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Conrail Start Aided by Teamster Strike

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Conrail, now the countrys largest railroad system, began operations yesterday with a 20 percent increase in frieght due to a nation wide truckers' strike, a railroad official said.

But the new rail system anticipated Teamsters' strike, which took effect simultaneously with the start of Conrail at 12:01 a.m. and no problems resulted from it, said Richard D. Spence, the railroad's predisent and chief operating officer.

"We had tremendous additional frieght from steel, food producers, and many other industries," Spence said.

Spence made the remark following a press conference in which he and Edward G Jordan, Conrail's chairman and chief executive officer explained the rail system created by congress to take over the seven bankrupt lines in the northeast and midwest. Conrail replaced Penn Central, formerly the nations largest line, and the Reading, Erie-Lackawanna, Ann Arbor, Central of New Jersey, Lehigh and Hudson River, and Lehigh Calley Railroads. The new system took over 100,000 employees and 17,000 miles of track from the bankrupt lines.

It also took over the seven bankrupt lines operating loss of $500 million a year. Conrail hopes to turn a profit by 1979.

In the news briefing, Spence said Conrail's first day of operation went "very smoothly." He said "it was almost as if there was no transition at all."

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Friday April 2, 1976