Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad
The Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad was a U. S. Class 1 railroad that connected Buffalo, New York, Hoboken, New Jersey, a distance of about 400 miles. Incorporated in 1853, the DL&W was profitable during the first two decades of the twentieth century, but its margins were hurt by declining traffic in coal and competition from trucks. In 1960, the DL&W merged with rival Erie Railroad to form the Erie Lackawanna Railroad; the Leggett's Gap Railroad stayed dormant for many years. It was chartered on March 14, 1849, organized January 2, 1850. On April 14, 1851, its name was changed to the Western Railroad; the line, running north from Scranton, Pennsylvania, to Great Bend, just south of the New York state line, opened on December 20, 1851. From Great Bend the L&W obtained trackage rights north and west over the New York and Erie Rail Road to Owego, New York, where it leased the Cayuga and Susquehanna Railroad to Ithaca on Cayuga Lake; the C&S was a re-organized and re-built Ithaca and Owego Railroad, which had opened on April 1, 1834, was the oldest part of the DL&W system.
The whole system was built to 6 ft broad gauge, the same as the New York and Erie, although the original I&O was built to standard gauge and converted to wide gauge when re-built as the C&S. The Delaware and Cobb's Gap Railroad was chartered December 4, 1850, to build a line from Scranton east to the Delaware River. Before it opened, the Delaware and Cobb's Gap and Lackawanna and Western were consolidated by the Lackawanna Steel Company into one company, the Delaware and Western Railroad, on March 11, 1853. On the New Jersey side of the Delaware River, the Warren Railroad was chartered February 12, 1851, to continue from the bridge over the river southeast to Hampton on the Central Railroad of New Jersey; that section got its name from Warren County, the county through which it would run. The rest of the line, now known as the Southern Division, opened on May 27, 1856, including the New Jersey section. A third rail was added to the standard gauge Central Railroad of New Jersey east of Hampton to allow the DL&W to run east to Elizabeth via trackage rights.
On December 10, 1868, the DL&W bought the Essex Railroad. This line ran east-west across northern New Jersey, crossing the Warren Railroad at Washington and providing access to Jersey City without depending on the CNJ; the M&E tunnel under Bergen Hill opened in 1876 relieving it of its use of the New York, Lake Erie and Western Railway in Jersey City. Along with the M&E lease came several branch lines in New Jersey, including the Boonton Line, which bypassed Newark for through freight; the DL&W bought the Syracuse and New York Railroad in 1869 and leased the Oswego and Syracuse Railroad on February 13, 1869. This gave it a branch from Binghamton north and northwest via Syracuse to Oswego, a port on Lake Ontario; the Greene Railroad was organized in 1869, opened in 1870, was leased to the DL&W, providing a short branch off the Oswego line from Chenango Forks to Greene. In 1870 the DL&W leased the Utica and Susquehanna Valley Railway, continuing this branch north to Utica, with a branch from Richfield Junction to Richfield Springs.
The Valley Railroad was organized March 3, 1869, to connect the end of the original line at Great Bend, Pennsylvania to Binghamton, New York, avoiding reliance on the Erie. The new line opened October 1, 1871. By 1873, the DL&W controlled the Lackawanna and Bloomsburg Railroad, a branch from Scranton southwest to Northumberland. On March 15, 1876, the whole system was re-gauged to standard gauge in one day; the New York and Western Railroad was chartered August 26, 1880, opened September 17, 1882, to continue the DL&W from Binghamton west and northwest to Buffalo. The main line ran to the International Bridge to Ontario, a branch served downtown Buffalo. On December 1, 1903, the DL&W began operating the Erie and Central New York Railroad, a branch of the Oswego line from Cortland Junction east to Cincinnatus. By 1909, the DL&W controlled the Portland Railway; this line branched from the main line at Portland, Pennsylvania southwest to Nazareth, with a branch to Martins Creek. The DL&W built a Beaux-Arts terminal in Hoboken in 1907, another Beaux-Arts passenger station in Scranton the following year.
