Tuesday, March 15, 2016

"The Voice" of Conrail

Pawing through a file of old Conrail-related items, looking for something else. I recently ran across this hard copy of an email I had received from CR Philadelphia headquarters on May 19, 1993, when I was Area Manager - Industrial & Market Development, Asset Development Department, based in Dearborn, MI. 

Shortly after this announcement, whenever someone called Conrail's 800 number from anywhere, my recorded voice greeting and instructions would guide the caller through the prompts to reach the right department or business marketing group. With Big Blue coming up on the 40th anniversary of its creation on April 1, I feel honored to have not only located new industries and secured new revenue shipments for the enterprise during my 13 years and 4 months on the payroll, but also to have been chosen to playthis small, enjoyable and unusual role in Conrail's history.

Though I had also saved the script sent from HQ that I ultimately recorded, I have not seen that in my 'Conrail things saved' files, yet. I kinda' wish, now, that I had saved an audio file of it, too. There were another 28 'voices' that auditioned, that I know of, and I was proud to have worked with them all as fellow employees, during my time with Conrail.

Less than a half-dozen years later, Conrail would be divided up between its two major eastern rivals, and its 'voice' would be silenced, forever. Except for those who continued on with the jointly-held Conrail Shared Assets terminal areas in Michigan, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the rest of us would become what are now affectionately known as "ex-Cons".

In its finals years, Conrail was a powerhouse in the industry and a standard against which some very large, important shippers later said their other rail carriers had been measured. The two acquiring roads launched a fierce bidding war for the CR 'franchise', and ultimately, each was willing to pay a considerable premium to buy just a portion of what Conrailers across the system had built. From the ashes of the bankrupts in 1976, it had become a great place to work and its people were the best. I cherish my memories of that time and am grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of it.