A day late, but 50 years ago yesterday, the Pennsylvania and New York Central railroads ceased to exist, being merged into the Penn Central system. A merger that was started in the early sixties, finally culminated after many years of planning, squabbles, negotiations, and court battles. Formed from two companies that were already struggling somewhat, this merger had high hopes, but was probably doomed from the start.
Many factors led to the bankruptcy scarcely two years later, among them squabbles and animosity between the “red” and “green” teams. Even the two at the top couldn’t stand each other. Another factor which doomed the railroad was the regulatory climate at the time. Had deregulation happened sooner, PC might still be a viable rail system today. Deregulation came about later which allowed Conrail to flourish where PC couldn’t and didn’t have a chance. Even severe weather played a part in the downfall of Penn Central.
As Penn Central fans, look for many articles this year in major magazines including the PCRRHS magazine the “POST” about the 50th anniversary of Penn Central. Finally, a shout out has to go to the previous head of Norfolk Southern, Wick Moorman, for bringing about all the heritage locomotives, including those representing PRR, NYC, and of course, the PC unit….