A new terminal was constructed on the waterfront in Buffalo in 1917. The Lackawanna Railroad of New Jersey, chartered on February 7, 1908, to build the Lackawanna Cut-Off, opened on December 24, 1911; this provided a low-grade cutoff in northwestern New Jersey. The cutoff included the Delaware River Viaduct and the Paulinskill Viaduct, as well as three concrete towers at Port Morris and Greendell in New Jersey and Slateford Junction in Pennsylvania. From 1912 to 1915, the Summit-Hallstead Cutoff was built to revamp a winding and hilly system between Clarks Summit and Hallstead, Pennsylvania; this rerouting provided another quicker low-grade line between Binghamton. The Summit Cut-Off included Martins Creek Viaduct; the Lackawanna's cutoffs had no at-grade crossings with roads or highways, allowing high-speed service. The most profitable commodity shipped by the railroad was anthracite coal. In 1890 and during 1920–1940, the DL&W shipped upwards of 14% of the state of Penn
Great Train Wreck of 1856
The Great Train Wreck of 1856 occurred in Whitemarsh Township, between Camp Hill Station and Fort Washington Station, on July 17, 1856. Two trains, traveling on the same track in converging directions, killing between 59 and 67, injuring over 100; the incident was referred to as The Camp Hill Disaster in Montgomery County, The Picnic Train Tragedy in the city of Philadelphia. It was the deadliest railroad catastrophe in the world up to that time and became one of the signature events of its era. Growing impetus for the construction of a railroad connecting Philadelphia with the Lehigh Valley resulted in the incorporation on April 8, 1852, of the Philadelphia and Water Gap Railroad Company. A spur of the railroad, whose name was changed on April 18, 1853, to the North Pennsylvania Railroad Company, was formally opened Monday, July 2, 1855, with an excursion from Cohoquinoque station, at Front and Willow Streets in Philadelphia, to Wissahickon, an outlying area to the northwest. Farmers could now ship their produce more economically to markets far from home.
The railroad, which transported both freight and people, was becoming an important component of local commerce when the wreck occurred. An excursion train operated by the North Pennsylvania Railroad, known as the "Picnic Special," had been contracted by St. Michael's Roman Catholic Church in Philadelphia's Kensington section to send their Sunday School children on a picnic in Shaeff's Woods, a sprawling grove near the railroad's Wissahickon station. July 17 was one of the hottest days of the year and the children looked forward to a full day at the park; the train, reported by The New York Times on July 18, 1856, as carrying 1,100 people, was due to arrive in Wissahickon at 6:00 am. It left Cohocksink depot at Master Street and Germantown Avenue at 5:10 a.m. 23 minutes late due to the large number of passengers aboard. The train's locomotive was operated by engineer Henry Harris; the engine, known for having low steam pressure, was under a sizable strain as it pulled between 10 and 12 cars overloaded with passengers.
A priest, Daniel Sheridan, was in the lead car with the older children. The rear cars carried the younger children; the train had to make periodic stops to regain enough pressure to continue. At the Wissahickon station another train, the Aramingo, engineered by William Vanstavoren, waited for the excursion to pass on the single track line that had opened one year and 15 days earlier. Shakamaxon was late, but the conductor did not use the telegraph to communicate with Cohoquinoque and had no idea when the excursion had left. There was a customary 15-minute waiting period for scheduled trains, but the picnic special was an excursion train, which confused matters. At 6:15, the Aramingo, carrying 20 passengers from Gwynedd, pulled out of the station; the engineer of Shakamaxon was confident. He knew the Aramingo was due in the opposite direction on the same single track, but calculated they could use the siding at Edge Hill to safely pass each other; as he neared a blind curve just past Camp Hill Station, the train was travelling downhill.
Aramingo was rounding the same curve with the same blind spot. Although Harris blew the whistle continuously, the doppler effect was not understood at the time and, as a result, neither engineer knew where the other was; as they rounded the curve, they caught sight of one another. But it was too late; the trains collided at 6:18 a.m. between the Camp Hill station and the present-day crossing of the Pennsylvania Railroad's Trenton cut-off over the Bethlehem branch of the Reading Railroad. The boilers made the impact caused an explosion heard up to five miles away; the sounds of crashing woodwork, hissing steam, the victims' screams and moans succeeded the first deafening noise of the explosion. The three forward cars of the picnic train were decimated and the subsequent derailment caused a fire to spread among the wooden cars; the initial impact did not kill most of the victims. The women and children who occupied the rear coaches, thereby escaping serious injury, jumped out, screaming in a frenzy of fear and grief.
