Re: Pennsy, Arrogance . . .

Richard Hendrickson

On Mar 25, 2007, at 2:26 PM, Anthony Thompson wrote:

Rich Orr wrote:
> While the PRR did call itself the "Standard Railroad of the World"
> this is
> an implied misconception of the origin of the moniker. The
> "Standard" did
> refer to a standard for other RR's to follow but referenced the
> standardization
> of various parts used mainly in locomotives, and infrastructure and
> to a
> lessor extent freight cars . . . This is not to say that other roads
> did not standardize to certain levels.

During the Harriman era, Railway Age editorialized that the
Harriman roads had carried standardarization further than, as they put
it with tongue in cheek, "certain well publicized eastern roads." I
think that sounds like more than ". . . certain levels."
I will add that, when John Purcell became the Santa Fe's chief
mechanical officer in 1912, he immediately began a systematic
standardization and parts inventory program which became known in the
company as the "Santa Fe Method." The most obvious examples were the
many standardized parts and appliances used on the 3400 class 4-6-2s,
3160 class 2-8-2s, 3700 class 4-8-2s, and 3800 class 2-10-2s, but the
system extended to many other mechanical department functions,
including freight car trucks and other components. It was so widely
regarded in industry circles that mechanical officers of other
railroads (including some European railroads) visited the Santa Fe to
see the "Santa Fe Method" at first hand. So the Pennsy's vaunted
standardization certainly wasn't either novel or unique, though (as
with other aspects of railroad operations) they did it on a larger
scale than anyone else.

Richard Hendrickson

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