OK, here we go again.
The Penn Central failed for many reasons, ranging from government apathy to severe weather. However, saying that the merger was doomed to failure isn't logical, because no one at the time of the merger in 1968 and for the ten years spent in negotiation for the merger (since 1957) thought it would fail; in fact it was thought PC could make money and serve it's customers more efficiently. (Unless, of course, Saunders, Perlman and Beven were just pulling the wool over everyone's eyes. But that wouldn't fit the idea of these guys doing the best they could, would it?)
The idea that planning more efficient operations and making sure the computers worked together were irrelevant because the company failed is ludicrous. Thinking along those lines, perhaps the officers on watch the night the Titanic sunk should have just aimed the ship for the iceberg instead of trying to avoid it. After all, the ship was doomed to sink. My point is that no one knew the Titanic would founder, and no one knew the Penn Central would go belly up (In fairness, it could be said that the handwriting was on the wall, but no one knew as an indisputable fact in 1968 that the railroad would fail.) Therefore, the whole merger was a pretty sloppy situation, although the principle parties had over ten years to get their act together. Whether or not the railroad was predestined for bankruptcy is irrelevant.
I still dispute the idea that Saunders, Perlman and Beven were the best senior management that the PC could have had. Saunders had problems with insider trading, Perlman's ego got in the way of the good of the company that paid his salary and Beven was dragged into court.
I'm sure this will be continued...