A crowd gathered from neighboring towns. The blaze could be seen for several miles and a man rode on horseback through the Montgomery County countryside and shouted to the residents: "Bring your camphor bottles and lint, but the heat of the burning wreckage was so intense that though protruding arms and legs and other parts of bodies could be glimpsed through the flame and smoke, it was impossible to get close enough to attempt a rescue. Sandy Run, a small creek, ran about 25 feet below the level of the tracks, meandering along the length of the train. A bucket brigade, equipped with tubs, pails and other utensils, was formed down to the edge of the stream by the onlookers, but this effort availed little. The Congress Engine and Hose Company of Chestnut Hill reached the scene and, in rapid order, subdued the flames and began to extricate the victims. John Spencer of Camp Hill, an eyewitness who lived within sight of the collision, gave the following account at a coroner's investigation: "I was looking out of my shop window and saw the train approaching.
I saw the down train first. It was slacking off as much. I had just time enough to turn around and saw the up train coming
The Lansdale/Doylestown Line is a SEPTA Regional Rail line connecting Center City Philadelphia to Doylestown in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Until 1981, diesel-powered trains continued on the Bethlehem Branch from Lansdale to Quakertown and Allentown. Restored service has been proposed, but is not planned by SEPTA; the line is used by the East Penn Railroad, serving Quakertown's industrial complexes and distribution centers. The Lansdale/Doylestown Line utilizes what is known as the SEPTA Main Line, a four-track line, owned by SEPTA since 1983, the former Reading Railroad Doylestown Branch; the main part of the line, from Philadelphia north to Lansdale, was part of the Reading Railroad's route from Philadelphia to Bethlehem, to Wilkes-Barre and Scranton. Arriving and departing at the former Reading Terminal, now part of the Pennsylvania Convention Center, the line has, since 1985, been directly connected to the ex-PRR/Penn Central side by the Center City Commuter Rail Tunnel. Unlike the ex-PRR/Penn Central Paoli/Thorndale Line it is paired with for through-service, the ex-RDG line was not as built, as the RDG segregated its through-freight and passenger movements.
While the four-track section between the tunnel and Wayne Junction and the two-track section from Wayne Junction to Jenkintown are grade-separated, the two-track section from Jenkintown to Lansdale and the single track from Lansdale to Doylestown has both at-grade railroad crossings and over- and underpasses. Electrified service between Philadelphia and Hatboro, Lansdale and West Trenton was opened on July 26, 1931. Equipment consisted of dark green painted electric multiple unit cars built at the Reading's own shops; some of the cars were rebuilt during the 1960s receiving air conditioning, refreshed interior and a new blue paint scheme resulting in their being referred to as "Blueliners". Today, the line uses the Silverliner family of EMU cars which operate throughout SEPTA's Regional Rail system. Service to Bethlehem and the Lehigh Valley languished due to the post-World War II surge of the automobile as well as the opening of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Northeast Extension in 1957. Service north of Lansdale in the non-electrified territory was terminated by SEPTA on July 29, 1981.
Trackage north of Quakertown was dismantled after the railbed was leased for use as the interim Saucon Rail Trail. Between 1984–2010 the route was designated R5 Doylestown and R5 Lansdale as part of SEPTA's diametrical reorganization of its lines. Lansdale and Doylestown trains operated through the city center to the Paoli Line on the ex-Pennsylvania side of the system; the R-number naming system was dropped on July 25, 2010. As of 2018, most Lansdale/Doylestown Line trains continue through Center City to Malvern or Thorndale on the Paoli/Thorndale Line. On August 29, 2011, SEPTA adjusted the midday service pattern to encourage ridership at Colmar station, which had available parking capacity adjacent to Pennsylvania Route 309; every other train turned back at Lansdale. On December 18, 2011, SEPTA eliminated weekend service at Link Belt and New Britain due to low ridership. In the fall of 2012, New Britain was added back to the weekend schedule as a flag stop. A large parking garage is to be built at Lansdale station.
