Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

The History of the NWP-SWP System

4491 views
48 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • 2,535 posts
The History of the NWP-SWP System
Posted by NWP SWP on Wednesday, January 31, 2018 12:49 PM

Howdy I couldn't sleep last night so I took off typing a bit of history for my railroad...

I did some reading about the USRA and the ICC and found that a Professor William Z. Ripley who worked as a consultant for the ICC recommended a "consolidation" plan known as the "Ripley Plan" and under the Transportation act of 1920 provisions were made for the consolidation... Now taking that bit of real history it gave me a foundation for my story...

I'll post the text of the document in a following post.

 

Steven

Crooner, Imagineer, High School Graduate, living with Aspergers, President of the Republica Pacifica micronation,  President of the NWP-SWP System.

Hook'em Longhorns! 

  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • 2,535 posts
Posted by NWP SWP on Wednesday, January 31, 2018 12:50 PM

The History of the NWP-SWP System

 

The year is 1920 the place a mountain lodge in the Sierra Nevadas...

The leaders of the wests Class I railroads, politicians, and scholars gather around a large table...

"Gentlemen, you have been invited here to discuss the consolidation of the major Class I railroads into a more efficient system Doctor Ripley will explain further."

"We are nearing the resumption of control of the nation's railroads to their original owners prior to the USRAs institution.

The systems are weary from the war and in desperate need of improvement. I propose a consolidation of the major western roads into a unified two part system while retaining the individuality of the current lines. The two new lines will be named the NorthWestern Pacific and SouthWestern Pacific.These two new systems will work in conjunction with the current railroads in a fashion that doesn't monopolizeven the industry west of the Mississippi."

March that year, the USRA relinquishes control of the nation's railroads. Congress begins reviewing the ICCs so called "Ripley Plan". Around this time a representative of the Class I roads of the west approaches the USRA, ICC, and Congress with the combined NWP-SWP system. The argument made by the roads is that by "merging" and pooling resources while maintaining current services and possible expansion of them would be one of the many advantages of the consolidation, in addition faster shipping times and in the event of another world war more efficient handling of freight could be achieved.

And so the precursor to high speed intermodal freight was purposed to help seal the deal.

 

By the end of 1920 all governing bodies agreed to and approved the "merger/consolidation" of the Class Is and so the Great NWP-SWP system was born and acted as a parent company until 1960 after which a complete merger and consolidation occurred forming the largest US rail system.

 

The history of the system is not too different from the prototype history between 1920 and 1960 and eventually specific details for that period will be written. That is all for now!

Steven

Crooner, Imagineer, High School Graduate, living with Aspergers, President of the Republica Pacifica micronation,  President of the NWP-SWP System.

Hook'em Longhorns! 

  • Member since
    September, 2003
  • 6,051 posts
Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, January 31, 2018 2:56 PM

I suggest that it will be MUCH easier if you keep the roads under Federal Control for the duration of any 'pooling' activities.  Wilson famously observed that one of the major reasons for actual USRA establishment was that it permitted pooling, rate agreements and several other things explicitly forbidden to private railroads under the law.

It would make sense to evolve the USRA's somewhat primitive region system to contain 'northwest-Pacific' and 'southwest-Pacific' regions. Some war-bond revenue might be diverted into compensation for one road's infrastructure being formally operated in another, if there were no comparable asset to be traded.  More interesting (although not directly germane to you) would be what happens in the eastern and southern regions to 'match' the evolving patterns in the West.  That might include directed formation of 'co-opeting' systems roughly matching those established in the Ripley plan, carefully selected for specific benefits (like high-wide for Erie and trans-Hudson passenger for PRR).  That gives the ability to essentially optimize the 'fifth system' (specifically, the improved Lackawanna connecting to the Nickel Plate) for high-speed bridge intermodal and express without having to 'subsidize' development of the equipment or clutter its passage with bread-and-butter origin or destination industries or peddler deliveries.  Now... to what, exactly, do these fast trains connect to when they get to their Region's border...

I'd bet the systems would be reprivatized ... after being rebuilt with Government money ... not later than a couple of years into the Coolidge administration.  By then the private-ownership issues that would otherwise cripple pool working would have been resolved, as the larger systems would already be operationally optimized within regions, and an activist ICC would take over (more or less as it did) protecting shippers' rights when there are no formally-competing parallel networks of railroads in many areas of the developing West...

interesting to speculate whether a 'rationalized' set of systems would be so randomly barred from going into intermodal freight and passenger as railroads were.  I have always wondered a bit why the 'fast freight lines' of the post-Civil War era were not re-established to conduct intermodal on the railroads without Sherman or Clayton or Hepburn concerns (we got things like express-oriented REA and, later, TrailerTrain instead) and perhaps in this alternate system that would represent reasonable overlay.

