Penn Central/Amtrak relations

Discussion relating to the Penn Central, up until its 1976 inclusion in Conrail. Visit the Penn Central Railroad Historical Society for more information.

Moderator: JJMDiMunno

updrumcorpsguy

Penn Central/Amtrak relations

Post by updrumcorpsguy » Tue Jul 26, 2005 11:46 pm

How did Penn Central and Amtrak interact? When did Amtrak get control of the NYC tunnels and Penn Station?

Also, when did LIRR and what is now Metro North become part of the NYC MTA?

timz
Posts: 1717
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 1:04 pm
Location: Oakland CA

Post by timz » Fri Jul 29, 2005 6:19 pm

You know Conrail started on 1 April 1976-- conventional wisdom is Amtrak took over Washington-New Rochelle at the same time.

(But I never have figured out exactly who owns which track thru F/Harold.)

A related question: for decades there have been Amtrak trains from NY to Trenton, and NJTransit trains, and most tickets aren't good on both. But in, say, 1973, a NY-Trenton ticket was good on a Penn Central local and on many Amtrak trains-- right? So when did that stop?

Noel Weaver
Posts: 9630
Joined: Sat May 29, 2004 9:33 pm
Location: Pompano Beach, Florida

Post by Noel Weaver » Fri Jul 29, 2005 7:30 pm

timz wrote:You know Conrail started on 1 April 1976-- conventional wisdom is Amtrak took over Washington-New Rochelle at the same time.

(But I never have figured out exactly who owns which track thru F/Harold.)

A related question: for decades there have been Amtrak trains from NY to Trenton, and NJTransit trains, and most tickets aren't good on both. But in, say, 1973, a NY-Trenton ticket was good on a Penn Central local and on many Amtrak trains-- right? So when did that stop?
Amtrak owns the tracks from the interlocking limits at Harold to Penn
Station and beyond and also from the interlocking limits at Harold to New
Rochelle Junction which is now CP-216 or rather I should say just west of
the interlocking limits of CP-216 is where the division post is located.
As for Harold interlocking itself, it is owned by the Long Island Rail Road.
Got it? :wink:
Noel Weaver

ChiefTroll
Posts: 363
Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2004 6:51 pm
Location: Severna Park, MD

Penn Central/Amtrak relations - Northeast Corridor

Post by ChiefTroll » Sat Jul 30, 2005 6:42 pm

You know Conrail started on 1 April 1976-- conventional wisdom is Amtrak took over Washington-New Rochelle at the same time.
The Northeast Corridor that now belongs to Amtrak was conveyed from Penn Central to Conrail on 1 April 1976. Conrail operated it, using Conrail crews on Amtrak trains. Conrail also operated what is now Metro North as the Metropolitan Region, including New Rochelle - New Haven.

On Conrail conveyance day, 1 April 1976, Amtrak wasn't set up to operate their own railroad. They created a Northeast Corridor organization from scratch, bringing in many officials from the Reading. Later in 1976 - I want to say September but I don't have the exact date - Amtrak assumed operating and maintenance responsibility for the Northeast Corridor from Conrail. Amtrak dispatched the trains, maintained the track and bridges, and supervised the operation. But the train crews were still Conrail employees.

Conrail also continued operating the commuter services for MTA, MBTA, SEPTA, New Jersey Transit and Maryland DOT. So you had Conrail passenger trains operating on Amtrak's railroad, just the reverse of what you would expect. Over the years Amtrak took over the train and engine employees, Conrail got out of the commuter business, and all the other changes evolved. I don't have a good reference on the exact dates, but I'm sure that someone here does.

MACTRAXX
Posts: 4224
Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 11:55 am
Location: Islandia,Long Island,NY

Post by MACTRAXX » Sat Jul 30, 2005 9:00 pm

Troll: I remember it well because my father's job was directly involved. My father was a Assistant Station Master working at NYP,NWK and TRE but holding a job at NYP from the late 70s on until his retirement. In 1976 as you mentioned my father's job was conveyed to Conrail from PC on day one. Six months later,his job was taken over by Amtrak-he therefore became a Amtrak employe. The area was called the Amtrak NEC. I recall the train crews continued to be Conrail employees. On January 1,1983-the day Conrail left the contracting of passenger trains and the commuter authorities were created,Amtrak took control of their train and engine crews on that date also. I remember talking to crew members I remember thru my father and it was interesting to find out who their new employer was going to be. Lots of changes around those times! MACTRAXX
EXPRESS TRAIN TO NEW YORK PENN STATION-NO JAMAICA ON THIS TRAIN-PLEASE STAND CLEAR OF THE CLOSING TRAIN DOORS

updrumcorpsguy

Post by updrumcorpsguy » Sun Jul 31, 2005 9:55 pm

Thanks for all the great information! I think this period of time (Penn Central/Amtrak/Conrail) is a very interesting time not only for railroads, but for heavy industry in America generally.

So let me see if I have this right...

1968: Penn Central is formed - they take over existing intercity and commuter services from the respective railroads.

1971: Amtrak is formed - they take over the intercity passenger operations from Penn Central, but PC continues commuter operations. All train crews are Penn Central employees, but intercity on-board employees and station employees are Amtrak.

1976 - Conrail is formed - Amtrak takes over the NEC and associated stations. Train crews remain Conrail employees, but Amtrak gradually takes over maintenance.

