and finally would've been lumped under CSX come 1985. Even with the decline of several branch lines in the state, it's robust automotive traffic would've carried in into the 2000s.
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Re: If the PM never merged...

Unread post by Standard Railfan »

Most of the smaller railroads in the eastern United States were under the control of a larger system. Under the regulatory structure of the early 20th Century railroads were not allowed to merge smaller roads into their systems.

I also wonder what might have been.

In 1952 the Pennsylvania Railroad owned all or part of at least 90 other railroad companies. Many of these like the Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Detroit were operated as part of the Pennsylvania system others like the Wabash were “independent” operations.

I believe that industry would have fared much better if the government would have allowed the consolidation of smaller companies into their “owners” hands rather than the Penn Central debacle. Under this scenario, PRR would merged the N&W/Wabash/NKP family and the New Haven into its system and NYC would have done something similar. The B&O would have acquired the C&O and it's affiliates. The weaker roads that the ICC was hellbent on protecting like the Erie would have been dissolved. The merger of the Southern and western roads would have followed.

We would end up with a rail system that looks much like today without all the economic disruption that gave rise to Conrail.

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Ben Higdon
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Re: If the PM never merged...

Unread post by Ben Higdon »

Perhaps PM would have taken over a shorter line to reach southward, like GTW did. A pairing of PM with Monon or DT&I may have made sense. Or eastward from Buffalo? I'm not familiar with what routes connect Buffalo with the east coast.

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Re: If the PM never merged...

Unread post by PatAzo »

If the PM never merged would they would have been largely a short haul carrier handing most of their traffic off in Detroit, Toledo or Chicago. They had a route across Canada to Buffalo where they could link up with the Leigh Valley or the D&LW. I'll speculate the NYC, B&O and PRR would all be unfriendly connections. With service from the east coast to Chicago they would have been at a disadvantage to the more southern carriers who had more direct routes that didn't involve two border crossings.

Post WWII costs were rising, competition from highways was eroding traffic for all the eastern carriers. The Pere Marquette would have been saddled with its northern Michigan lines, the lake ferries and trackage rights at the east and west ends. Consider the GTW as a railroad similar in size, geography and with a better mainline. Coming into modern times the GTW suffered from short hauls and too much trackage. Without the CN backing it up the GTW would have been a very different railroad. If the PM never merged it could well have been bankruptcy by the 1960's.

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