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Conrail, or to give it its full (but rarely used) title, the Consolidated Rail Corporation, is an American railroad company formed in 1976 by the Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act under government control as a merger of six bankrupt north-eastern railroads, which were:

  1. Central Railroad of New Jersey
  2. Erie Lackawanna Railroad
  3. Lehigh & Hudson River Railroad
  4. Lehigh Valley Railroad
  5. Penn Central Railroad
  6. Reading Railroad

Conrail instituted a government-backed rebuilding of the heavily run-down railroad infrastructure and rolling stock it inherited, and by the end of the 1970s things were much improved on that front. The fundamental issue of over-regulation facing the north-eastern railroad industry was addressed by the Staggers Act of 1980, allowing the railroad a chance to become profitable, which it did in short order; by 1981 the railroad was turning a profit.

In 1987 the US government sold its controlling interest in Conrail for $1.9 billion, the largest initial public stock offering in the nation's history at that time.

In 1997, the two railroads Norfolk Southern and CSX presented a proposal to jointly acquire Conrail and divide most of the assets between the two companies. The buyout was approved by the Surface Transportation Board and took place on June 6, 1998.

Conrail continues to serve in areas to operate assets that the Norfolk Southern and CSX agreed to share (known as "CSAO" (Conrail Shared Asset Operations)). Conrail currently serves the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Detroit, Michigan, and New York City areas.

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