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Re: PC: Wreck of the Penn Central

Walter B Turner wrote:
> Wreck of the Penn Central is a good book, but the authors skim over some
> of the factors that led to the death of the PC. They contend that
> mismanagement is prime reason for PC's failure. While they mention the
> other factors (often in passing) they dwell on the management problems.
> The PC would almost certainly have died, no matter who ran the company.
> PC was playing against a stacked deck. NYC and PRR were in sad shape
> before the merger, as was the U.S. rail industry as a whole. If PC had
> struggled on until the formation of Amtrak, bankruptcy may have been
> avoided for a few more years. (But if PC had not failed, Congress may not
> have seen the urgent need to do something about passenger service.)
> Another big road might have died before PC leading to reform, but that
> would have been small consolation. PC was playing a losing game. The
> managment made the situation much worse, but a pre-Staggers PC was
> doomed.
> Wreck of the Penn Central's main strength is also its main weakness. By
> being written so close to the events, the book has a wealth of detail
> that may have been lost in a later book. On the other hand, the book does
> not have the perspective on the rail industry that a book written in
> 1985, for example, would have. The book is required reading to understand
> Penn Central, but doesn't give the reader a complete picture. An informed
> reader who knows what happened with Conrail, regulation
> (over-regulation), deregulation, and other mergers will not be mislead by
> this book.
> Personally, I think it is still too soon to write the definitive book on
> the Penn Central. Just as a history of World War II should cover more
> than 1939 to 1945, the PC story should cover more than 1968 to 1976. The
> story should start with state of post-World War II railroading, and the
> proposed PRR/NW and NYC/Chessie mergers; the story should at least
> continue up to the government's sale of Conrail. I don't think the story
> will be over until Conrail is integrated into CSX and NS.
> Bryan Turner
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  You should read a book called Mergers and the Coming of Conrail
   published by Greenwood Press by Prof. R Saunders
   It goes back to the 1920s and a study called the Prince Study
   which was the first on merger railroading
   The book also covers western mergers  A must read
  Henry Frick Ft Worth TX

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