  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • 2,535 posts
Posted by NWP SWP on Wednesday, January 31, 2018 3:41 PM

I'd rather keep it privatized maybe have assistance/affiliation with the USRA and ICC but not have the consolidation performed by an agency that was born out of a war time emergency and if it were to continue it would've been a gross government overreach...

Steven

Crooner, Imagineer, High School Graduate, living with Aspergers, President of the Republica Pacifica micronation,  President of the NWP-SWP System.

Hook'em Longhorns! 

  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • 2,535 posts
Posted by NWP SWP on Friday, February 02, 2018 12:26 AM

Here's a time line that focuses on the 1920, 1940, and 1960 big events in the systems history, I will fill in the years in between as I get further along...

Time line 1920 through 1960...

The first 40 years of the systems existence can be divided into two 20 year periods the first being the age of expansion and the second the age of absorption...

From 1920 to 1940...

March 1920 the USRA returns the railroads to private control.

June 1920 the Class Is approach Congress, ICC, USRA with a plan to merge the Northern Pacific, Western Pacific, and Southern Pacific into one system while retaining their company identities, also provisions were made for an "open door" policy that any Class I could apply for acceptance to the family lines.

July 1920 after a month of negotiations, and with the full support of all concerned parties the consolidation is approved on July 4, 1920.

December 1920 the Great Northern and Milwaukee Road both apply for and are accepted into the system by the end of the year.

January 1921 the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe and the Denver & Rio Grande Western railways apply and accepted into the system.

February 1921 by this time the system has incorporated 6 Class I railroads into its family of lines.

March 1921 it has been one long year since the USRA relinquished control of the railroads back to private control and after a grueling 12 months of reconstruction the railroads are still very worse for wear.

July 1921 the anniversary of the biggest gamble in industrial history the creation of the mega system that is the NWP-SWP system.

 

Fast forward to 1940

The System has survived the depression and actually grew due to the addition of roads that had failed on their own. The war now on the horizon the system and its constituent lines prepare for an experimental high speed multi mode for of freight transport. New high capacity, high speed rolling stock is being prepared, new motive power capable of traveling of several districts over several roads with minimal maintenance are being readied for the impending war effort.

July 1940 the 20th anniversary of the systems creation, and despite critics a non monopoly atmosphere has been maintained and often the rates are much lower than comparable services. The executives announce the new high speed freight service dubbed "The Pacific Fleet"

 

Fast forward to 1960.

 

July 1960 fourty years since it's conception the NWP-SWP system has been permitted to fully consolidate and merge into one unified system no longer consisting of individual railroads pooling their resources in a type of co-operative...

Steven

Crooner, Imagineer, High School Graduate, living with Aspergers, President of the Republica Pacifica micronation,  President of the NWP-SWP System.

Hook'em Longhorns! 

  • Member since
    February, 2008
  • 6,258 posts
Posted by maxman on Friday, February 02, 2018 7:50 AM

NWP SWP
the "Ripley Plan"

That is some interesting information.  Up to this point I thought that the "Ripley Plan" was to keep coming back in sequels to fight new Aliens Alien.

  • Member since
    September, 2003
  • From: Southeast Texas
  • 4,910 posts
Posted by mobilman44 on Friday, February 02, 2018 7:55 AM

Steven,

  As a former teenager, father of 4 adult "kids", and grandfather of several, I am curious as to how you can do all you do.

You are a high school senior, a model railroader, you belong to two clubs, a prolific, innovative and knowledgeable writer on this Forum, and often post late at night, mid day, etc.  How do you do it?

 

ENJOY  !

 

Mobilman44

 

Living in southeast Texas, modeling the "postwar" Santa Fe and Illinois Central 

  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 2,875 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Friday, February 02, 2018 2:31 PM

NWP SWP
with the full support of all concerned parties the consolidation is approved on July 4, 1920

.

You were able to get full support for this from all parties in just four months... you should really get into the corporate negotiations game!

.

Big Smile

.

-Kevin

.

Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • 2,535 posts
Posted by NWP SWP on Friday, February 02, 2018 4:04 PM

Maxman, aliens???

Mobile man, I am homeschooled so my mid day posting is usually when I'm on lunch break... my nighttime posting is because I have insomnia so I put my time to use researching for my railroad....

Kevin, I forgot to mention full support from the unions and shippers and I really only meant that there wasn't really any resistance to the consolidation...

