Happy Birthday, No Fooling. In a move that is viewed in a markedly different way today than at the time, on April 1, 1976, the railroading community was formally introduced to the portmanteau of Conrail. The CONsolidated RAIL Corporation was a response to the rippling bankruptcies afflicting the railroads of the northeast. Initial instability was reversed by dramatic moves including withdrawl from the world of passenger service, abandonment of redundant lines, and investment in upgrades to infrastructure and rolling stock. Conrail Shared Assets exists today as a legacy of this former Class I Railroad, operating over small portions of the system deemed necessary to keep in the joint ownership of Norfolk Southern and CSX.
Norfolk Southern Corp 8098 (ES44AC, Conrail Heritage) leads train 21E under the 252 signal bridge in Cresson, Pennsylvania May 26, 2019, part of the network operated by Conrail for just over 23 years. The engine proudly carries the name of Big Blue across the US, but was built in 2012 and painted as part of NS's heritage program and was never owned by Conrail. The former Pennsylvania Railroad signal bridge at this location would be taken down less than a month later as part of the line's upgrade to modern systems.