Business: Rough Ride for Conrail

Six bankrupts do not add up to a winner

It all seemed so simple. Two and a half years ago, as Congress sought ways to rescue the Northeast's dying railroads, the advocates of the Consolidated Rail Corp., or Conrail for short, had all the answers. Basing their predictions on optimistic extrapolations, they promised that a unification of the region's six roads,* plus a one-time federal grant of $2 billion, would produce an efficient system that would be riding in the black by 1979.

Unfortunately, things did not turn out that way. Despite the $2 billion...

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