Penn Central books

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

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Ken S.
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Penn Central books

Post by Ken S. » Wed Aug 30, 2006 3:09 pm

Tadman wrote:I've seen it at the store, and while impressed, I bought the Penn Central book from the same publisher and had one reservation - they didn't cover the business case/history of PC, just operational pictures and comments. It doesn't make the book bad, just different than my expectations. That may apply to the amtrak book as well - I haven't looked that deeply at it.
I've got the PC book too. If you're looking for a book on what went wrong. Check out the Wreck of the Penn Central.

RichM
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Post by RichM » Wed Aug 30, 2006 3:13 pm

This doesn't necessarily belong here, and the moderators should bump it to the PC forum, but the Wreck now looks increasingly like a dated hit piece. I just re-read it in light of reading The Men Who Loved Trains. Better.

Noel Weaver
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Books

Post by Noel Weaver » Wed Aug 30, 2006 8:11 pm

I think there are many more people interested in the operational history
of the Penn Central than the financial history.
For operational history of Penn Central, Peter Lynch's book can't be beat,
it is simply the best. It accurately portrays just exactly what Penn Central
was between 1968 and 1976. The pictures of dirty, black engines, poor
track with mud spots everywhere, dilapidated buildings and facilities and
the other problems bring back memories galore. I strongly recommend
this book before it goes out of print which I would be willing to bet it will
and it will bring big prices after it does. The Penn Central might have been mismanaged and broke but it still was an interesting period of history
for the railroads of the region.
The Wreck of the Penn Central is a good book for the ins and outs of the
financial end of the Penn Central with lots of details. It is an interesting
book and if you can find it, I recommend it too. Lots of details of a bad
situation fast getting worse at the time.
Get em both.
Noel Weaver

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Otto Vondrak
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Post by Otto Vondrak » Wed Aug 30, 2006 9:29 pm

How about "The Railroad Mergers and The Coming of Conrail," by Richard Saunders, c. 1978? That explained a lot to me. An updated version is available here:

http://www.niupress.niu.edu/niupress/sc ... asp?ID=380
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Earle Baldwin
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Re: Penn Central books

Post by Earle Baldwin » Thu Jul 23, 2009 7:41 am

MBI's Penn Central book recently went out of print and copies already seem to have dried up. I'm fortunate to have purchased the book as it's very well done. I believe the Amtrak, Conrail and New Haven volumes in MBI's "Railroad Color History" series have been withdrawn from print as well. It certainly doesn't take long for prices to go up.

I was recently speaking with some fellow train people who were bemoaning the fact modern era production models don't hold or appreciate in value like older equipment. I told them to start buying books instead. It seems once a well done book goes out of print, there's a fan of that road, era or locomotive who will pay big bucks for it. Over the years, I've sold or traded any number of books I wished I had kept once I saw their prices in the secondary market.

Noel Weaver
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Re: Penn Central books

Post by Noel Weaver » Thu Jul 23, 2009 6:57 pm

Earle Baldwin wrote:MBI's Penn Central book recently went out of print and copies already seem to have dried up. I'm fortunate to have purchased the book as it's very well done. I believe the Amtrak, Conrail and New Haven volumes in MBI's "Railroad Color History" series have been withdrawn from print as well. It certainly doesn't take long for prices to go up.

I was recently speaking with some fellow train people who were bemoaning the fact modern era production models don't hold or appreciate in value like older equipment. I told them to start buying books instead. It seems once a well done book goes out of print, there's a fan of that road, era or locomotive who will pay big bucks for it. Over the years, I've sold or traded any number of books I wished I had kept once I saw their prices in the secondary market.
I totally agree with this one. The MBI books are good and worth owning and keeping. I also agree that the value of good
books increases as does interest often and sometimes out of print books can bring in big bucks. I remember the New
Haven event last year when I had a few out of print books and sold some for a pretty good buck. In order to be valuable
a book has to be accurate (quite a few of them are not), has to be about an interesting topic and well done and finally
somebody or many somebodies have to be interested in owning them.
I have sold more out of print books than I have bought but I have bought a few over the years and a couple of them I paid
pretty big bucks for too.
I have no interest in model or toy trains but it would seem to me that paper (books, timetables etc) would increase in
value over the years far more than models would.
Whether you liked the Penn Central or not, it was an interesting period and an interesting history and more may get
printed and published on this topic in the coming period. A lot of interesting things happened in those eight years.
Noel Weaver

