Old Railroad Giants in Battle of Merger By ROBERT STRAND -'i,;SAN FRANCISCO (UP!)--Two historic western railroad giants are at it again--battling to get bigger. Southern Pacific and Santa Fe, who once fought their battles with bullets and ballots, engage each other with batteries of barristers Monday in a hearing to determine which one can take over control of a third Â·railroad, Western Pacific. Southern Pacific is already the nation's biggest railroad moneymaker and Santa Fe has 13,000 miles of track. .And the prize is WP, a financially sound line 1,189 miles long. WP's importance lies in the fact it is a connecting link in the - Transcontinental Overland Route through the gateway of Utah. It also is link over the Bieber Route for north-south traffic on the Pacific Coast. * * * * T H E PRESENT dispute broke out last October when SP .disclosed it had acquirec i'0:jer cent of the WP stock and; would seek control. Â· Within two weeks Santa Fe bought up 20 per cent o the stock and said it woulc seek control rather than se WP taken over by SP. Neither can take over w: without permission of the in terstate Commerce Commis slo'n!' The ICC has said it in terjt($ to encourage railroa consolidations in the interes of'ec'onomy and efficiency. So the ICC opens a hea ing Monday into the prob lem. It is expected to hear th ' views of several eastern rai loads, at least eight sta Â· .utility commissions and tl UfS. Justice and Agricultu Departments as well as tl involved and their arties iends. * * * * SANTA FE and SP have 'orked hard for favorable Mnions from their friends, very sizable city in the area as been canvassed and more han 2,000 civic groups, cards of supervisors, labor rganizations, shipping asso- iations and farm groups ave taken stands on the sub- ect. Western Pacific, w h i c h ays it is making money and vould prefer to remain inde- lendent, takes the side of its listoric partner, Santa Fe. "he railroad says the merger ever is running so high that t probably would be only a matter of time before it would )e gobbled up. Both SP and Santa Fe say :hey would operate WP as an ndependent firm. The arguments are so complex that the ICO is not expected to rule on the subject until late next year. And then, lawyers say, there is a good chance the whole thing will be gone over again in the courts. HAVE YOUR OWN HOME by summer! You will find the home of your dreams in "Homes for Sale" in Classified, the town's marketplace of available property. FREE GIFTS! OPEN YOUR ACCOUNT NOW AND CHOOSE ONE OF THESE LOVELY FREE GIFTS! Limit one gift per account or addition. Sorry, only Blire Chip Stamps will be mailed. FOR HEW ACCOUNTS OR ADDITIONS OF $1,000 OR MOREr FREE 2 tier Hostess cart, perfect for indoor and outdoor living FREE Ice Bucket E qt. Imported Italian Aluminum -FREE TV Lamp A decorator masterpiece Blue Chip Stamps Up to 1,050 stamps TRANSFER YOUR ACCOUNT NOW! 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