9th Street station opened nearby on November 15, 2015 as an alternate parking location during construction. SEPTA activated positive train control on the Lansdale/Doylestown Line from Doylestown to Glenside on June 13, 2016. Positive train control was activated from Glenside to Fern Rock on December 12, 2016 and from Fern Rock to 30th Street on January 9, 2017; the Lansdale/Doylestown Line makes the following station stops after leaving the Center City Commuter Connection. Between FY 2008–FY 2014 yearly ridership on the Lansdale/Doylestown Line has held steady at 4.6 million, save for a brief dip to 4.3 million in FY 2010–2011. "SEPTA – Lansdale/Doylestown line schedule"
Easton is a city in and the county seat of Northampton County, United States. The city's population was 26,800 as of the 2010 census. Easton is located at the confluence of the Delaware River and the Lehigh River 55 miles north of Philadelphia and 70 miles west of New York City. Easton is the easternmost city in the Lehigh Valley, a region of 731 square miles, home to more than 800,000 people. Together with Allentown and Bethlehem, the Valley embraces the Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton metropolitan area, including Lehigh and Carbon counties within Pennsylvania, Warren County in the adjacent state of New Jersey. Easton is the smallest of the three Lehigh Valley cities, with one-fourth of the population of the largest Lehigh Valley city, Allentown. In turn, this metropolitan area comprises Pennsylvania's third-largest metropolitan area and the state's largest and most populous contribution to the greater New York City metropolitan area; the city is split up into four sections: Historic Downtown, which lies directly to the north of the Lehigh River, to the west of the Delaware River, continuing west to Sixth Street.
The boroughs of Wilson, West Easton, Glendon are directly adjacent to the city. The greater Easton area consists of the city, three townships, three boroughs. Centre Square, the town square of the city's Downtown neighborhood, is home to the Soldiers' & Sailors' Monument, a memorial for Easton area veterans killed during the American Civil War; the Peace Candle, a candle-like structure, is assembled and disassembled every year atop the Civil War monument for the Christmas season. The Norfolk Southern Railway's Lehigh Line, runs through Easton on its way to Bethlehem and Allentown heading west and to Phillipsburg, New Jersey just across the Delaware River; the Lenape Native Americans referred to the area as "Lechauwitank", or "The Place at the Forks". The site of the future city was part of the land obtained from the Delawares by the Walking Purchase. Thomas Penn set aside a 1,000 acres tract of land at the confluence of the Lehigh and Delaware rivers for a town. Easton was settled by Europeans in 1739 and founded in 1752, was so named at the request of Penn.
As Northampton County was being formed at this time, Easton was selected as its county seat. During the French and Indian War, the Treaty of Easton was signed here by the British colonial government of the Province of Pennsylvania and the Native American tribes in the Ohio Country, including the Shawnee and Lenape. Easton was an important military center during the American Revolutionary War. During the Revolutionary War, Easton had a military hospital. On 18 June 1779, General John Sullivan led 2,500 Continentals from Easton to engage British Indian allies on the frontier. Easton was one of the first three places, it is claimed that the Easton flag was flown during that reading, making it one of the first "Stars and Stripes" to fly over the colonies. This flag was used by a militia company during the War of 1812, serves as Easton's municipal flag. Sited at the confluence of the flowing Lehigh River's waters with the more stately waters of the deeper wider Delaware, Easton became a major commercial center during the canal and railroad periods of the 19th century, when it would become a transportation hub for the eastern steel industry.
The Delaware Canal, was built soon after the lower Lehigh Canal became effective in and reliably delivering much needed anthracite coal, into more settled lands along the rivers. And the Morris would serve to connect the developing Coal Regions to the north and west, to the fuel starved iron works to the west, the commercial port of Philadelphia to the south, to the many home owners seeking fuel for heat within Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. Seeing other ways of exploiting the new fuel source, other entrepreneurs moved to connect across the Delaware River reaching into the New York City area to the east via a connection with the Morris Canal in Phillipsburg, New Jersey, so the town became a canal nexus or hub from which the Coal from Mauch Chunk reached the world; the early railroads were built to parallel and speed shipping along transportation corridors, by the late 1860s the Lehigh and Susquehanna Railroad and Lehigh Valley Railroad were built to augment the bulk traffic through the canals and provide lucrative passenger travel services.
The LVRR, known as'the Black Diamond Line' would boast the twice daily "Black Diamond Express" daily passenger trains to and from New York City and Buffalo, New York via Easton. The Central Railroad of New Jersey, would lease and operate the LH&S tracks from the 1870s until the Conrail consolidations absorbed both the Central Railroad of New Jersey and Lehigh Valley Railroad in 1966. Today, the Lehigh Valley Railroad's main line is the only major rail line that goes through Easton and is now known as the Lehigh Line.