Steven

Crooner, Imagineer, High School Graduate, living with Aspergers, President of the Republica Pacifica micronation,  President of the NWP-SWP System.

Hook'em Longhorns! 

  • Member since
    February, 2008
  • 6,258 posts
Posted by maxman on Friday, February 02, 2018 4:29 PM

NWP SWP
Maxman, aliens???

Sigh.  And here I thought that you knew everything Alien.

Sigourney Weaver starred in a series of movies: Alien; Aliens; Aliens 3; Alien Resurrection.  Her character's name was Ripley.   So I thought that the "Ripley Plan" was to make another movie Alien

  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 2,875 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Friday, February 02, 2018 4:44 PM

NWP SWP
full support from the unions

.

Full support from the UNIONS in four months.

.

I am beginning to think the NWP-SWP exists in a bigger world of nonsense than the STRATTON & GILLETTE!

.

-Kevin

.

Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • 2,535 posts
Posted by NWP SWP on Friday, February 02, 2018 5:48 PM

The unions and shippers were part of the early planning that started long before the end of USRA control and we're on board many months/years before the proposal to the government...

Steven

Crooner, Imagineer, High School Graduate, living with Aspergers, President of the Republica Pacifica micronation,  President of the NWP-SWP System.

Hook'em Longhorns! 

  • Member since
    July, 2017
  • 79 posts
Posted by The Jet Clipper on Friday, February 02, 2018 7:49 PM

Here's what I don't understand; why would the railroads do this?

As a fan of alternate history, there needs to be a major event that would cause the recently privatized railroads to switch back to a government controlled program. 

I think that the Great Depression would make a little more sense for a consolidation of the major Class I's, not the openning of the Roaring 20's, a time of a booming economy. You need to think like the railroads' owners. Why should I put my company back under governmental control when I just got it back? After all, the USRA was created at a time where the a nationalized railroad system was needed (to efficiently support the war effort in Europe) and to set some standards. And, with the sheer scale of the Depresion, the government stepping in and nationalizing the freight railroad market (like they did with Amtrak in the 70's) makes perfect sense in my mind. 

The 1940's is another odd time for experimentation. With WWII a year later, the NWP-SWP system would have been halted by the government for their material usage. That's why there are all of those rebuild programs on many railroads in the mid 40's.

I think this part of the story should be moved to the 60's.

And about that; with LBJ'S "Great Society" funding the Metroliner project, I think that the high capacity, high speed infrastructure development on the Pacific Fleet would fit the bill just right!

There are a few other questions that need answers, primarily:

  • How is the passenger market affected by this?
  • How do the railroads in the East react to this?

The history of this railroad is certainly getting there, and hopefully you can take my advise and impliment it!

  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • 2,535 posts
Posted by NWP SWP on Friday, February 02, 2018 8:33 PM

LBJ is too late for the era I model!

And I specifically stated the government has nothing to do with it in fact in my version of rail history Amtrak was never implemented on my railroad! The USRA was created in a war emergency they attempted to permanently implement it but failed because the general public, shippers, unions weren't happy with that idea... my idea is the railroads under private control took the idea of the USRA and reworked it a little, the Class Is organized the NWP-SWP system as a co-op type organization the railroads pool their resources while retaining their identities and then the NWP-SWP equipment operate system wide...

So it's a private co-op affiliate program "basically"...

Steven

Crooner, Imagineer, High School Graduate, living with Aspergers, President of the Republica Pacifica micronation,  President of the NWP-SWP System.

Hook'em Longhorns! 

  • Member since
    July, 2017
  • 79 posts
Posted by The Jet Clipper on Friday, February 02, 2018 8:51 PM

NWP SWP

 

So it's a private co-op affiliate program "basically"...

 

Ah, okay. I didn't see that you wanted the railroads to remain as separate entities. Sorry about that! 

 

  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • 2,535 posts
Posted by NWP SWP on Friday, February 02, 2018 8:56 PM

It's fine... it's a little confusing...

Steven

Crooner, Imagineer, High School Graduate, living with Aspergers, President of the Republica Pacifica micronation,  President of the NWP-SWP System.

Hook'em Longhorns! 

  • Member since
    September, 2003
  • 6,051 posts
Posted by Overmod on Friday, February 02, 2018 10:04 PM

The thing I still don't see is the 'key' event that makes all these combinations legal, let alone supportable by a government that was highly hostile to overarching merger empire building (compare how the van Sweringens had to do what they did, and how it came apart when their bankers dropped support).  Woodrow Wilson noted as part of the leadup to USRA that under government control railroads could consolidate and pool operations in ways that the government itself could not permit under private control.  You will need to show legislation at least comparable to the Esch Act of 1920 that gives railroads the authority to combine in the ways you find necessary.  And develop a theory of Congressional elections, committee-forming, and so forth that makes such a bold and easily-exploited idea politically possible.  And explain how labor let this go without a peep, during the years famously known in actual history for the Plumb Plan.

