Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Conrail, officially known as the Consolidated Rail Corporation, is an American railroad company. It currently serves as a local carrier for CSX and Norfolk Southern; this arrangement is often referred to as Conrail Shared Assets Operations, the basis of the current reporting marks CSAO. Until June 6, 1998, Conrail owned a much bigger network of rails; on that date, most of the system was split between CSX (42%) and Norfolk Southern (58%). The three areas still owned by Conrail were kept to avoid giving one railroad an advantage in those areas.
Conrail was formed in 1976 by the Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act under federal government auspices to take over and rebuild the deteriorated phyical assets of six bankrupt north-eastern railroads:
- Central Railroad of New Jersey
- Erie Lackawanna Railroad (formed by a merger of the Erie Railroad and the Lackawanna Railroad)
- Lehigh & Hudson River Railroad
- Lehigh Valley Railroad
- Penn Central (formed in 1968 by a merger of the Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York Central Railroad which included the New Haven)
- Reading Railroad
Commencing operations on April 1, 1976, the theory was that if the service was improved through increased capital investment, the economic basis of the railroad would be improved. Although Conrail's government-funded rebuilding of the heavily run-down railroad infrastructure and rolling stock it inherited from its six bankrupt predecessors succeeded by the end of the 1970s in improving the physical condition of tracks, locomotives and freight cars, the fundamental economic regulatory issues remained, and Conrail continued to post losses of as much as $1 million a day. Conrail management, recognizing the need for more regulatory freedoms to address the economic issues, were among the parties lobbying for what became the Staggers Act of 1980, which significantly loosened the Interstate Commerce Commission's rigid economic control of the rail industry. This allowed Conrail and other carriers the opportunity to become profitable and strengthen their finances. Conrail began turning a profit by 1981, the result of the Staggers Act freedoms and its own managerial improvements.
After considerable debate in Congress, the US government sold its controlling interest in Conrail in 1987 for $1.9 billion in the largest initial public stock offering in the nation's history at that time.
With Conrail's increasing success, two eastern rail competitors of Conrail engaged in a takeover battle to control the railroad. In 1997, however, the two railroads, Norfolk Southern and CSX, struck a compromise agreement to jointly acquire Conrail and split most of its assets between the two larger railroads. The buyout was approved by the Surface Transportation Board (successor agency to the Interstate Commerce Commission) and took place on June 6, 1998.
In three major metropolitan areas -- Detroit, Philadelphia/Camden, and Newark/Northern New Jersey -- CSX and Norfolk Southern restructured Conrail to serve as a terminal operating company. This smaller Conrail today serves rail freight customers in these markets on behalf of its two owners.
Northern New Jersey operations
- Passaic and Harsimus Line - Northeast Corridor at Waverly, New Jersey to River Line at CP Waldo, New Jersey
- River Line - Passaic and Harsimus Line at CP Waldo, New Jersey to National Docks Branch at CP Nave, New Jersey
Philadelphia/Southern New Jersey operations
This area operates out of Pavonia Yard in Camden, New Jersey.
- Atlantic City Line - trackage rights along New Jersey Transit from Bordentown Secondary at Delair, New Jersey to Winslow Junction, New Jersey
- Beesley's Point Secondary - Vineland Secondary at CP Brown in Camden, New Jersey to Winslow Junction, New Jersey , and trackage rights along New Jersey Transit to Beesley's Point Industrial Track at Palermo, New Jersey
- Beesley's Point Industrial Track - Beesley's Point Secondary at Palermo, New Jersey to Beesley's Point, New Jersey
- Bordentown Secondary - Vineland Secondary at Pavonia Yard to Northeast Corridor at Millham in Trenton, New Jersey
- Northeast Corridor - trackage rights along Amtrak (Northeast Corridor) from Northern New Jersey operations border at Princeton Junction, New Jersey to Zoo Tower in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Penns Grove Secondary - Salem Secondary and Vineland Secondary at Woodbury, New Jersey to Deepwater Point Running Track at Penns Grove, New Jersey
- Robbinsville Industrial Track - Bordentown Secondary at Bordentown, New Jersey to Robbinsville, New Jersey
- Trenton Line - Bordentown Secondary at Delair, New Jersey to CSX (Philadelphia Subdivision and Trenton Subdivision) at Park Junction, Pennsylvania
- Salem Secondary - Penns Grove Secondary and Vineland Secondary at Woodbury, New Jersey to Swedesboro, New Jersey
- Vineland Secondary - Bordentown Secondary at Pavonia Yard to Millville, New Jersey
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