What If The PC Merger Had Been Called Off?

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Re: What If The PC Merger Had Been Called Off?

Postby Jeff Smith » Wed Jan 12, 2011 8:50 am

Passenger ops stopped on that line in the 1930's per a Historic Patterson (NY) web-site linked elsewhere on other threads. What PC freight traffic was left just went up to Selkirk and around the horn at Beacon Junction. Noel is more knowledgable on the amount of traffic that was left; apparently, there was still a good amount into the 1980's, I believe.
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Re: What If The PC Merger Had Been Called Off?

Postby shlustig » Wed Jan 12, 2011 3:16 pm

IIRC, the traffic that ran via the Beacon Branch-Hopewell Jct-Derby amounted to 2 RT's per day:

1 pair (LI-2/LI-1) to the Long Island RR via Oak Point - which allowed a straight shot over the Hell Gate Bridge; and

1 pair (CH-4/CH-3) to New Haven.

Hudson Div. crews handled the LI's and NH crews the CH's. Extras were recrewed at Beacon.
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Re: What If The PC Merger Had Been Called Off?

Postby Matt Langworthy » Sun Jan 23, 2011 5:06 pm

gawlikfj wrote:Thank you all for so many good points of view . The only thing that really bothers me is :Why after the Poukeepsie Bridge fire and the L&HR offered to rebuild the bridge with their own money & equipment didn't the PC let them ?
Would it have helped in any way to keep the Maybrook line open for passenger or any freight ops that were left ?


PC had no interest in letting anyone else haul the NH traffic. Rebuilding the bridge would've have allowed EL to have direct and easy access to the NH traffic again- something PC had been fighting since they absorbed NH in 1969. Besides, the EL merger itself had made the L&HR connection to Maybrook redundant.
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Re: What If The PC Merger Had Been Called Off?

Postby Noel Weaver » Sun Jan 23, 2011 10:05 pm

Matt Langworthy wrote:
gawlikfj wrote:Thank you all for so many good points of view . The only thing that really bothers me is :Why after the Poukeepsie Bridge fire and the L&HR offered to rebuild the bridge with their own money & equipment didn't the PC let them ?
Would it have helped in any way to keep the Maybrook line open for passenger or any freight ops that were left ?


PC had no interest in letting anyone else haul the NH traffic. Rebuilding the bridge would've have allowed EL to have direct and easy access to the NH traffic again- something PC had been fighting since they absorbed NH in 1969. Besides, the EL merger itself had made the L&HR connection to Maybrook redundant.


The EL merger had litte to do with the L & HR. The EL traffic was mainly east and west on their own line while the L & HR traffic was either east and west from the Reading at Allentown or north and south from the Pennsylvania via the Bel Del.
The DL &W had an interchange via the L & HR through Port Morris but that evaported once the Erie and the Lackawanna merged in 1960.
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Re: What If The PC Merger Had Been Called Off?

Postby Matt Langworthy » Mon Jan 24, 2011 10:41 am

Noel Weaver wrote:The EL merger had litte to do with the L & HR. The EL traffic was mainly east and west on their own line while the L & HR traffic was either east and west from the Reading at Allentown or north and south from the Pennsylvania via the Bel Del.
The DL &W had an interchange via the L & HR through Port Morris but that evaported once the Erie and the Lackawanna merged in 1960.


As I understand it, a substantial amount of L&HR's interchange traffic was with the DL&W, which disappeared on October 17th, 1960. Also, the Erie was one of the Reading's two interchange partners at its west end (in Williamsport), so again there was little need for the L&HR after the EL merger.
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Re: What If The PC Merger Had Been Called Off?

Postby Noel Weaver » Mon Jan 24, 2011 8:46 pm

Matt Langworthy wrote:
Noel Weaver wrote:The EL merger had litte to do with the L & HR. The EL traffic was mainly east and west on their own line while the L & HR traffic was either east and west from the Reading at Allentown or north and south from the Pennsylvania via the Bel Del.
The DL &W had an interchange via the L & HR through Port Morris but that evaported once the Erie and the Lackawanna merged in 1960.