I think you have a much harder row to hoe with this than if you kept government control but let groups other than Progressives control its priorities and activities.  Not all government action is inherently evil or anti-business.  I presume you know George Hilton's somewhat interesting thesis (which I think is true for some eras, like the years of the Commerce Court) that established railroads embraced and manipulated government regulation for their benefit.  We might see that here ... but it would have to be crafted, not pretended.

  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • 2,535 posts
Posted by NWP SWP on Saturday, February 03, 2018 12:16 AM

The historical basis for the entire idea is the Esch-Cummins Act which provided for a consolidation plan for the railroads... the idea of the railroads remaining under governments control was widely criticized by the general public, and the idea especially back then reeks of socialism which is what the contract was fighting against in WW1... the railroads knowing this was able to get the shippers and unions on board with the promise of faster shipping schedules, lowered rates, and to the unions better wages and more opportunities for growth and development in their fields...

Therefore the railroads approached the ICC (knowing that they were preparing a consolidation plan) with the idea of a merger/consolidation into a co-op/affiliate organization while remaining privatized was very appealing to the ICC under the Esch-Cummins Act... the way rhe pooling would work is because the railroads were "technically" one company they could pool equipment, funds, manpower, ect while they were detached enough to still offer a competitive market and better services... it's basically the "robber-baron" type empire but instead of one rich guy being the owner a corporate entity owned them...

As I said this is really preliminary and might/will see many changes in the small details, still if you have suggestions please post up!

Steven

Crooner, Imagineer, High School Graduate, living with Aspergers, President of the Republica Pacifica micronation,  President of the NWP-SWP System.

Hook'em Longhorns! 

  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • 2,535 posts
Posted by NWP SWP on Saturday, February 03, 2018 12:22 AM

I forgot to thank MobileMan for his comments that in his words I'm a "prolific, innovative, and knowledgeable writer on the forums" I really appreciate that some of the effort and ideas I put forth are somewhat appreciated... Happy Railroading!!!

Steven

Crooner, Imagineer, High School Graduate, living with Aspergers, President of the Republica Pacifica micronation,  President of the NWP-SWP System.

Hook'em Longhorns! 

  • Member since
    September, 2003
  • From: Southeast Texas
  • 4,910 posts
Posted by mobilman44 on Saturday, February 03, 2018 4:43 AM

You are welcome!   But it is "Mobilman" - as in Mobil Oil............

ENJOY  !

 

Mobilman44

 

Living in southeast Texas, modeling the "postwar" Santa Fe and Illinois Central 

  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • 2,535 posts
Posted by NWP SWP on Saturday, February 03, 2018 2:35 PM

Sorry bout that, my phones spellcheck is a PITR!!!

Steven

Crooner, Imagineer, High School Graduate, living with Aspergers, President of the Republica Pacifica micronation,  President of the NWP-SWP System.

Hook'em Longhorns! 

  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • 2,535 posts
Posted by NWP SWP on Saturday, February 03, 2018 10:22 PM

I found this discussion that is a detailed description of the Esch-Cummins plan...

https://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?11,4188817

Steven

Crooner, Imagineer, High School Graduate, living with Aspergers, President of the Republica Pacifica micronation,  President of the NWP-SWP System.

Hook'em Longhorns! 

  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • 2,535 posts
Posted by NWP SWP on Sunday, February 04, 2018 10:52 PM

I believe someone mentioned "how did the Eastern roads react to this" well one answer could be that the eastern roads were merged in the same fashion into the "Northeastern Atlantic" and "Southeastern Atlantic" systems... just a bit of out loud thinking...

Steven

Crooner, Imagineer, High School Graduate, living with Aspergers, President of the Republica Pacifica micronation,  President of the NWP-SWP System.

Hook'em Longhorns! 

  • Member since
    October, 2001
  • From: OH
  • 16,432 posts
Posted by BRAKIE on Monday, February 05, 2018 7:51 AM

NWP SWP

The unions and shippers were part of the early planning that started long before the end of USRA control and we're on board many months/years before the proposal to the government...

 

Getting any of the railroad brotherhoods or shippers to agree on a merger private or no would be a mircle of the first order.

You see in 1920 the Brotherhoods was still young and distrusted the railroad and the railroad had no great love for the brotherhoods.

Shippers seldom agree to any merger and are the first to scream "Foul!" if the merger stumbles in its transistion days.

