Discussion relating to the Penn Central, up until its 1976 inclusion in Conrail. Visit the Penn Central Railroad Historical Society for more information.

Moderator: JJMDiMunno

  by Allen Hazen
BR&P, three posts and abut a half dozen years ago, said:
"NYC used the IBM system, with punchcards ..."
There might be an interesting story for a historian of business or technology to follow up on there: this might have been one of the longest relationships of a supplier and customer in the history of the computer business! New York Central was one of "IBM's" FIRST customers. Famously, one of Hermann Hollerith's first customers for his punched card and card reading machine business was the U.S. Census Bureau, to help process the data -- unprecedented amount of data, both because the country was growing and, I think, because the Census Bureau was asking more questions -- from the 1890 Federal census. But one of the first commercial customers was ... the New York Central Railroad! Hollerith's company eventually (around 1920) changed its name to International Business Machines, and gradually advanced its technology, allowing its machines to process the data on punched cards in increasingly complex ways, getting into what we recognize as electronic computers after WW II. If the New York Central was a steady customer -- applying Hollerith/IBM technology to more and more aspects of their business and obtaining better and better machines to do it with -- up to the time of the PC merger, we would have close to an 80 year relationship between the two companies.