Bankers on Thursday climbed on board the $11.5 billion loan backing Norfolk Southern Corp.'s hostile bid for Conrail Inc.

In the first day of the deal, joint-leads J.P. Morgan & Co. and Merrill Lynch & Co. landed commitments from six banks, including Union Bank of Switzerland and Toronto Dominion, of at least $500 million each. More than 90 banks from the United States and abroad attended a meeting at the Plaza Hotel in New York City to evaluate the blockbuster loan.

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