Trains.com

The Pennsylvania and Wabash steam ?

2564 views
11 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    April 2005
  • From: Nanaimo BC Canada
  • 4,117 posts
The Pennsylvania and Wabash steam ?
Posted by nanaimo73 on Tuesday, February 6, 2024 6:37 PM

I believe the Pennsylvania acquired control of the Wabash in 1928. Would they have been involved with purchases of steam locomotives by the Wabash ? Thanks!

 

Dale
  • Member since
    January 2019
  • From: Henrico, VA
  • 9,566 posts
Posted by Flintlock76 on Wednesday, February 7, 2024 9:34 AM

I'm not a big expert on the PRR but as far as one railroad with controlling interest in another is concerned that's an "It depends" thing. The PRR may not have bothered much with what the Wabash did or didn't do as long as they were making money.  The PRR also had a controlling interest in the N&W for years but exerted no influence in the N&W's steam locomotive policies.

The New York Central on the other hand had controlling interest in the Boston & Albany and definately influenced the B&A's steam policies.

  • Member since
    July 2010
  • 337 posts
Posted by ns145 on Wednesday, February 7, 2024 10:52 AM

The PRR only purchased the Wabash to block the creation of a 5th system by the D&H in the 1920's.  That purchase got them into anti-trust trouble and they only were allowed to retain control by stating that it had only been done for investment purposes. PRR got very creative with retaining control after the Wabash's bankruptcy during the Great Depression.  Eventually they palmed it off to the N&W as part of the 1964 N&W-NKP merger.  What a crap show - PRR's management team.  PRR should have consolidated its own empire rather than go after the NYC.  In an alternate universe, it would have been interesting to see if a combined PRR-N&W-LV-DT&I-WAB system could have survived the 1970's.  It defintely would have had a leg up on the Central, which was not wanted by anyone else in the 1960's.

Pretty obvious if you look at the Wabash's modern steam roster that the PRR didn't influence anything: big 4-8-2's, 4-8-4's, and 4-6-4's rebuilt from Mikados.  And the Wabash wasted no time with dieselization, which it completed in large part by the end of 1953.

  • Member since
    April 2005
  • From: Nanaimo BC Canada
  • 4,117 posts
Posted by nanaimo73 on Wednesday, February 7, 2024 11:10 PM

Thanks guys. I did not see any Belpaire fireboxes in the pictures I looked at, and I don't know what else to look for.

Dale
  • Member since
    January 2019
  • From: Henrico, VA
  • 9,566 posts
Posted by Flintlock76 on Thursday, February 8, 2024 7:56 AM

ns145
What a crap show - PRR's management team. 

Weren't they all lawyers and bankers by that time instead of hard-core railroaders?

  • Member since
    March 2016
  • From: Burbank IL (near Clearing)
  • 13,474 posts
Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Thursday, February 8, 2024 10:02 AM

The regulatory practices of that era also have to be considered in any explanation of why such a merger did not take place.  PRR had to sell its 1/3 interest in N&W for the N&W-NKP-WAB merger to take place.

It's also rather doubtful that the larger N&W would absorb PRR and that C&O/B&O would pick up NYC to create two balanced systems in the Northeast.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
  • Member since
    July 2020
  • 1,517 posts
Posted by pennytrains on Thursday, February 8, 2024 7:05 PM

Well that would have been better than Penn Central.  But a monkey with a stick would have done better.  Wink

Big Smile  Same me, different spelling!  Big Smile

  • Member since
    January 2019
  • From: Henrico, VA
  • 9,566 posts
Posted by Flintlock76 on Thursday, February 8, 2024 7:32 PM

CSSHEGEWISCH
PRR had to sell its 1/3 interest in N&W for the N&W-NKP-WAB merger to take place.

That's interesting.  I've read the PRR had to sell its interest in the N&W for the Penn Central merger to take place, which in the end wasn't a very smart thing to do if that was the case. 

  • Member since
    July 2010
  • 337 posts
Posted by ns145 on Thursday, February 8, 2024 9:23 PM

Flintlock76

 

 
ns145
What a crap show - PRR's management team. 

 

Weren't they all lawyers and bankers by that time instead of hard-core railroaders?

 

Stuart Saunders was a lawyer plucked from the N&W after his successful VGN and NKP merger efforts.  David Bevan was a master financial book cooker.  But the real mastermind behind the whole PC debacle was James Symes, who was a respected railroader who had worked his way up thru the ranks.  From all the books that I have read, the PRR had an almost pathological obsession with conquering the NYC at all costs.  James Symes believed that a combined PRR-NYC system could corner the eastern rail market and dominate the Northeastern US.  He was right too, as evidenced by the eventual monopoly power of Conrail.  He just didn't see the abyss that would have to be crossed to get from point A to point B.

Given the almost complete lack of investment and innovation at the PRR during the 1960's with regard to CTC, track reduction, and automated classification yards, I don't know if keeping the N&W would have saved them anyway.  Perlman may have failed at NYC, but he at least created a successful template for Conrail to follow.  Not too surprising that most parallel NYC routes were chosen over their PRR competitors.  And the one big exception that I am familiar with, CR's St. Louis line west of Terre Haute, IN, looked like a former NYC line after they got done rebuilding it - right down to the Type G tri-light signals.

  • Member since
    January 2019
  • From: Henrico, VA
  • 9,566 posts
Posted by Flintlock76 on Friday, February 9, 2024 8:29 AM

ns145
Perlman may have failed at NYC, but he at least created a successful template for Conrail to follow.

Thanks for all that!

From what I've read about Al Perlman of the NYC Al was against the PRR/NYC merger, in his mind a merger of two essentially paralell routes made little sense, he would have preferred a "point-to-point" merger with another railroad.  Anyway, he was outvoted by the NYC's board and the merger took place.  Al was given a basically powerless VP position which in the end worked to his advantage, he came out of the PC debacle with his reputation intact.  

  • Member since
    January 2015
  • 2,623 posts
Posted by kgbw49 on Friday, February 16, 2024 11:43 AM

Wabash purchased 25 70-inch-drivered 4-8-2 Mountains in 1929.

https://www.steamlocomotive.com/whyte/4-8-2/USA/photos/wabash2822-low.jpg

Wabash purchased 25 70-inch-drivered 4-8-4 Northerns in 1930.

https://www.steamlocomotive.com/whyte/4-8-4/USA/photos/wabash2910-builder.jpg

http://abpr.railfan.net/abprphoto.cgi?//july99/07-11-99/wab2914.jpg

Fine performing locomotives all.

Those were the last new steam locomotives purchased by the Wabash.

In 1943, the Wabash rebuilt five 1925-built Mikados into 80-inch-drivered 4-6-4 Hudsons, followed by another two after WWII.

http://abpr.railfan.net/abprphoto.cgi?//january99/01-01-99/ns1395.jpg

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wabash_class_P1#/media/File:Wabash_700.jpg

 

 

  • Member since
    July 2016
  • 2,545 posts
Posted by Backshop on Friday, February 16, 2024 7:16 PM

To turn the OP's question around, maybe the Wabash should've been in charge of PRR locomotive purchases.

I've always considered the PRR to be my favorite big railroad, but it was due to their traffic density, yards, operations, scenery, etc.  Their steam locomotives were nothing to get excited about, though.

Join our Community!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

Search the Community

Newsletter Sign-Up

By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Trains magazine.Please view our privacy policy