A major power struggle to merge the nation's Eastern railroads into two massive networks built around the Pennsylvania and the New York Central broke into the open last week. Forcing the fight was the announcement that directors of the Norfolk & Western Railway and the Nickel Plate Railroad had agreed to merge. Since the Pennsylvania Railroad owns about 33% of the Norfolk & Western, railroaders saw the move as a step toward a giant Pennsy network.

The merger alarmed the New York Central, which wanted a three-way merger with the Chesapeake & Ohio and the Baltimore & Ohio (TIME, May...

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