Posts Tagged ‘Penn Central’

Railroading as it Once Was: Black & White Image for a Black & White Railroad

February 15, 2017

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Penn Central locomotives were not known for their flashy livery. They had a minimalist black and white appearance with the PC herald affixed to the nose and the flanks.

Yet many photographers would love to be able to go back in time to see Penn Central again, if for one day.

We can’t do that, but we do have multiple images from the Penn Central era to remind us of another time.

PC F7A No. 1865 leads a train through Akron over tracks that have received minimal maintenance in recent years. The unit was built in October 1952 for the New York Central.

Photograph by Roger Durfee

Penn Central’s Stock Certificates Were Elaborate, Colorful, But Today are Mere Collector’s Items

January 27, 2017

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When Penn Central filed for bankruptcy protection in June 1970 it was not only the largest business failure in America to date, but it rendered stock in the beleaguered company all but worthless.

One footnote to the Penn Central story is that when the New York Central and Pennsylvania railroads merged on Feb. 1, 1968, the company was officially known as the Pennsylvania New York Central Transportation Company, a name that didn’t last long and was shortened to Penn Central Transportation Company.

As seen above the stock certificates came in two colors, blue and brown. Shareholders also had the option of mixing the two shades.

Not unlike many stock certificates, Penn Central stock had an elaborate appearance, featuring a profile of the Roman god Mercury. He was the god of financial gain, commerce, messages/communication, travelers, boundaries, luck, trickery and thieves.

Given some of the financial shenanigans that PC management practiced during their trouble company’s life, perhaps the choice of Mercury was appropriate given their embrace of the latter two of Mercury’s traits.

Mercury appears amid scenes of a city skyline and various forms of transportation.

Because the PRR was the nominal survivor of the merger, it’s date of origin is listed toward the top on the right hand side.

From a legal perspective, the PRR had changed its name to Pennsylvania New York Central Transportation Company.

That didn’t last long. On May 8, 1968, the company name changed to Penn Central Transportation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Penn Central Company.

For awhile, PC paid dividends to stock holders in an effort to create the illusion of success.

In reality, the railroad ran up a deficit of $2.8 million in its first year and it only grew from there, reaching $83 million in 1969. On June 21, 1970, PC entered bankruptcy proceedings.

At the time, Penn Central was the nation’s sixth largest company.

We all know that many of the railroad operations of PC were turned over to Consolidated Rail Corporation on April 1, 1976. Some PC lines not picked up by Conrail were saved, but others simply never saw rail service again and were eventually abandoned.

Penn Central Company survived the bankruptcy. It had considerable real estate holdings and eventually evolved into a financial services and insurance company later known as American Financial Group.

Today, Penn Central stock is a collectors item. One website that deals in old stocks and bonds is offering PC stock certificates online for $6.95, marked down from $10.95. On eBay, PC stock certificates on Thursday ranged in asking price from $2.19 to $8.19.

The stock certificates shown above are from the collection of Jack Norris.

Penn Central Memories Bleeding Through

January 16, 2017
A double set of Penn Central mating worms logos can be seen on the nose of a former New York Central E8A rusting away in the collection of the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum in Bellevue.

A double set of Penn Central mating worms logos can be seen on the nose of a former New York Central E8A rusting away at the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum in Bellevue.

Penn Central disappeared as a railroad on April 1, 1976, when many of its railroad assets were absorbed by the newly-formed Consolidated Rail Corporation.

But Penn Central as a corporate entity continued to exist because it had extensive real estate holdings.

The railroad of the name Penn Central is far better known than the Penn Central Corporation, which continue to hold and manage the non-rail assets owned by the railroad that Conrail didn’t want.

A decade after Penn Central, the railroad, ceased to operate, Penn Central, the corporation, continued to sell and manage those assets. It even reorganized itself on Oct. 24, 1978, when it adopted the Penn Central Corporation moniker, and on March 28, 1994, when it was renamed American Premium Underwriters.

That suggests an insurance company, which is exactly what it was. It had its headquarters in Cincinnati and later was acquired by American Financial Group.

But enough history of Penn Central the financial company. Penn Central the railroad best known for seeking bankruptcy protection in June 1970 still lives if you look for it.

You can find vestiges of PC in the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum as well as on the sides of covered hopper cars.

I present here a gallery of Penn Central memories that were still living that I found in the past year and a half at various locations in Ohio.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

Look closely and you'll find evidence of the Pennsylvania Railroad, Penn Central, Conrail and the Wheeling & Lake Erie. The car is shown sitting on the lead to a grain elevator in Monroeville.

Look closely and you’ll find evidence of the Pennsylvania Railroad, Penn Central, Conrail and the Wheeling & Lake Erie. The car is shown sitting on the lead to a grain elevator in Monroeville.

The Penn Central logo is bleeding through over a Pennsylvania Railroad keystone logo.