Glad things went smoothly in your HO world.

Larry

SSRy

Conductor

“Shut one’s eyes tight or open one’s arms wide, either way, one’s a fool.” Flemeth-the witch of the Wilds.
  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 2,875 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Monday, February 05, 2018 7:58 AM

NWP SWP
the eastern roads were merged in the same fashion into the "Northeastern Atlantic" and "Southeastern Atlantic" systems.

.

This is all starting to sound a lot like railroading in the UK to me.

.

This is more on why the STRATTON & GILLETTE has no backstory. It is way to hard to interject believable fiction into the real world's history. Unless you know a specific business decision that could have gone either way, there are very few points in history where one thing could be different, and not cause 10,000 other things to be different as well.

.

Too much to write.

.

-Kevin

.

Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • 2,535 posts
Posted by NWP SWP on Monday, February 05, 2018 11:30 PM

See that's where factor X comes in or specifically Mr. X

Who is Mr. X well he's a young railroad union bred self made millionaire that is the brains of the whole thing! Ripley merely got the idea from X! And because Mr. X is one of the "brothers" the unions felt they could trust him... far as the shippers go Mr. Xs business history won them over!

There problem solved...

Seriously though, that is a usable answer to the questions posed, right?

Steven

Crooner, Imagineer, High School Graduate, living with Aspergers, President of the Republica Pacifica micronation,  President of the NWP-SWP System.

Hook'em Longhorns! 

  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • 2,535 posts
Posted by NWP SWP on Tuesday, February 06, 2018 11:25 PM

I came up with and alternative idea which is that I constrict the NWP-SWP as an early type of TTX except that instead of just cars locomotives are interchanged...

Steven

Crooner, Imagineer, High School Graduate, living with Aspergers, President of the Republica Pacifica micronation,  President of the NWP-SWP System.

Hook'em Longhorns! 

  • Member since
    September, 2003
  • 6,051 posts
Posted by Overmod on Wednesday, February 07, 2018 12:23 AM

I think this is a much better idea.  It also gets neatly around much of the antitrust, on the one hand, and resistance to full 'iron ocean' shared track and infrastructure on the other.  Certainly a good way to ensure advantages of TOFC, and by extension CZ-style cruise trains with extended routes well greater than any direct set of destination pairs... this explains the 'parallel' operation of legacy-railroad trains while being able to get priority in dispatching and also skimming the 'cream' of premium service ... advertise the **** out of it and be prepared to outsource 'charters' to other successful 'passenger' operators like established cruise-ship companies with extensive lists of dedicated patrons...

  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • 2,535 posts
Posted by NWP SWP on Wednesday, February 07, 2018 12:59 AM

So instead NWP-SWP is an equipment pooling shipper, a co-op/alliance is made between the company and railroads to use track/equipment on their own lines aso well as the lines of other affliate, ally, co-op lines... the trouble is I want a valid excuse for one possibly seeing a MILW or GN unit running over Tehachapi or a SP or ATSF unit running over lookout pass or such is that possible with the indirect approach of just being a co-op company not owning any rail?

Could I alternatively split the history into two (or more) parts I.E. 1920 to 1940 it was merely a pooling company 1940 to 1960 an early super merger where the railroads retained their identities but are owned by and operate with NWP-SWP equipment then 1960 to 1980 full merger time... that timeline can shift easily to 1900 to 1920 and 1920 to 1940 and 1940 to 1960 or 1920 to 1940 and 1940 to 1960 and 1960 to 1980 I would be open to extending modeled equipment all the way to the late 70s Era just so I could run GP30s, SD40-2s, and of course UP super diesels... but really 1940 to 1960 would be the main modeled focus a few things being older and few newer...

Steven

Crooner, Imagineer, High School Graduate, living with Aspergers, President of the Republica Pacifica micronation,  President of the NWP-SWP System.

Hook'em Longhorns! 

  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • 2,535 posts
Posted by NWP SWP on Wednesday, February 07, 2018 1:04 AM

I noticed Canada has no problem with mega systems because they only have the CN and CP I could just say Canada invaded us in WW1 Laugh

Just kidding, but while I'm at it I "could" make Canada the new US frontier and it's Provinces/Territories states!? Just sayin' there are actually provisions in the US Constitution for Canada joining the Union just by saying yes! A leftover from the Revolutionary War Era... it's really late so I better stop babbling...

Steven

Crooner, Imagineer, High School Graduate, living with Aspergers, President of the Republica Pacifica micronation,  President of the NWP-SWP System.

Hook'em Longhorns! 

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Users Online

Search the Community

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!