Conrail and Its Predecessors

Brian Solomon
Item #01309

From storied bankruptcies to unexpected profit, explore the fascinating history of Conrail in this new book from Brian Solomon.
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Conrail and Its Predecessors is a photographic and textual history of Conrail. Learn how Conrail's predecessor railroads became mired in financial troubles and how Conrail was formed, subsidized by the government, and became profitable within five years.

This book features:

  • Brief histories of the Pennsylvania, New York Central, and other Conrail forerunners.
  • The changing markets of the 1960s and 1970s.
  • The formation of Conrail in 1976.
  • Conrail's success in the 1980s.
  • Conrail and predecessor routes and maps.
  • And much more!
Author: Brian Solomon
Size: 8.25 x 10.75
Pages: 208
Color photos: 275
Author Bio
Brian Solomon is an accomplished author with more than 60 titles to his credit, many of them covering international railway subjects. Since 1996, Brian has traveled extensively in Europe, much of it by rail. He divides his time between the U.S. and Ireland.
Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Growing up with Conrail

Chapter 2: The road to Conrail: Predecessor lines

Chapter 3: Conrail's history

Chapter 4: Conrail routes and yards

Chapter 5: Trains and traffic

Chapter 6: Conrail locomotives

This 8 1/2 x 11” 208-page all-color softbound book sums up the absorbing story of Conrail, which author Solomon calls “The Big One.” It began operations on April 1, 1976 and combined rails of the New York Central; Pennsylvania; New Haven; Boston & Albany; Delaware, Lackawanna & Western; and the Erie. A total of 17,000 route miles and 34,000 track miles constituted this large railroad nicknamed “Big Blue” because of its corporate colors of blue and white. Author Solomon’s 40 years of accumulated study of the seven predecessor roads and Conrail itself have come to the forefront in this detailed, well-written treatise.

After explaining to readers a large July 1963 photo showing Pennsylvania’s famous Horseshoe Curve in the front pages of the book, and how it affected him in later life as a rail enthusiast and journalist, Solomon details his background growing up in New England and how he came to eventually write this history of Conrail. Along with his intriguing text, he supplies readers with numerous color photos of mostly Conrail freight trains (as well as an interesting Conrail commuter train photo and several company passenger equipment train scenes), a color map of Conrail’s heritage railroads, detailed operating histories of the seven predecessor lines, and the complete and absorbing story of Conrail’s conception and growing pains. In addition, he describes Conrail's various routes and numerous yards, its trains and how they were made up and routed, and offers a final chapter on Conrail locomotives, complete with a four-page all-time engine roster of the line's nearly 5,000 diverse locomotives.

Conrail was eventually absorbed into the Norfolk Southern and CSX, concluded Class 1 operations in May of 1999--and Big Blue was gone after 23 years. Soloman’s historical comments on the seven predecessor railroads are most intriguing and comprehensive. While most railroaders and railfans are cognizant of Conrail’s trials and the conflicts it encountered, Solomon has defined these in concise form and presented them in a factual, easy-to-read manner. Rarely can a single book tell the entire history of a sizable, far-reaching railroad. But this book does that, and with authority.

Don Heimburger
Heimburger House Publishing Co.
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