Jenkintown–Wyncote station is a major SEPTA Regional Rail station along the SEPTA Main Line in Montgomery County, United States. It is located at the intersection of Greenwood Avenue and West Avenue on the border of Jenkintown and the Wyncote neighborhood of Cheltenham Township, with a mailing address in Jenkintown, it is the sixth-busiest station in the Regional Rail system, the busiest outside Center City. Despite this, the station is not wheelchair accessible. Jenkintown–Wyncote station was built in 1872 by the North Pennsylvania Railroad, replaced in 1932 by the Reading Railroad; the 1932-built structure remains to this day, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2014. It lies in fare zone three and includes a parking lot with 450 spaces; the West Trenton line branches off of the SEPTA Main Line at this station. This station is served by the Lansdale/Doylestown Line, Warminster Line, West Trenton Line; these three rail lines make Jenkintown-Wyncote the sixth-busiest station in SEPTA's Regional Rail system, the busiest outside the City of Philadelphia, with 1998 average weekday boardings and 1660 average weekday alightings.
Jenkintown–Wyncote has two low-level side platforms connected by a tunnel underneath the tracks. Media related to Jenkintown-Wyncote at Wikimedia Commons SEPTA – Jenkintown-Wyncote Station 2000 Mark Lehman photo Station from Google Maps Street View
West Trenton Line (SEPTA)
The West Trenton Line is a SEPTA Regional Rail line connecting Center City Philadelphia to the West Trenton section of Ewing Township, New Jersey. The West Trenton Line connects Center City, Philadelphia with the West Trenton section of Ewing, New Jersey; the line splits from the SEPTA Main Line at Jenkintown. At Bethayres, it crosses the Pennypack Trail that runs along the former Philadelphia and New York Railroad, which once connected with the Fox Chase Line. At Oakford, the former New York Short Line Railroad, once part of the Reading's main line to West Trenton and Jersey City and CSX's Trenton Subdivision, merges. North of Oakford, the West Trenton Line runs parallel to CSX's Trenton Subdivision; the West Trenton Railroad Bridge, a concrete arch bridge, crosses the Delaware River to the final stop at West Trenton. Like all of the Reading Company's commuter lines, the West Trenton Line was electrified in the early 1930s and has a mix of at-grade and grade separated crossings. Electrified service to West Trenton was opened on July 26, 1931.
The RDG planned to electrify tracks between West Trenton and the CNJ Terminal in Jersey City for long-distance service, but had to drop plans for electrification outside of the commuter service area due to economic setbacks as a result of the Great Depression. The line north of the split at Jenkintown was built as the National Railway project, opened on May 1, 1876, to provide an alternate to the United New Jersey Railroad and Canal Companies' monopoly over Philadelphia-New York City travel. From Jenkintown to the Delaware River it was built by the North Pennsylvania Railroad as a branch, while the New Jersey section was built by the Delaware and Bound Brook Railroad, merging with the Central Railroad of New Jersey at Bound Brook. In addition to the Reading Company, which leased the North Pennsylvania Railroad in 1879, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad used the line for passenger and freight service to New York City, including its famed Royal Blue service. In 1976 the Reading merged into Conrail, in 1983 SEPTA took over operations.
Prior to 1981, limited service continued north to Newark, New Jersey, using Budd Company-built Diesel multiple units. This service was the last remains of the Reading's Crusader service, which began in 1937 using streamlined steam locomotives and passenger cars. SEPTA ended service beyond West Trenton on August 1, 1981. NJT has since considered service resumption on their West Trenton Line. Beginning in 1984 the route was designated R1 West Trenton as part of SEPTA's diametrical reorganization of its lines. West Trenton Line trains operated through the city center to the Airport Line on the ex-Pennsylvania side of the system. In years this behavior changed; the R-number naming system was dropped on July 25, 2010. As of 2018, most West Trenton Line trains terminate at 30th Street Station on weekdays, while most evening and all weekend trains operate to Elwyn on the Media/Elwyn Line. Between Oakford and West Trenton, the West Trenton Line followed CSX's Trenton Subdivision until passenger and freight operations were separated.
