The Penn Central


What a lot of the blog’s readers are probably not aware of is OTCM’s love of a rather unloved American Railroad.

Above is a book I just brought, and slowly a collection of Penn Central (PC) items are being brought together to create a knowlege of some would say a best forgotten episode in world railways.

Me and Chris have always been fascinated by railways in decay and at their lowest and it doesnt take long when you first ‘get’ America’s great love affair with the iron road to see the words ‘Penn Central’ appear.

For those who do not know PC was the one of the worlds biggest railway companies orginally formed from the merger of two of the bitterest rivals, the New York Central Railroad and the Pennsylvania Railroad. What happened in the following years still has lessons today for the modern railway as well as for the world of business. It is still taught in business schools worldwide as a case study to how badly things can go, and remains one of the worlds biggest bankruptcy cases.

If anyone is interest from that short introduction a good place to start is Joesph Daughen’s “The Wreck of the Penn Central”.

But where does this leave a modeller?
Well it leaves you with a wealth of modelling potential. The geography, the amount of locomotives, stock, trains of all sizes and the operations. The whole fiasco is an amazing prototype to model and if you like weathering then it is perfect.

But do not let me convince you, if you have always thought that American railroading is big trains with five locomotives then just sit back and watch these short videos, there is plenty of big trains but there is plenty of other stuff. I have included some NYC pre merger action to give you an idea of the transition period….

They will not take long out of your life but may interest you…you never know… You could catch the American bug.

Thanks guys



5 thoughts on “The Penn Central

  1. We need something similar to the foreign exchange student program for modelers, American’s like me that are interested in British rail and vice versa 🙂

    1. Something like ‘The Transatlantic Modelling Exchange Program’. Does not sound bad at all! If you are ever over here let us know and we can sort something. I would of loved to have come over for something like that ‘Streamliners at Spencer’ event. To see an ALCO PA in reality would be something special. If there is anything you want to know etc about British railways just send me and Chris an email and we can try and help. I remember when we first got into railroads it was not always easy finding photos etc till we were pointed in the right direction. Oly

  2. Andy in Germany

    Thanks for the ‘In progress’ pictures. We’re starting again in modelmaking and I wasn’t sure how to lay track onto the baseboard.

    Mind you, we’re building in Narrow gauge and will probably be as far away from ‘Finescale’ as you can get…

    1. Hunter’s stuff is proper lovely. We follow his blog, the world needs more penn central model railroads! I imagine as that generation retires maybe more layouts will pop up here and there. Me and Chris are harbouring ideas of something presented in a British exhibition way but modelling 1970ish Penn Central NY area but it is all a pipe dream!

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