The Pennsey

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For what it's worth, my two favorite railroads ceased to exist in 1976 and 1998. Times change. The biggest attraction of the Pennsylvania Railroad was that it affected so many people. It served a populous part of the country that was highly industrialized. The area served by the NP was less populated and industrialized, which didn't take away from the uniqueness of the NP, but the following is less for that reason.

The Penn Central, 1968 - 1976, was an economic failure, completely misguided in premise, and totally mismanaged. Yet it served an even larger population and industrial base. Modelers of an earlier era, avoided modeling the PC like it was the plague, but more recently, the PC has attracted quite a following. PC's successor, Conrail, was ultimately an economic success, although initially it did not appear that way. Conrail, though because it served the same region as the PRR and PC, and because it had a neat mix of equipment and services, always attracted a following.

It depends on the individual modeler, but we tend to model what we are familiar with. I could not successfully model the UP, for instance, (or the NP), because I do not have a clue about the UP, or the territory it serves.

Others may hold a different opinion, but that's how I see things.

The PRR had a look and style like no other. They have only a few articulated engines. They were experimental too. That 6-8-6 Turbine was innovative.
Most of the "modern" steam power and the turbines were mechanical nightmares, and economic failures. Looking back, World War Two mortally wounded the PRR, as the Pennsy lost all the momentum gained from the Electrification, CTC and other improvements made before 1942. The railroad ended the war era as a broken giant in a survival mode, and never regained the direction it needed to survive the economic changes of the 50s and 60s. It explains why so many PRR fans and modelers model the 1930 through 1945 era or the so called transition era, which on the Pennsy, ended in 1957, avoiding the 1960 to 1968 era, ( that I model), like a plague.



Well-Known Member
Boris, why would the war of made the PRR a "Broken Giant"? For most industries and the country as a whole the war was Boom Times, not bust.
Boris, why would the war of made the PRR a "Broken Giant"? For most industries and the country as a whole the war was Boom Times, not bust.
Well, for one thing, the government regulators set priorities, and put the kibosh on the modernization that was going on during the recovery phase of the economic slowdown. The railroad had to handle unprecedented traffic, both freight and passenger with aging and obsolescent plant and equipment, along with a constant shortage of labor. Maintenance was deferred, not by economic necessity, but by government regulation. The railroad emerged from the war in need of major capital expenditure to repair and modernize, coupled with a sudden and steep drop in traffic, again both freight and passenger, as well as a need to absorb returning employees with seniority, and discharge wartime temporary help. In 1946 the hundredth anniversary of the PRR, the company lost substantial money. The railroad, during the war, provided many services at cost or gratis, in order to avoid the accusation of profiteering. This may have appealed to American patriotism, but denied the company revenue needed to modernize.
Finally, the industrial base within the service area, began their relocation to the Southeast to reduce labor costs. This coupled with continuous regulation by all levels of government reduced efficiency and made it impossible to respond to changing market trends.

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