SEPTA and CSX trains were separated between Woodbourne and West Trenton in 2015 ahead of the implementation of positive train control on the West Trenton Line. SEPTA activated PTC on the West Trenton Line on October 24, 2016; the West Trenton Line includes the following stations north of the Center City Commuter Connection. Continued out to Newark, NJ until 1981. Between FY 2008–FY 2014 yearly ridership on the West Trenton Line held steady at 3.5 million. SEPTA – West Trenton line schedule The Blue Comet - Reading Terminal to West Trenton, New Jersey
Conrail was the primary Class I railroad in the Northeastern United States between 1976 and 1999. The trade name Conrail is a portmanteau based on the company's legal name, while it no longer operates trains it continues to do business as an asset management and network services provider in three Shared Assets Areas that were excluded from the division of its operations during its acquisition by CSX Corporation and the Norfolk Southern Railway; the Federal Government created Conrail to take over the potentially-profitable lines of multiple bankrupt carriers, including the Penn Central Transportation Company and Erie Lackawanna Railway. After railroad regulations were lifted by the 4R Act and the Staggers Act, Conrail began to turn a profit in the 1980s and was privatized in 1987; the two remaining Class I railroads in the East, CSX Transportation and the Norfolk Southern Railway, agreed in 1997 to acquire the system and split it into two roughly-equal parts, returning rail freight competition to the Northeast by undoing the 1968 merger of the Pennsylvania Railroad and New York Central Railroad that created Penn Central.
Following approval by the Surface Transportation Board, CSX and NS took control in August 1998, on June 1, 1999 began operating their respective portions of Conrail. The old company remains a jointly-owned subsidiary, with CSX and NS owning 42 percent and 58 percent of its stock, corresponding to how much of Conrail's assets they acquired; each parent, has an equal voting interest. The primary asset retained by Conrail is ownership of the three Shared Assets Areas in New Jersey and Detroit. Both CSX and NS have the right to serve all shippers in these areas, paying Conrail for the cost of maintaining and improving trackage, they make use of Conrail to perform switching and terminal services within the areas, but not as a common carrier, since contracts are signed between shippers and CSX or NS. Conrail retains various support facilities including maintenance-of-way and training, as well as a 51 percent share in the Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad. In the years leading to 1973, the freight railroad system of the United States was collapsing.
Although government-funded Amtrak took over intercity passenger services in 1971, railroad companies continued to lose money due to extensive government regulations and excessive labor cost, competition from other transportation modes, declining industrial business, other factors. Its largest Eastern railroad, the Penn Central Railroad, had declared bankruptcy in 1970, after less than three years of existence. Formed in 1968 by the merger of the New York Central Railroad and Pennsylvania Railroad, the PC was created with no plans to merge the varied corporate cultures, the resulting company was a hopelessly entangled mess. At its lowest point, PC was losing over $1 million a day and trains were becoming lost all over the railroad. In 1972, Hurricane Agnes damaged the rundown Northeast railway network and threatened the solvency of other railroads, including the somewhat more solvent Erie Lackawanna. In mid-1973, officials with the bankrupt Penn Central threatened to liquidate and cease operations by year's end if they did not receive government aid by October 1.
This threat to US freight and passenger traffic galvanized the Congress to create a bill to nationalize the bankrupt railroads. The Association of American Railroads, which opposed nationalization, submitted an alternate proposal for a government-funded private company. Judge Fullam forced the Penn Central to operate into 1974, when, on January 2, after threatening a veto, President Richard Nixon signed the Regional Rail Reorganization Act of 1973 into law; the "3R Act," as it was called, provided interim funding to the bankrupt railroads and defined a new Consolidated Rail Corporation under the Association of American Railroads' plan. The 3R Act formed the United States Railway Association, another government corporation, taking over the powers of the Interstate Commerce Commission with respect to allowing the bankrupt railroads to abandon unprofitable lines; the USRA was incorporated February 1, 1974, Edward G. Jordan, an insurance executive from California, was named president on March 18 by Nixon.
Arthur D. Lewis of Eastern Air Lines was appointed chairman April 30, the remainder of the board was named May 30 and sworn in July 11. Under the 3R Act, the USRA was to create a "Final System Plan" to decide which lines should be included in the new Consolidated Rail Corporation. Unlike most railroad consolidations, only the designated lines were to be taken over. Other lines would be sold to Amtrak, various state governments, transportation agencies, solvent railroads; the few remaining lines were to remain with the old companies along with all abandoned lines, many stations, all non-rail related properties, thus converting most of the old companies into solvent property holding companies. The plan was unveiled July 26, 1975, consisting of lines from Penn Central and six other companies—the Ann Arbor Railroad, Erie Lackawanna Railway, Lehigh Valley Railroad, Reading Company, Central Railroad of New Jersey and Lehigh and Hudson River Railway. Controlled railroads and jointly owned railroads such as Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines and the Raritan River Railroad were included.
It was approved by Congress on November 9, on February 5, 1976 President Gerald Ford signed the Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Refor