As I understand it, a substantial amount of L&HR's interchange traffic was with the DL&W, which disappeared on October 17th, 1960. Also, the Erie was one of the Reading's two interchange partners at its west end (in Williamsport), so again there was little need for the L&HR after the EL merger.


It is not worth wasting my time arguing with somebody who was there, worked for the railroad in Maybrook and seems to know all about Maybrook, the DL & W, Erie and the L & HR.
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Re: What If The PC Merger Had Been Called Off?

Postby Matt Langworthy » Tue Jan 25, 2011 7:56 am

OK, point taken. Please keep in mind that I've agreed with everything else you've said in this discussion, so let's not get too personal. I'd forgotten this thread was about a scenario where PC doesn't exist at all... which is different than NH remaining outside of Penn Central. My 2 reccent posts in this thread were in the latter mindset... which is really a different discussion altogether. Sorry to rile you.
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Re: What If The PC Merger Had Been Called Off?

Postby Noel Weaver » Tue Jan 25, 2011 9:03 pm

Matt Langworthy wrote:OK, point taken. Please keep in mind that I've agreed with everything else you've said in this discussion, so let's not get too personal. I'd forgotten this thread was about a scenario where PC doesn't exist at all... which is different than NH remaining outside of Penn Central. My 2 reccent posts in this thread were in the latter mindset... which is really a different discussion altogether. Sorry to rile you.


No problem!!!! I just had to let off a little steam. All is forgiven.
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Re: What If The PC Merger Had Been Called Off?

Postby wdburt1 » Sat Apr 30, 2011 6:26 pm

goodnightjohnwayne wrote:

I'm inclined to say that Perlman was a very diligent railroader, but he was he did have a number of failings as a modern executive. For instance, I question whether he had a minimal understanding of the incompatibility between the computer systems as the NYC and PRR. Considering that the regulatory delay gave management 5 years to figure out how to combine operations, it is inexcusable that the computer issue wasn't addressed before it created a systemwide disaster. I also question whether Perlman had the financial acumen to fully appreciate the position of the former PRR, even after the merger. There undoubtedly was a level of deception on the part of the CFO, but I still find it hard to believe that Perlman was so entirely ignorant of the perilous financial position of the company?

I just came across this discussion and read it all. Interesting. One of the few posts that I find a little jarring is above. The NYC annual reports for the late 1950s and are 1960s are full of accounts of the railroad's progress in using "cybernetics" (you know, big mainframe computers with MIT graduates tending to them) to work smarter. Most of this stuff we would view today as perfectly ordinary, but back then it was a big deal and not that far removed from the challenges that gummed up Penn Central. So I have a tough time believing that Perlman was asleep at the computer terminal, so to speak. Likewise, a story not often cited is that NYC had about a billion dollars of debt in the late Fifties, a quarter of which was coming due in the next five years. A legacy of the Vanderbilts, if you will. Perlman's team successfully refinanced or paid off all of that $250 million. See the annual reports. NYC VP Finance Walter Grant must have been some sort of genius. So again, I find it hard to believe that Perlman was lacking in this respect. My only suggestion is that the miscommunication and mistrust between Perlman and Saunders may have run deeper than even journalists like Daughen and Binzen supposed, and at some point people just give up.

I am intrigued by suggestions that Herman Pevler was a really good operating guy. In Roger Grant's EL book, IIRC, he is described emphatically by a colleague as simply stupid. It's fairly clear that John Fishwick engineered his removal.
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Re: What If The PC Merger Had Been Called Off?

Postby Allen Hazen » Sat Apr 30, 2011 9:34 pm

Not that the New York Central's tradition of using state-of-the-art computer technology started with Perlman! I have read that when Hollerith first developed punched car tabulating equipment, one of the first users (along with the U.S. Census Bureau, which used Hollerith cards(*) in processing the data from the 1890 census) was the New York Central, which used them in the freight billing department! ... On the larger question, I have just been reading "The Men who Loved Trains," and my impression is that in the period leading up to the PC merger, there were people, particularly on the PRR side, who just didn't want to communicate with their partners-to-be: it's entirely possible that the PRR just refused to give Perlman and the NYC the information they would have needed to make the merger smoother.
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(*) Or, as we called them in my childhood in the 1950s and 1960s, "IBM cards": IBM is the corporate successor of Hollerith's company.
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Re: What If The PC Merger Had Been Called Off?

