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 scottychaos
Penn Central came into being 40 years ago today.
February 1, 1968.

The first locomotive to ever wear the "worms" was PC SD40 6072,
which was on display 2/1/1968 for PC's "opening ceremony" in Philadelphia.


The unit was originally PRR 6072.

The first brand new units to wear PC paint were PC U33C's 6540-6559, which arrived later in February 1968.
they were originally ordered by the PRR, but were painted for PC and arrived in PC paint after the merger.


Over 500 PC locomotives still exist today, and most of them are still operating!

http://gold.mylargescale.com/Scottychao ... /index.htm

As we all know, Penn Central lasted only 8 short years,
becoming the largest component of Conrail on April 1, 1976.


  by TB Diamond

Thank you for the reminder. One of my favorites from the book THE WRECK OF THE PENN CENTRAL was a caption under the photo of Alfred Perlman and Staunt Sauders shaking hands which read, in part: "Alfred Perlman and Staunt Saunders shaking hands. They came out fighting later". (probably not verbatum. From memory and I haven't seen the caption in over ten years)

  by Dieter
40 years later, the memory of unheated, filthy cars with a nasty crew still sends a chill down my spine. This is a nostalgic chapter of my life that doesn't have any good memorys say for watching from the trackside.

Penn Central passenger trains were a slow, agonizing, intentional slaughter of passenger service. 40 years on, I'm glad we still have passenger service for both commuters and InterCity travellers, and that the likes of Penn Central failed to kill off the concept for all time, as it appeared the intention was at that time.

What an anniversary. Everybody should learn something from it.


  by Jeff Smith
Was it PC that proposed elimination of commuter stops up until New Rochelle or Larchmont?
Last edited by Jeff Smith on Wed Mar 05, 2008 9:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
  by atlpete
I don't dispute that PC was largely for the most part the riding public's nightmare, but it is an indisputeably significant company in US rail history which I believe had one of the most fabulously diverse route maps, engine and car rosters of any road before or after.

It is not enough to dismiss it merely as the remnants of the formerly great NYC/PRR/NH systems as many employees of the PC really tried despite their often wretched upper management's leadership (or lack thereof) to improve things and furthermore made a lot of the hard choices and big improvements that eventually paid off for Conrail. Looking at it as the sum of it's parts rather then the component remnants that it was created out of has been a never-ending source of historic interest to me and apparently now many others.

So not so sadly for me when it's all said and done, I can't think of a single more interesting railroad ever. (EXCEPT for maybe NdeM, Conrail and the PE?)
  by TREnecNYP
NJ transit has a few former PC and CNJ and other transplanted units. Get them now if you wanna see them, because once the dual modes come in, most of the older diesels will be gone. One of my favorite is ex-MILW GP40FH-2 #4138. :-)

- A
  by R36 Combine Coach
TREnecNYP wrote:NJ transit has a few former PC and CNJ and other transplanted units. Get them now if you wanna see them, because once the dual modes come in, most of the older diesels will be gone. One of my favorite is ex-MILW GP40FH-2 #4138.
4138 (still active) is former Rock Island. The MILW unit is 4142. All of the 4200-series units are ex-Penn Central and will be running a while longer.
  by Noel Weaver
For me the Penn Central was a "mixed bag". Things on the New Haven Railroad just prior to the PC takeover were not good
at all and our whole railroad was on the brink of shut down.
Enter Penn Central and somethings got cleaned up early on in the game but harassment of employees also began especially
the operating employees and jobs came off as various cuts were made.
What needed to be done on the former NHRR just seemed to overwhelm the Penn Central and as a result, not enough got
done and later on in the PC period, nothing got done.
There were two benefits, as trains and jobs came off on the former New Haven our seniority expanded to most of the
former New York Central territory east of Buffalo which in time gave us much more variety in where we could work
As operations in Maybrook were cut way back and finally abandoned completely, the employees there had an opportunity to
work in Poughkeepsie, Brewster, Kingston, Selkirk, Weehawken and other places rather than not be working at all. We had
some mighty good railroaders in Maybrook and it was fortunate that they could continue to work even though it was not in
their home terminal any longer.
Almost immediately New Haven employees were given Penn Central passes most of which were good for system wide travel
and I made liberal use of mine to ride many lines in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Michigan as well as all over the east on my
days off.
I 1971 the engineers on the former New Haven pulled a sick out one morning and after that the railroad started working
with the troops much better and the confrontations were fewer and less threatening. After all we were all in the same boat,
we wanted the railroad to work, it was our jobs too.
In closing, we looked to the Penn Central for hope and help and in some ways we came away disappointed. There were many
reasons for the failure, these have been discussed previously and I will not get into it now.
Noel Weaver