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PC: Fallen Flags & Reporting Marks

Reporting marks that still exist do not indicate that a company still
exists. Often when a company is merged away, the merging company will
just register as the new owner of the old marks to avoid the problem of
repainting a fleet of cars. An example of this is the Nashville,
Chattanooga and St. Louis. The NC&StL was merged into the L&N in 1957,
starting the modern merger era. Even though NC&StL ceased to exist in
1957, it was only a few years ago when the last car carrying NC reporting
marks was removed from the CSX roster. References still list the NC mark
as CSX. 

On the other hand, the lack of marked equipment does not mean the company
is gone. There are many "paper railroads" that are still in operation,
even though they are leased and operated by a parent road. There are
quite a few roads that are owned either partially or completely by a
government; CSX's Western and Atlantic or NS's Cincinatti, New Orleans
and Texas Pacific are examples of roads owned by, respectively, a state
or city. Some of these roads (CNOTP) are represented by reporting marks,
while others are not.

It will be interesting to see what finally happens to the CR mark. In the
end CR could go to either NS or CSX. It seems logical that CR would be
used by the shared assets company, but this is not certain. The shared
assets company could become an "invisible" railroad, using only equipment
supplied by CSX and NS.

If you're not is an NS territory, you may not have noticed that there are
reporting marks under the road numbers on NS locomotive cabs. The newest
locomotives bear NS marks, but a large portion of the fleet still carries
SOU or NW marks. Sometimes you can notice some interesting variations in
the fleet, such as in the SD50 pool where NW units are short hood forward
while SOU units are long hood forward. Some other marks are not uncommon,
such as CNOTP. If you watch long enough you may see RTA, TAG, AGS, CRN,
GSF, CG and a host of other rarities. Some, such as AEC, have recently
been purged from the NS locomotive roster. (Interestingly, when the New
Orleans and Northeastern was merged, it was merged into the Alabama Great
Southern insted of being merged into the Southern.)

I am looking forward to seeing what CSX and NS will do with the Conrail
locomotive fleet. I'm guessing that CSX won't jump in with major
repainting, other than renumbering and slapping yellow paint on the front
and rear; Chessie and SBD locomotives are still seen. On the other hand,
I'd expect NS to repaint quickly; it has been years since I've seen SOU
or NW paint on NS outside of junk lines or oldies used as shop switchers.
As boring as the NS paint scheme is, it will be fun looking to see if CR
or PC starts appearing on the side of black cabs.

Here is another idea for speculation. What if CSX and NS create a totally
new company for the shared assets, but leave Conrail with some non
railroad assets? Could Conrail, like Penn Central before it, stay alive
as a non rail company?

Bryan Turner

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