Earle Baldwin
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Re: Penn Central books

Post by Earle Baldwin » Fri Jul 24, 2009 7:48 am

You make excellent points. If modeling activities are any indication, Penn Central does appear to have a following within the enthusiast community. Items painted for PC are produced on a consistent basis and they seem to sell steadily regardless of scale. I myelf have been buying PC N scale models lately. In fact, I bought a 4750 cubic foot covered hopper just the other day.

I want to check out Morning Sun's new PC color books but haven't had a chance yet. I fully expect to purchase them at some point. It's good to see this publisher finally take its Penn Central coverage beyond "Penn Central Power" and the PC rolling stock color guide. Four Ways West issues some very nice books as well. Perhaps we'll see a PC title from FWW at some point.

atlpete
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Re: Penn Central books

Post by atlpete » Sun Aug 30, 2009 10:32 am

Grab those books while they're still around, none of these publishers production run's are nearly as big as they used to be, note many of Morning Sun's popular early volumes by Sweetland are still available while more recent works can sell out within a year.

IMO one of the most interesting on PC ever is Jerry Taylor's survey of the Southern region A Sampling of Penn Central (1973, reprinted by Indiana Univ.Press in 2000) which is the source for much of the text in Lynch's book regarding the Southern Division. It isn't just a good book on the PC, it's a great book on railroading, economics, traffic and manufacturing in the mid-west circa 1970's. The B&W photos are really good, not just a bunch of three quarter views, but yards, interlocking plants, on-line industries, branch terminals, the material for any one of the Divisions covered would make an excellent book on it's own. An absolute must for any PC fan, truthfully I don't know anyone who's read it who didn't rave about it. Wish there was one like it for every region ( and every major road.)

Also those two new color MS Volumes on the PC by Jeremy Plant are excellent, fans of the NYC, PRR and NH would enjoy them as well, too rich in coverage of some of the more obscure secondaries and branches of all three to pass up.

Earle Baldwin
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Re: Penn Central books

Post by Earle Baldwin » Sun Nov 01, 2009 6:51 am

FYI....Morning Sun has just announced Volume 3 for its "Penn Central In Color" series.

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Otto Vondrak
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Re: Penn Central books

Post by Otto Vondrak » Sat Nov 07, 2009 12:49 pm

"The Wreck of the Penn Central" by Joseph R. Daughen and Peter Binzen
http://www.amazon.com/Wreck-Penn-Centra ... 1893122085

"Penn Central Railroad" by Peter Lynch
http://www.amazon.com/Penn-Central-Rail ... 0760317631

"A Sampling of Penn Central: Southern Region on Display" by Jerry Taylor
http://www.amazon.com/Sampling-Penn-Cen ... 025333702X

"Penn Central In Color Volume 1: Operations in Western New England and Upstate New York State" by Jeremy F. Plant
http://morningsunbooks.com/northeastcat10.html

"Penn Central In Color Vol. 2: Along the Eastern Seaboard, Boston to Philadelphia" by Jeremy F. Plant
http://morningsunbooks.com/northeastcat10.html

"Penn Central In Color Volume 3: From the Potomac to the Alleghenies" by Jeremy F. Plant
http://morningsunbooks.com/northeastcat10.html

"Penn Central Power" by Robert J. Yanosey
Out of print, can be found at various dealers and sites

"No Way to Run a Railroad: Untold Story of the Penn Central Crisis" by Stephen Salsbury
http://www.amazon.com/No-Way-Run-Railro ... 0070544832

"Penn Central Color Guide to Freight and Passenger Equipment" by James Kinkaid
http://morningsunbooks.com/northeastcat4.html
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