Deffered Maintenence?

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

ThePointyHairedBoss

Deffered Maintenence?

Post by ThePointyHairedBoss » Fri Apr 04, 2008 7:57 pm

Now, I've heard this term alot, and know what it is. Crumbling ties, rusted rails, weeds growing uncontrolled. But I have a question: How bad was it on Penn Central? Does anyone have any pictures of a line during the Penn Central Era and the same line today? I'm doing a paper on the Deregulation of railroads, and this kind of photo would help immensely.

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

Re: Deffered Maintenence?

Post by Noel Weaver » Sat Apr 05, 2008 3:31 am

ThePointyHairedBoss wrote:Now, I've heard this term alot, and know what it is. Crumbling ties, rusted rails, weeds growing uncontrolled. But I have a question: How bad was it on Penn Central? Does anyone have any pictures of a line during the Penn Central Era and the same line today? I'm doing a paper on the Deregulation of railroads, and this kind of photo would help immensely.
It was pretty bad, there were important main lines with long stretches of
10 MPH operation and many yards were restricted to 5 MPH sometimes in
the entire yard. The deferred maintenance was worse on the PRR side
than on the NYC and NH side because the management of the PRR
praticed deferred maintenance for some time before the unfortunate
merger.
Many branch lines were 8 or 10 MPH for their entire length and the cost
of operations skyrocketed as a result of slow train operation, recrews,
power shortages because it took so long to get over the road and frequent
derailments and other problems resulting from poor or no maintenance.
It certainally was no picnic working under these conditions although they
did put a lot of money in our pockets.
Noel Weaver

Penn Central
Posts: 467
Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2004 8:19 pm

Re: Deffered Maintenence?

Post by Penn Central » Wed Apr 09, 2008 10:16 am

ThePointyHairedBoss wrote:Now, I've heard this term alot, and know what it is. Crumbling ties, rusted rails, weeds growing uncontrolled. But I have a question: How bad was it on Penn Central? Does anyone have any pictures of a line during the Penn Central Era and the same line today? I'm doing a paper on the Deregulation of railroads, and this kind of photo would help immensely.
Noel is right. It was bad. Long stretches of 10 mph restrictions on the West Shore (Riverline) from Weehawken to Selkirk made it difficult to get over the road in 12 hours if you had a couple of meets on the single track line. Yard derailments happened almost a daily in Weehawken and Oak Point, where I worked. Many engines that traveled branch lines, like the Putnam Division, carried re-railers and oak shims to get cars back on the rail.

The FL-9 fleet, a little over a decade old at the time, looked ready for the scrap heap. On the Harlem Line, standby engines were kept at North White Plains to rescue trains that broke down frequently. On time percentage was barley over 80% for suburban service. In the summer, air conditioning failures were high. It is a tribute to Metro-North (and good maintenance) that many of those FL-9s are still running today.

On the positive side, the work rules were good and crews made a lot of money. That didn't help the cash flow for a railroad that went down the tubes in fast order. As is noted in "The Wreck of The Penn Central", management diverted a lot of cash that could have been used to improve service to worthless outside investments.

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

Post by Noel Weaver » Wed Apr 09, 2008 12:30 pm

There was also an attitude problem with some people in management.
They would tell us to do something a certain way and somebody would
suggest a better way only to be directed to "do as you are told". We did
it as we were told and it took longer but put large sums of money in our
pockets.
Thank god for the 12 hour law, crews outlawed on a regular and daily
basis. Some trains were absolutely guranteed to outlaw on the road.
I had more than one person ask me how far I would get today.
Noel Weaver

Tadman
Posts: 9718
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 10:21 am

Post by Tadman » Wed Apr 09, 2008 2:14 pm

Take a look at pics of the PC ROW. It was a mudpit. When you have large trains rolling on track suspended only by a mudpit with rotting ties, you have derailments and slow trains. Heck, try running on your own feet thru a mudpit - it's unlikely a human wearing s***kickers can run through a mudpit without falling, let alone a locomotive and train...

Return to “Penn Central”