Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Erie Lackawanna Railroad
The EL struggled for most of the 16 years it existed. First, the two railroads that created it were financially struggling. Next, the northeast's railroads were all beginning to decline because of over-regulation and subsidized highway competition, along with market saturation (for what market was remaining). However, it did post profits in the mid and late sixties through heavy cost-cutting (reduction of parallel services) and equipment modernization. The EL built a state of the art diesel engine repair facility in Marion, Ohio. In 1972, Hurricane Agnes destroyed many miles of track and related assets, putting the company into bankruptcy.
Owned by the Norfolk & Western Railroad through its holding company DERECO, the EL was not intended for Conrail. The preliminary (PSP) and final (FSP) system plans for Conrail showed the EL being merged into the Chessie System. However, the operating unions could not reach a compromise, and the EL was accepted into Conrail at the last minute.
In the east, much of the EL remains, as commuter railroad routes in New Jersey (see NJ Transit), and as freight lines in New York (north of the last still-active passenger station at Port Jervis), Pennsylvania, and Ohio. West of Indiana, however, the route is gone, having been abandoned and removed before 1980 in favor of parallel former Penn Central lines.
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