"Unlikely PC" Website-Lots of Detail Info

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"Unlikely PC" Website-Lots of Detail Info

Postby umtrr-author » Wed Oct 13, 2010 7:53 am

Cited on one of the YahooGroups to which I belong, thought I'd pass it on to the gang here:

http://www.unlikelypcrr.com/index.html

From the home page:

This is a labor of love, an attempt to archive the paper history of the Penn Central Railroad online. Follow the links above to the archive pages.

The “unlikely” part of this site’s domain name derives from the fact that your very amateur archivist resides in Northern California...
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Re: "Unlikely PC" Website-Lots of Detail Info

Postby Allen Hazen » Wed Oct 13, 2010 4:19 pm

Thanks for posting that link! I've just glanced at the site, and learned one thing already: in 1974, Robert Reid thought PC was ordering an additional 18 U23B. (Suggesting an alternative-history initial Conrail roster that would bring joy to a GE-fan's heart: ex-PC U23B 2700-2794, with additional U23B perhaps numbered in the 1900 series like actual world B23-7: 1900-1911, ex-LV, 1912-1931, ex EL, 1932-1941 bought new!)
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Re: "Unlikely PC" Website-Lots of Detail Info

Postby Jersey Jeff » Thu Nov 04, 2010 1:46 pm

Wow, thanks for posting. The Metrolines magazine is really a great window into the late 60s/early 70s.
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Re: "Unlikely PC" Website-Lots of Detail Info

Postby Noel Weaver » Fri Nov 05, 2010 2:57 am

Take whatever you read from Robert Reid with a "grain of salt". There are many things that he wrote over the years that were not accurate and his stuff is not a good source of historical information. I got rid of most of the stuff from this individual quite a few years ago. He knew more about the Pennsylvania than he did about the New York Central and the New Haven.
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Re: "Unlikely PC" Website-Lots of Detail Info

Postby umtrr-author » Mon Nov 08, 2010 7:37 am

I don't know who Robert Reid is... the website owner is shown as Paul Weiss. I do see a "PC Diesel Spotters Guide" PDF on the website credited to Reid.

The website appears to be primarily a digital repository of PC paper artifacts for "primary research" purposes. I don't know how much commentary is wrapped around them.
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Re: "Unlikely PC" Website-Lots of Detail Info

Postby Allen Hazen » Mon Nov 08, 2010 3:02 pm

umtrr-author:
Noel may know more about Robert Reid than I do. Reid, in the 1970s and 1980s, ran a magazine, "PC Railroader," name changing to "Rails Northeast" after Conrail took over. I think it was basically a one-man operation. It printed stuff that seems as if had been salvaged from railroad files (much of it PRR, I guess, as Noel suggests) without much commentary: useful. Sometimes less useful than it could have been because it was undated... which makes it a bit harder to appreciate things like lists of locomotive assignments.

His name came up in connection with the site because the site reproduces one of his books-- a photo-roster of PC locomotives. ... Reid was not scholarly, and he seems to have printed rumors and facts indiscriminately, but I had the sense that he was trying hard to produce a magazine that would be interesting to the serious railroad follower, and he did print some nice things (track and equipment diagrams, etc).
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Re: "Unlikely PC" Website-Lots of Detail Info

Postby umtrr-author » Mon Nov 08, 2010 10:13 pm

Thanks, Allen. I suspect that both you and Noel know a lot more about Reid than I do.

At least I have heard of "Rails Northeast." I think my dad has a few random copies somewhere in the archives.
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Re: "Unlikely PC" Website-Lots of Detail Info

Postby Allen Hazen » Tue Nov 09, 2010 4:27 pm

I don't know much more about Reid. I have a soft spot for his magazine: I first got seriously interested in railroads in the 1970s, when I was living in Pittsburgh, and PC and its woes were the biggest thing on my railroad horizon. I subscribed to the magazine into the 1980s (and-- since I thought it might well be hard to find-- kept my old copies when I was throwing out old issues of "Trains"), and got the impression (from his comments, and letters to subscribers trying to raise funds) that he was struggling to stay afloat and keep the magazine going.
--
Noel and I started discussing Reid's reliability after I noticed a historical curiosity in one of the Reid items reproduced on the site: see "Third U23B Order?" string on this forum for details. (And thank you for the link to the site!)
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Re: "Unlikely PC" Website-Lots of Detail Info

Postby Jay Potter » Thu Nov 11, 2010 7:47 am

Although I never met Bob Reid, I regularly contributed articles and photos to his publications and corresponded with him during most of his publishing period. After more than 30 years, I don't recall much about whatever issues we discussed -- except that I could not rely on him to credit photos correctly. Many of the photos that I submitted were from negatives that I had acquired from other people; and Bob regularly credited photos by one photographer to another photographer.

But one observation that I made throughout my dealings with Bob was that no one else was doing what he was doing. There were several people who started publishing magazines about railroads in which I was interested; and I don't believe that any of them continued their efforts for as long as Bob continued his efforts.

To me, Bob's work seems very inadequate when judged by today's standards; however I think that his publications filled a need that existed at the time when he was producing them. I have no way of knowing how much effort he devoted to his publications; however it was certainly more than I would have been willing to devote.
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Re: "Unlikely PC" Website-Lots of Detail Info

Postby Noel Weaver » Thu Nov 11, 2010 3:51 pm

Jay Potter wrote:Although I never met Bob Reid, I regularly contributed articles and photos to his publications and corresponded with him during most of his publishing period. After more than 30 years, I don't recall much about whatever issues we discussed -- except that I could not rely on him to credit photos correctly. Many of the photos that I submitted were from negatives that I had acquired from other people; and Bob regularly credited photos by one photographer to another photographer.

