I have to agree with this, and I'm left scratching my head. Please note though, that we have no reason to doubt Noel's experiences. We just weren't on the same runs at the same times. I saw a Penn Central train at Harmon one AM in 69, it was smooth side passenger cars in that oddball Jade Green scheme with red lettering, it was the only one I saw and I wondered if it was a train from Chicago because it had the works (sleepers, diners, and an OBS). It was the only train I saw on that line since probably 1965 where the paint scheme and car types were UNIFORM.wdburt1 wrote:Noel, I respect your experience and your comments, but they are not backed up by many of the comments on this forum. My own lousy experiences between Buffalo and GCT, detailed on Page 1 of the thread, were on an Empire Service train (hostile trainmen, too hot or too cold, holes in the coach floor emanating steam, flooded bathrooms, etc.) in 1971. I have to say that Perlman's commitment to quality service on this route, which I would like to believe was made in good faith, was undercut by bankruptcy and all that followed.
As far as comfort, I never saw anything on Penn Central that I would consider properly maintained, as I had come to expect on Canadian National and later on VIA. My parents used to tell me NOT to put my head back on the headrest even if it had a cover. I hadn't thought about it before, and the first few times I checked out the headrest cover, it was pretty gross and clearly hadn't been changed/washed in some time. Every trip on Penn Central that I had, something didn't work, and either the Conductor couldn't get it to work, OR the surly crotch would snap some nasty comment and not bother with it. Always it seemed at issue was the failure of one of the "Big Three";
I think the first thing Penn Central gave up on maintaining was the windowshades, which were pretty much torn out by 1971. Next to go was the individual light toggles, removed to standard lighting controlled by ONE breaker in the end closet.
Noel, I wish I had some of your better rides among my memories. You should consider yourself fortunate compared to some of us riding the rails at that time.