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PC: PC Paper Records Question


Last week I again had the opportunity to research some Penn Central records at the Pennsylvania State Archives.  As you might expect, the records are very incomplete, especially after the 1971 bankruptcy shifted decision making to the trustees and the court.  My question involves the PC accounting system for equipment.  The archives has several massive printouts documenting equipment retirement and disposition from 1972-1976.  Unfortunately, the only thing I could identify on the printout was the reporting marks and the equipment number.  Everything else was coded using numbers.  For example, the reason for retirement was either 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6.  Of course there are many other confusing fields and no key to decipher the codes.  Does anyone have any paperwork that may explain the equipment accounting procedures or has anyone on the list worked with the PRR/PC accounting system?  The PRR/PC forms are MP19 and MP20.  Any help would greatly be appreciated.

In case you are interested in researching the documents yourself, they are at the PA State Archives in Harrisburg in Manuscript Group 286 (MG 286).  (MG 286 is the PC/PRR collection).  The call number is 286m.421 and the description is "List of Additions, Betterments and Retirements (Forms MP 19 and MP 20), 1972-1976.

If anyone is interested in further information on the vast PRR/PC holdings at the PA State Archives (2000+ cubic feet), let me know and I will send you additional information.  I can also mail an article in the recent edition of Railroad History that describes where the Penn Central Collection went after the PC/CR gave it up in 1985.  It is an interesting story.  The PRR Technical & Historical Society has a lot of stuff but nowhere near what went to local, university, and state archives.

Bob Holzweiss

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