So, to sum up:
- The senior management of the Penn Central was blameless and all their
actions were always altruistic and within good business practice.
- Planning to efficiently combine operations was a waste of time
because the railroad was doomed to fail.
- Making sure that the computers from the two principle merger partners that
kept track of thousands of transactions a day could interface was a waste of
time because the railroad was doomed anyway.
- Perlman "gunning" for subordinates because he personally didn't like
them and not based on their work made sense and was acceptable (wherever I
worked, the bosses wanted to see results and couldn't give a fig
- Diversification was a good thing because the railroad couldn't make it
without it. Well, with diversification the railroad (and Penn Central for all
it's other ventures was primarily a railroad) didn't make it and
perhaps the senior management should have focused of the railroad; i.e.,
"downsizing operations", etc. (Admittedly hard to do after all; e.g., Saunders
gave away the store to the unions to get the merger.)
- Executive Jet was owned by a subsidiary of the railroad, but it was still
illegal for them to own it and Bevan, a least, was aware of that fact.
- Ultimately, all the problems faced by Penn Central and the cause of the
collapse could be blamed on the federal government.
Question. What about all the other railroads in that era, like
Southern and N&W, that didn't go bankrupt? They were operating under
the same government regulations and policies that PC was.
Perhaps Penn Central was destined for failure, along with the
other NE railroads that eventually formed Conrail. However, we have the luxury
of hindsight, and may be practicing the big no-no of historians,
anachronism. Saunders, Perlman and Beven deserve some of the blame because they
were in charge and were ultimately responsible. After all, being responsible is
the function of leadership.