40 years ago today, March 31, 1976 was the last day of operations for the Penn Central Railroad. Tomorrow the Consolidated Rail Corporation "Conrail" would take over. After eight tumultuous years the PC would become a fallen flag. So today we are focusing on a 1/87th scale tribute to the men and women who kept the trains rolling thru some of the darkest railroading times ever witnessed.
The Penn Central was a merger of two struggling class 1 railroads, the New York Central and Pennsylvania RR who for almost a century were bitter rivals. A strange marriage indeed. Consummated on February 1, 1968 after years of ICC hearings the PC struggled from the beginning. In 1969 the ICC forced the perpetually bankrupt New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad into the PC stable. In the first quarter of 1970 the PC would report a loss of over 100 million dollars on it's rail operations. The company was on the ropes to say the least. On June 21, 1970 the unthinkable happened. The PC declared bankruptcy after 872 days of existence. For the next almost six years it would operate under court appointed trustees.
This blog entry is to celebrate the dedicated men and women who's continued employment was sketchy at best but who persevered through all the negative aspects of this fallen behemoth to provide rail service over 19,000 miles of freight trackage, while operating 65% of Amtrak's passenger services.
It also needs to be noted that during the time I have been involved with this blog and the exploration of the Penn Central I have made some very good friends who I am able to share the hobby and love of the PC with. These include Neal M, (AKA 1/87th scale Sir Neal Himself), Ralph V (AKA PC Ralph) and Ed W (AKA Engineer Ed). Having these three "train buddies" has made an enjoyable endeavor even more so. I look forward to even more exchanging of ideas and barbs about this and that and exploring the PC even further .
In 2012 I also started to repaint some of my rolling stock into Penn Central and New York Central paint schemes