Conrail Safety and Service, Perfect Together
Primary Class I railroad in the Northeast U.S. between 1976 and 1999.
The Consolidated Rail Corporation, commonly known as Conrail was the primary Class I railroad in the
Northeast U.S. between 1976 and 1999. The federal government created it to take over the potentially
profitable train lines of bankrupt carriers, including the Penn Central Railroad Company, Reading Railroad,
and Erie Lackawanna Railway. With the benefit of regulatory changes, Conrail began to turn a profit in the
1980s and was turned over to private investors and railroads in 1987
The two remaining Class I railroads in the East, CSX Railroad Transportation and the Norfolk Southern Railway
(NS), agreed in 1997 to split the system approximately equally, returning rail freight competition to the
Northeast by essentially undoing the 1968 merger of the Pennsylvania Railroad and New York Central Railroad
that created Penn Central. Following Surface Transportation Board approval, CSX and NS took control in August
1998, and on June 1, 1999, began operating their portions of Conrail.