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 Otto Vondrak

Does anyone know the advertising agency that was involved in the Penn Central logo design and application? I am looking for information on how the logo was developed, why they chose the green color, etc. Does anyone know when the name "Penn Central" was finalized?



  by H.F.Malone
I think it was an outfit called Lippincott & Margulies in NY.
  by mdamico23
I think it was the McMahon & Tate Advertising Agency... :) LOL...

Seriously, I think it was Lippincott & Margulies, who probably charged the RR a mint for picking a basically black and white paint scheme...


  by Otto Vondrak
Lippincot's web site does not show a sample of Penn Central....


but they do show Amtrak!



  by TomNelligan
Regarding the name, I don't know off the top of my head when it became "official" in a corporate sense, but just about from Day 1 of pre-merger planning the proposed Pennsylvania-New York Central Transportation Company was universally referred to as Penn Central.

Similarly, the proposed Great Northern Pacific & Burlington quickly mutated into Burlington Northern.

  by Otto Vondrak
Yes, the name is well documented. I found the agency that worked on the Penn Central logo, but have got no response from them yet.


  by blocktruck

You seem to be a serious student of transport graphics, so I will share what little I know at the risk of being flamed by those who know less. (It HAS happend.)

I cannot tell you anything about L&M's work or what colors they (may have) specified, but ...

In February of 1969 the railroad settled on freight, passenger, and locomotive colors and the office of the Chief Mechanical Officer (Herron) issued directives for shops to paint:

locomotives Brunswick Green (his words, not mine) LEDG (locomotive enamel, dark green) not DGLE (sorry SPFs) with black trucks and underbodies,

passenger cars Hunter Green (New Haven Hunter Green),

and freight cars Deepwater Green (most types) or gray (certain types of covered hoppers).

If I remember correctly, the freight car lettering was originally spec'd black, but like two or three days later that was amended to white on green cars. Probably just a lack of specificity about black lettering on gray cars, I don't know, but we have lots of photos of Deepwater green cars with black lettering.

There is no indication that the builders were told to paint new locomotives anything other than black. Brunswick green was for repaints because it tended to hide surface defects better than black.

  by Otto Vondrak
Interesting information, thank you!

I have seen early publicity photos from 1968 that show "jade green" boxcars with black graphics. I think they just saw how white graphics showed up better. And we all know that in later years Penn Central freight cars were nearly any shade of green from jade to a shade close to BN's Cascade dark green...


  by motor
Some may disagree, but I always liked the "worm" logo and accompanying eurostile(?) lettering. I also liked the white on green color scheme. The logo to me suggested motive power, the active word being "power", and in the case of Metroliner consists, speed as well. The PRR keystone would have looked out of place on a Metroliner. The "worm" logo said "Metroliner".

Then again, I aged from 6 and a half to 14 and a half during the time of PC and hardly rode it, except the occasional commuter train to Philadelphia. (I rode AMTK one time during the time of PC, from PHL to NYP to see the Eagles and Giants play at Yankee Stadium.) So I saw (and occasionally read about) PC through the eyes of a youngster/adolescent.


  by Dieter
The firm may not have responded to Otto due to a desire to not be associated with the fiasco called Penn Central (you never know).

Jade Green, Brunswick paint, etc. Clearly, the Penn Central was out to do something I was told at the time they were doing; utilizing every existing resource on hand, avoiding expenditure of funds. They had that paint, they were going to use it all up.

Logo; yes, it was pretty "Hip" at the time, it was futuristic at a time when everybody was being honed to strive for the future. The railroad needed a bright future which the modernistic logo couldn't live up to.

Stupid Question Time. Who presently owns the rights to;

1) The Penn Central "MATING WORMS" logo?

2) The New York Central Red & Blue Ovals, and the final CIGAR BAND logo?

3) The PRR Keystone logo?

From Walther's catalogs, It would seem that CSX has the NYC logos rights nailed down, I don't know about the Penn Central worms.

PC played around with multiple paint schemes, again I believe more as an effort to use paint on hand than as "Test Marketing"! The strangest paint scheme I've ever seen of theirs was on models and put on a VIA Rail (Nee-CN) Alco at the Danbury Museum (Connecticut, USA); Black with White and a reddish and white worm logo. I have to say that I NEVER saw that scheme on a Penn Central train, and I'm wondering if that was exclusive to a certain area?


  by motor
Folks, could you have come up with an alternative to the worm logo?

My logo, if it couldn't be the worm, might have some form of P with the C somehow hooked through the loop of the P. One letter could be Tuscan red and the other maybe black. Just guessing...


  by Dieter
The Mating Worms was a pretty slick creation in it's day, but what else did they come up with before making a decision? What about a fusion of the Keystone and Cigar Band, like an overlay?

They took from both, but I can't help but wonder if there was ever any thought given to renaming the railway something totally different? Somebody knows the truth and I doubt they put much effort into a name before PENN CENTRAL was decided upon.

The seeds for failure were sown before the miscarriage they called a birth and to speculate they had a positive outlook on creating something new is to give the people involved too much credit. They used old paint, the Metroliner logo was already created by the Pennsylvania's resources.

They merged and it was dumped, like that was the intention all along.


  by EastCleveland
Otto Vondrak wrote:Yes, the name is well documented. I found the agency that worked on the Penn Central logo, but have got no response from them yet.
I'd be surprised if you get a response that contains any useful information -- if you get an response at all. Advertising agencies are notorious for their "revolving doors." It's unlikely that anyone now working at the agency was there during the Penn Central years. On average, advertising agency employees tend to be 25-35 years old, so it's a safe bet that most of the current crop had yet to be born.

  by James Kissinger
I was recently asked by a person restoring a PC N-11 caboose if I had any records showing the DuPont Paint Code for the PC green. I'm guessing an N-11 would have been painted Deepwater Green? Anyone have these codes?

  by motor
motor wrote:Some may disagree, but I always liked the "worm" logo and accompanying eurostile(?) lettering. I also liked the white on green color scheme.
And, as I approach my 46th birthday, I still like the logo and the white on green white scheme (with the white on black scheme as a strong runner-up).

Two other schemes, depicted on pages 34-35 (faded yellow, almost buff like [the shade of the New Jersey state flag or the diamond on the Delaware flag]) and page 137 (red P-white C on black) of Penn Central Railroad by Peter Lynch, part of the MBI rail history series, looked downright awkward in comparison IMO. Though I guess they were products of using the paint on hand, as someone stated earlier on this thread.