Merger : LUSENET : ACL and SAL Railroads Historical Society : One Thread

Hey. I know this could start a war between the ACL and SAL guys, jk, but I'm wondering why the 2 railroads that were to dislike each other so much merged? I heard that the ACL was doing great while the SAL was loosing a lot of business. This could be wrong but I wanted to hear what you guys at the society had to say. Thanks! Jason

-- Jason Castine (, February 01, 2003


To elaborate on the previous comment that "they detested each other", my grandfather worked for the SAL for around 30 years. He decided to retire when the merger was announced because he did not want to work with ACL folks. His actual words are not repeatable in this forum, but needless to say, the first swear word I ever learned was associated with the ACL.

-- Bill Parks (, February 03, 2003.

ACL and SAL were fierce competitors and from what I understand detested each other pretty much, where as the ACL and Sou Rwy got along quite well. The world of business can make even fierce competitors who are smart business people be "friends" for the right reasons ($$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$).

-- Raymond Smith (, February 02, 2003.

Despite what you may have heard to the contrary, both the ACL and the SAL were doing well financially at the time of the merger. The ACL and SAL both posted healthy profits in 1966, their last full year of separate operations, with the ACL posting only a slightly larger profit. The SCL merger was a marriage of near-equals.

The ACL and SAL began discussions about co-ordination of operations at several common terminals in 1958, and according to Tom Rice, ACL president at the time, one day one of them, neither he nor SAL president John Smith remembered who, said, "We're not talking coordination, here - we're talking merger!" and the discussions went on from there. The application was filed with the ICC in 1960 (I think) and was implemented after much discussion, appeals, and court action, on July 1, 1967.

-- Robert H. Hanson (, February 02, 2003.

Up to the time of the SCL merger in 1967, most previous mergers of this size were of the end-to-end type, with different railroads which connected at one or more common endpoints. The SCL merger was different in that both ACL and SAL operated largely within the same territory and overlapped each other (they both shared a common six state region). For this reason, the SCL merger is looked upon as one where two competing railroads joined forces in order to more economically serve what was percieved as a gradually shrinking pie of railroad business. The "NEW RAILROAD" then proceeded to eliminate and consolidate duplicate facilities and now-redundant trackage with a vengence, a trend that has been perpetuated by Family Lines, Seaboard System and the current CSX...but we've been all over that topic!

-- Bob Venditti (, February 01, 2003.

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