1983 - Various commuter agencies have formed and Conrail gets out of the commuter business. Amtrak takes over train crews for intercity trains.

Is that about right?

B&M E7

condensed amtrak history

Post by B&M E7 » Thu Aug 04, 2005 10:30 am

updrumcorpsguy: You got that right, on the button !!
Just a slight refinement on the 1983 date for hiring its' own train crews:
on 01 JAN 1983, Amtrak first began employing their own train crews, as you stated, however this was just in the NORTHEAST CORRIDOR.
Next step was about a year or so later, or possibly L/1983, when they started running the AUTO TRAIN with their own crews.
Finally, it was in the SPRING of 1986 when they went hog wild and started hiring their own people for their LONG DISTANCE trains. As I recall, this transition was nearing completion, but not fully complete as of JAN/FEB 1987.

AmtrakFan

Post by AmtrakFan » Mon Aug 08, 2005 10:46 pm

Correction March of 87 they used their own crews.

B&M E7

OWN CREWS

Post by B&M E7 » Tue Aug 09, 2005 9:57 am

AmtrakFan:
The date of March 1987 for completeing the hiring of their own crews seems to align with my memories.
I was not completely sure when the completion took place, I remember in JAN '87, they had not hired ALL of the cres on the former ATSF route between CHI and LA.
That is why I worded my post as follows:
" nearing completion, but NOT FULLY complete as of JAN/FEB 1987".
Your word "CORRECTION" is technically incorrect, as the additional information you provided does not contradict the January'87 information I previously posted.

JimBoylan
Posts: 3335
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2004 2:33 pm

Amtrak takeover of crews

Post by JimBoylan » Mon Oct 31, 2005 1:16 pm

After a light rescue engine colided with a standing disabled Amtrak train near Bristol, Pa., Amtrak told the press that it informed ConRail not to use that crew on Amtrak trains again.
The tri-weekly Cardinal was a problem for crew dispatching, so it used C & O crews in some places long after most everything else had Amtrak employees.

jhdeasy
Posts: 2101
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2004 1:16 pm
Location: Mount Vernon, Virginia, USA

Re: Penn Central/Amtrak relations

Post by jhdeasy » Mon Sep 14, 2009 3:55 pm

updrumcorpsguy wrote:when did LIRR and what is now Metro North become part of the NYC MTA?
I think the Long Island Rail Road came under the control of the New York MTA about 1967 or 1968. That is when the M logo and the new colors began appearing on LIRR equipment, stations, timetables, etc.

By 1971 (possibly late 1960s), New York MTA had a role in Penn Central Metropolitan Region commuter trains operating out of GCT on Hudson, Harlem and New Haven Lines.

I think the MTA started out with providing capital funding and operating subsidies, gradually increasing the span of their control and influence over LIRR and Penn Central (later Conrail).

Noel Weaver
Posts: 9630
Joined: Sat May 29, 2004 9:33 pm
Location: Pompano Beach, Florida

Re: Penn Central/Amtrak relations

Post by Noel Weaver » Tue Sep 15, 2009 2:07 am

Most of the dates here agree with my memories and records. Amtrak issued their first NEC employee timetable (No. 1) on
October 31, 1976. I think the train dispatchers and some others were Amtrak employees by that time and I know that most
if not all of the Road Foremen and Trainmasters in Amtrak territory were Amtrak employees by that time.
First Penn Central Metropolitan Region timetable was No. 1 of April 26, 1970 although the Met. Region was created sometime before that date. The first year that the Metropolitan Region printed their own passes for the New Haven Line
was 1972 and the Harlem and Hudson Lines I believe 1973.
First Long Island employee timetable with the M on the front was no. 3 of May 20, 1968 and no. 4 of November 25, 1968 was
the first one with all of the political hacks listed both on the front cover and inside.
Penn Central did not have a corridor timetable as such. In fact for two years, 1968 and 1969 they had a New York Region
employee timetable that had both Penn Station and Grand Central Terminal in the same timetable.
Noel Weaver

JimBoylan
Posts: 3335
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2004 2:33 pm

Re: Penn Central/Amtrak relations

Post by JimBoylan » Tue Sep 15, 2009 1:51 pm

There may have been some rural stations like Rhinecliff, N.Y. where railroad employees sold tickets, in addition to their PennCentral and ConRail duties, for some time after Amtrak took control of the big city ticket offices.

Noel Weaver
Posts: 9630
Joined: Sat May 29, 2004 9:33 pm
Location: Pompano Beach, Florida

Re: Penn Central/Amtrak relations

Post by Noel Weaver » Tue Sep 15, 2009 6:04 pm

JimBoylan wrote:There may have been some rural stations like Rhinecliff, N.Y. where railroad employees sold tickets, in addition to their PennCentral and ConRail duties, for some time after Amtrak took control of the big city ticket offices.
Yes, probably so, some smaller stations the agents had operator's duties, freight or other duties as well.
Noel Weaver

Zeke
Posts: 646
Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2004 5:08 am

Re: Penn Central/Amtrak relations

Post by Zeke » Fri Oct 16, 2009 1:58 am

Jim, that lite rescue engine that collided with the train just east of Grundy was operated by a trainmaster and road foreman. They both got canned over it. Much gloating was had all around as those two were the most arrogant bosses I had ever come in contact with.

Return to “Penn Central”