Perspective: Conrail Is Fading Away

NS-Buffalo-Line-1-22-2016 (33)

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A few weeks ago I stumbled across an article on Railfan & Railroad’s website by Otto M. Vondrak called “Conrail is fading away.” YOU CAN CHECK IT OUT HERE.

Having grown up with, and having many memories of my own about the “Big Blue” I was immediately taken back by the emotional force as I read his passage. Now let’s be clear here, I’m a little older and a little wiser now and I no longer see Conrail (or railroads in general) through rose-colored glasses. But having been so close to the railroad (especially in its early days) I had to take a moment to reflect on and appreciate all that Conrail had meant to me over the years prior to its fall.

The loss of Conrail at the time was especially hard on me because unlike Otto Vondrak, I’d also knew the Southern Pacific and Santa Fe and had to come to grips with those losses too, so when the apocalyptic news of the CSX/NS split of the Big Blue hit me (or should I say, all of us), well, what can I say other than it hit like a freight train (pun intended).

For a while, railroading was dead to me as I knew it, but slowly and surely I made peace with the 21st century and began to even warm up to the Black & White of Norfolk Southern. CLICK HERE TO READ MY BIO.

And since the grave hadn’t gotten completely cold yet, there was still a lot of ex-Conrail blue roaming the rails to keep me at track side…. But that was more than 10 years ago….

Today, remnants of Conrail blue either sit in deadlines, abandoned sidings or scrap yards. Occasionally we can still see a piece of rolling stock in a train but it’s not blue, and it’s certainly not the same anymore.

I came across a couple of ex-Conrail nee Pennsylvania Railroad cabooses while traveling Route 147 (the Buffalo line route) between Halifax, Pa. and Sunbury. And although decrepit and faded, seeing that blue paint brightened an otherwise dismal, dreary and overcast winter day. It was then that I came to grips with all that’s changed since then…. And it was also then that it (really) hit me for the first time that Conrail is truly fading away.

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BONUS: I stumbled upon this jewel while railfanning the Owego Harford Railway in Owego, NY. The bay-window design is evidence to the knowledgeable railfan of its New York Central heritage.
Owego-Harford-Railway-10-4-2015 (52)


ANOTHER BONUS: This was submitted by Mike S of Flemington, NJ. This beauty can be found in Kutztown, Pa..
Kutztown Pa copy

Conrail Is Fading Away

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Author:Railfan AC

AC is a U.S. Air Force Veteran, a long haul trucker, a transportation enthusiast and a lifelong lover of trains. AC's mission is to travel America documenting American railroading in the 21st century while educating those who want to know about the importance the railroads play in our daily lives including, but not limited to, the movement of goods, services and more.

2 Responses to “Perspective: Conrail Is Fading Away”

  1. Andrew Zehner
    January 25, 2016 at 3:58 am #

    If your ever down by Bloomsburg, there is an old Reading and Conrail caboose just off of 42 heading south towards Catawissa. Last i saw it was still in decent shape!

    • Railfan AC
      January 25, 2016 at 5:16 am #

      Well, you’re gonna’ love this…. Yeah, I know what you’re talking about…. I used to work a few hundred feet down that dirt road by the ball field. A guy name Jeff Michaelesko used to have his trucking operation back in there. This was back in 2009 (I’ve long since quit) and he’s long since moved but the Sunbury line was just a few yards away!

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