Postby GulfRail » Mon May 02, 2011 11:59 am

wdburt1 wrote:goodnightjohnwayne wrote:
I am intrigued by suggestions that Herman Pevler was a really good operating guy. In Roger Grant's EL book, IIRC, he is described emphatically by a colleague as simply stupid. It's fairly clear that John Fishwick engineered his removal.


If you check page 257 of "Death of an American Railroad," you'll see notes on why William White said that about Pevler. The main reason he called Pevler "stupid" was because he was frustrated that Pevler refused to merge the EL directly into the N&W and favored the DERECO plan. Fishwick was able to remove Pevler because he was about to hire someone from the C&O to become the new President of the N&W, and he hadn't consulted the board. As a result, Fishwick was able to take advantage of this and take charge of the N&W.
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Re: What If The PC Merger Had Been Called Off?

Postby wdburt1 » Mon May 02, 2011 5:58 pm

OK, that's a good interpretation of the book, and one I had not considered. No one at N&W wanted any part of EL's $350 million debt, intercity passenger trains, commuter service, or NJ taxes. Fishwick conducted a long campaign against assuming these burdens, ultimately overcoming the efforts of White (and after he died, his fellow directors) to persuade and/or compel N&W to do so. Hence Dereco.
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Re: What If The PC Merger Had Been Called Off?

Postby Tommy Meehan » Fri May 13, 2011 10:18 pm

wdburt1 wrote:I just came across this discussion and read it all. Interesting.


I agree though I have folllowed it from the start. Usually these kinds of threads turn into fantasy rather quickly but for the most part this one has maintained an intelligent tone.

Something that comes to my mind was a startling comment I came across by Alfred Perlman. I read it in a microfilmed copy of a Wall Street Journal or Forbes (in other words, a serious business publication) publishd in the mid-1960s. It was unusually revealing as to the attitude of NYC's upper management.

Perlman was conducting a question-and-answer session for share holders at an Annual Meeting in about 1964 or '65. One gentleman's 'question' was that as a longtime NYC share holder he did not like the pending merger with the Pennsylvania.

Perlman replied, "None of us like the merger."

Not surprised he thought it, am surprised he said it!

Perlman went on to say that most of the Eastern roads were lining up to merge into huge carriers and Central had to find itself a partner or risk being encircled, cut off and driven into bankruptcy.
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Re: What If The PC Merger Had Been Called Off?

Postby wdburt1 » Sun May 15, 2011 6:18 pm

That surely was the reality of it.

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Re: Why The PC Merger Wasn't Called Off

Postby Tommy Meehan » Mon May 16, 2011 10:04 am

If you were around back in the early to mid 1960s, you know there was an inevitability about the Penn Central merger. At a certain point you had to make peace with it and accept the fact it was going to happen.

As a fan, if you followed the industry news, you could see events moving towards Penn Central. Perlman calling off the first Pennsylvania-New York Central merger in 1959 to pursue a merger with B&O and then C&O+B&O, and then being rebuffed. Losing the proxy fight for B&O shareholder votes. N&W gathering in NKP and Wabash.

I don't think N&W wanted a merger with Pennsylvania anymore than C&O wanted NYC. The two giant Eastern roads became the two biggest wallflowers at the merger dance. No other railroad wanted them. So after Perlman realized C&O+B&O+NYC was not going to happen, and fearful that Pennsy might yet somehow wangle it's way into a PRR+expanded N&W merger, Perlman restarted the PRR+NYC proposal.

It was inevitable. Nothing could or would have stopped it from happening.

After a time the people at the top even seemed to convince themselves it would work. The NYC employees I knew -- mostly rank-and-file guys -- thought it was insane.

Blame it on the times. :)
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