Alternative mergers in the Northeast:

Yup. All that concentration of track in that region didn't help matters much, and neither did the abandonments which now the state authorities are kicking themselves for allowing to happen. The states such as New Jersey and Ohio, were not rail friendly at all. New Jersey taxed the railroads very heavily which forced many of them to abandon lines. The D&LW Cutoff existed right into Conrail into the mid-1980s when they decided to abandon it. I think it was a bit of corruption and payola by the contractor who wanted the ROW for construction materials, but of course there's no way to prove that. Today as you know that line is being rebuilt at least in part for commuter service.

I forgot about that merger proposal you mentioned. That would have been the answer to the railroad connections. It is sad they didn't make it into fruition as that would have created a northeastern rail system similar to what we have today after the split up of Conrail. The poor BAR. I remember vaguely when the PC did that to them. The BAR used to run long potato trains via the MEC, B&M, and NH for many years before. This was big business for them in the harvest season. Prior to the abandonment of the WNR&P, the trains used to go directly from Portland all the way to Worcester where they connected to the New Haven's Providence and Worcester line. In the summer months this was a major passenger route for vacation goers who came up from New York City and vicinity to New Hampshire and Maine for their summers away from the city.

There was a mixed relationship of the Lehigh and Susquehanna, the PA subsidiary of the CNJ and it's ownership and relationship with the LC&N

The Lehigh Valley RR never had any ownership in the company it was CNJ and later RDG. Very confusing.

That is pretty confusing. The funniest part about the Lackawanna cutoff is that it was the fastest route between Buffalo and New Jersey/New York. When Conrail abandoned it, they had to route all of their TOFC trains around the NYC and PRR routes. That meant that the schedules were slowed down, etc... Another ironic part is that the consolidation of railroads actually made the rail network more confusing for a while, and schedules became less competitive, which furthered the vicious cycle until government action had to take place.

I think that the final straw in the minds of New Jersey and Ohio politicians was when PC refused to upgrade and restore service to cities like Cleveland because they knew that they were going to go under. One example was just after PC was created in 1968, when most of the US thought PC was going to be profitable, Cleveland asked PC to upgrade their Cleveland ore yards and passenger station. Instead, they canceled passenger service to Cleveland and shut down most of their ore operations. If service towards the end hadn't been so bad, maybe the state governments wouldn't have been so hostile. Had the PC not been created, the story might have been vastly different. They wouldn't have put the LNE and the BAR out of business, and they wouldn't have sucked business away from the Anthracite roads.

When railroads started abandoning lines en masse, there was lot of confusion over what lines were abandoned, etc... The ICC didn't help much either. The ICC is another reason why the railroad industry went under in the 70's, because they were using old rules meant for the era of monopolies with new markets and competition. That's the reason why the RI was obliterated, the MILW thought they had to abandon their Pacific extension, the NYC and C&O merger was not allowed, and allowing PC to go through. Then again, they were probably the saving grace of the SP and ATSF, as the SPSF merger would have been awful for that region. That and they preserved passenger service long enough for Amtrak to be created. But even then, they are the reason why passenger traffic left a bad taste in the mouthes of the travelers: because int eh late 60's, passenger service was increasingly getting worse and worse, and by the time Amtrak was created, some trains didn't even have diners.