But one observation that I made throughout my dealings with Bob was that no one else was doing what he was doing. There were several people who started publishing magazines about railroads in which I was interested; and I don't believe that any of them continued their efforts for as long as Bob continued his efforts.

To me, Bob's work seems very inadequate when judged by today's standards; however I think that his publications filled a need that existed at the time when he was producing them. I have no way of knowing how much effort he devoted to his publications; however it was certainly more than I would have been willing to devote.


I have no doubt that he believed in what he was doing and felt that he filled a need. I suspect it was probably a one man operation as well. He probably would have better if he had involved some others in his operation especially people whom had more knowledges in the areas that he knew little about.
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Re: "Unlikely PC" Website-Lots of Detail Info

Postby Jay Potter » Thu Nov 11, 2010 5:09 pm

Noel Weaver wrote:I suspect it was probably a one man operation as well.

Yes, I'm sure that it was. And I think -- but after the passage of time, I'm not sure -- that he ended his publishing efforts because he decided that he could no longer afford to subsidize the publications financially, not because he decided that he had more important things to do. I don't believe that I ever knew what he did for a living; but I have occasionally wondered what happened to him after he ceased his publishing.
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Re: "Unlikely PC" Website-Lots of Detail Info

Postby Allen Hazen » Thu Nov 11, 2010 7:26 pm

I had the impression (from something in some issue of the magazine) that Reid had a job-printing business. Also that health as well as financial issues helped lead to the end of publication.

A bit of Googling turned up this (by someone signing himself "Interlocking," on the "Trainorders" WWW site):

"Rails Northeast -- and its predecessor, PC Railroader -- was published from around 1973 through the July-August, 1984 issue by Bob Reid of suburban Pittsburgh. Most often, PCRR/RNE was published monthly, but at other times -- including that final year of 1984 -- it was bi-monthly.

"The publication was, from beginning to end, heavily weighted on the state of Pennsylvania and the railroads of PRR/PC/CR. Locomotive disposition news as it pertained to CR units was very good, almost to a fault -- just about every CR retirement was listed in the section "Locomotive Backshop" number by number. In the late-1970s, this filled up a lot of space in the magazine.

"There also were three or four issues in the mid-to-late '70s which listed CR's entire roster; Reid also broke down the roster by showing the classes assigned to each terminal, i.e., Buckeye had 10 SD38s, 55 GP38s, etc.

[...] "I don't remember locomotive news coverage being all that thorough for NW, Chessie or the others -- at least, not as good as that given to CR.

"Reid also published the Pennsy (quarterly) Journal for a short time, published CR roster information in magazine format early in the railroad's history (Conrail Power I), and published the hardcover book PC Bi-Annual in 1973. There also was a calendar or two in the early years, and a guide on Horseshoe Curve.

"All of this stuff routinely sells on eBay.

"I don't know what you're paying for the RNE issues, but the going rate on eBay is $5 for issues of RNE. Occasionally, you can buy them by the box at swap meets for much less than that.

"Reid published all of his stuff from his house, putting the whole thing together and distributing it. Some of his old contributors are T.O. members today. Critics will have a field day pointing out all of the grammatical/typographical/layout errors in the issues, but looking back 20-30 years, these magazines hold a wealth of information."
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Re: "Unlikely PC" Website-Lots of Detail Info

Postby lvrr325 » Thu Dec 02, 2010 6:14 am

"Rails Northeast" was the "Railpace" of the 1970s. Without the internet the magazine was only as good as the people who contributed to it. They're worth having for the pictures and roster information. But they are about impossible to find, I lucked onto a stash of them 15 years ago and I've only ever seen one or two at a time at a show since. Perhaps they're more common in PA or NJ, close to where they were printed.
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Re: "Unlikely PC" Website-Lots of Detail Info

Postby Noel Weaver » Thu Dec 02, 2010 11:54 am

lvrr325 wrote:"Rails Northeast" was the "Railpace" of the 1970s. Without the internet the magazine was only as good as the people who contributed to it. They're worth having for the pictures and roster information. But they are about impossible to find, I lucked onto a stash of them 15 years ago and I've only ever seen one or two at a time at a show since. Perhaps they're more common in PA or NJ, close to where they were printed.


Not really near the standard that Railpace has set with decent articles from various places and various railroads. Rails Northeast was strictly Penn Central and even more so the Pennsylvania Railroad. They did not cover the former New Haven nor New York Central very well at all.
I don't remember what I did with the ones that I had at one time, they might have gone bye bye when I moved to Florida 13 years ago, maybe even before that. I probably gave them to somebody as I usually did that rather than just throw something away.
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Re: "Unlikely PC" Website-Lots of Detail Info

Postby Tommy Meehan » Sun Dec 05, 2010 11:06 am

umtrr-author wrote:http://www.unlikelypcrr.com/index.html

From the home page:

This is a labor of love, an attempt to archive the paper history of the Penn Central Railroad online. Follow the links above to the archive pages....


That is a really incredible site, thanks for the link.

I remember ordering some illustrated rosters from Robert Reid back in the early 1970s. One he sold was small enough to put in the glove compartment. Those of you who only know the Internet era would not believe how difficult it was to get reliable roster information back then. Reliable anything, actually. :)

Receiving a complete roster of the Penn Central was a red letter day.

I also remember after Conrail came along, reading in Rails Northeast how workers were alerting Reid to Big Blue's practice of boosting traffic by ignoring waybill instructions. An example would be east/west traffic supposed to be interchanged to Norfolk & Western (NKP) at Buffalo would instead get handed over at Chicago. Waybills were sometimes discarded. This was the first I had ever heard of this practice or even knew such things happened.
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