The Penn Central logo is bleeding through over a Pennsylvania Railroad keystone logo.

A covered hopper in the consist of a Norfolk Southern train at Marion still wears its PC green and markings.

A covered hopper in the consist of a Norfolk Southern train at Marion still wears its PC green and markings.

Two for One

December 1, 2016

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It is early in the Penn Central era (1968 or 1969), and PC 1665 (Notice the red “P” and white “C”) and New York Central 1666 are leading a northbound PC freight heading to Hudson. Is this an image of the ex-Erie Lackawanna Akron passenger station when it was still in use or a distant image of two F’s? You be the judge.

Article and Photographs by Robert Farkas

When PC 4321 Did Not Look So Rusty

November 25, 2016

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I enjoyed seeing the recent posting of the photo of the former Penn Central E unit in Bellevue. I’ve attached a side-by-side I put together of the same unit from when I shot it in the late 1970s over in E-Port, New Jersey, to today’s look in Bellevue (Remember my Rust Never Sleeps ARRC blog entry from a while back?). As a note, this unit is NOT part of the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum. It is privately owned. Hope that everyone had a great Thanksgiving.

Photographs by Roger Durfee

 

Railroading as it Once Was: Penn Central Begins to ‘Invade’ the Erie Lackawanna in Akron

November 3, 2016

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It didn’t take long for solid sets of Penn Central power to start showing up on former Erie Lackawanna lines. The new Conrail is only a few weeks old in this April 1976 photo in Akron. A westbound on the former EL has a neat PC GP38-2, SD-45, C636 trio as it waits for railroad at Voris Street. EL pup No. 408 is sorting a few cars out on the McCoy Street yard lead. The tracks the trains are on are long gone.

Article and Photograph by Roger Durfee

When N&W Still Had an AC&Y Look

November 2, 2016

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Here is another glimpse of the past in black and white as captured by Akron Railroad Club member Robert Farkas.

In the top image, even though the Akron, Canton & Youngstown was taken over by the Norfolk & Western i 1964, AC&Y diesels were still in service.

It is 1967 or 1968 and AC&Y 506 and 500 could still be found at the Akron engine facility. Both are rare FM H20-44 models with AC&Y 506 in blue and AC&Y 500 in yellow and black.

In the bottom image, Bob is standing on the bridge over Penn Central’s Collingwood Yard in Cleveland, which could provide a great view of the shops and yard.

PC 1788 in fresh paint and New York Central 1840 are at the head of a westbound train in this 1968 or 1969 view. Stored next to the shops are three lines of Alcos and EMD units.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

Before Fallen Flags, Loco Builders Had Fallen

October 18, 2016

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In the late 1960s a railfan in Northeast Ohio daily encountered what to us are now fallen flag railroads and fallen flag builders.

In the top image, Brewster, Ohio was “little Hagerstown” for several years because so many Western Maryland locomotives could be found there.

Up to 10 WM locomotives could be seen there on a given day. Here WM Nos. 3579 and 3578 occupy a service track in the late 1960s.

At the beginning of Penn Central, ex-New York Central Baldwin road switchers were common in the Canton-Massillon area.

In an early Penn Central view, NYC No. 8067 works the ex-Pennsylvania Railroad yard in Massillon north of MACE tower whose roof can be seen above the second gondola.

Article and Photographs by Robert Farkas

Railroading as it Once Was: Finding a Pure Erie Lackawanna Power Set Passing Warwick Tower

October 13, 2016

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Right from the get go Conrail started routing trains off the former Erie Lackawanna main, using a connection built between the Penn Central and EL in Akron to access the former PC Ft Wayne Line in Orrville using the Cleveland-Akron-Columbus between the two.

As power was being mixed up real fast, one of my early goals was to catch a set of EL power passing the Penn Central tower at Warwick (Clinton) along that CA&C route.

I figured that would show the merger as good as anything.

Anyway, after several tries and trains in the first couple weeks of April 1976 I got lucky and caught a pure set of EL power passing the former PC tower. Mission accomplished.

Today the tower still stands and is used by CSX signal people, but the track the train is on is long gone. Photograph scanned from a Kodacolor negative.

Article and Photograph by Roger Durfee

Just Another Day on NYC, N&W in late ’60s

October 1, 2016

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Here are two more black and white images from Northeast Ohio. This series will try to capture day-to-day scenes from 1967 to no later than 1972.

In the top image, New York Central No. 1810 heads east on the NYC mainline east of Cleveland sometime in 1968 or 1969. The GE behind 1810 looks like it has Penn Central on its side.

In the other image, Norfolk & Western No. 2047 sits dead around the turntable at the N&W Brewster engine facility. She is more than likely being parted out as I believe she was in the scrap line later on in 1967 or 1968.

Photographs by Robert Farkas