The Consolidated Rail Corp. has announced plans to abandon 22 rail lines totaling 123.9 miles by April 1, barring any protest.
Conrail also said it had placed 34 other lines, totalling 729.9 miles, under scrutiny for possible abandonment.
The freight lines in question have all proven unprofitable in Conrail studies, the fedrally run, financially troubled railway said in a statement from its Philadelphia headquarters.
The 22 lines slated for abandonment are in Indiana, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Most are small stretches of 1 to 10 miles in length, although one 32-mile-stretch from Cuba Junction to River Junction in New York has already been dropped.
Lines are either no longer in use anyway or have been approved for abandonment by officials in the various states affected. They fall into Interstate Commerce Commission Category 1 - Those subject to abandonment.
Final abandonment of those lines, in some cases, will allow states to save money on highway construction projects, the statement said.
The other 34 lines fall into ICC Category 2, those "under study which may be the subject of a future abandonment application because of either anticipated operating losses or excessive rehabilitation costs as compared to potential revenues."
Conrail is filing the proposed actions to the ICC under procedures outlined in the Rail Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976.
The railroad stressed that inclusion in Category 2 "does not mean a final decision has been made to seek abandonment."
Instead, the railroad called for discussions with shippers, state and local officials over the next few months to see if alternatives, such as marketing or operating changes, could make some of the lines more viable.