PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Conrail Inc. agreed late Friday to an amended merger agreement that allows suitors CSX Corp. and Norfolk Southern Corp. to split the railroad and end months of legal and corporate brawling.

The $10.5 billion deal, if approved, ultimately would transform the freight rail system in the heavily congested Northeast, where Conrail has dominated for more than two decades.

``When we initiated our merger with Conrail, we recognized that some concessions would have to be made to Norfolk Southern to ensure that our transaction would result in competitive rail systems in the East,'' said John W. Snow, chairman, president and chief executive officer of CSX.