MERGERS: Take the Train To the Plane

Take the Train To the Plane

While corporations have forged all sorts of improbable unions, none in recent years have tried to merge a railroad with an airline. Norfolk Southern, an East Coast railroad-holding company, may venture such a match. The company disclosed that it is considering acquiring Piedmont, the profitable North Carolina-based airline. Since 1981 Norfolk has owned more than 19% of Piedmont stock. It agreed five years ago not to buy more than 20.5% of the airline's shares, but that pact expired last week.

Industry observers were hard pressed to see the merit of such a merger. But in announcing its interest in Piedmont, the...