North or west of Detroit? Sure. But not Detroit.
Detroit is the 18th largest metropolitan area in North America with 4.2 million people. It is the 6th largest metropolitan area in the US east of Chicago. If they give it up it would be difficult to ever get it back.
How would the much touted Conrail shared assets be distributed. Likely taken over entirely by the NS.
CSX has the on-line auto loading facility in New Boston and intermodal traffic from Detroit. They also have access to plants on Conrail shared assets. These would all seem to fit their new vision of direct point-to-point trains.
Their Detroit competition today is CN, CP and NS. The first two don't have a major presence in the eastern US, correct? (except for perhaps NY/NJ). If CSX gives up on Detroit, they would leave the potential for freight to and from eastern US mostly to their competitor NS. Why would they do it?
And one more point, why would CSX sell the Plymouth-Porter (via Grand Rapids line) to anyone that might let the BNSF or UP use it
for through trains? That would not be smart for CSX's business. If it got to that point, they would probably tear out a 10 mile chunk somewhere in the middle first to eliminate that possibility.
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