Penn and Central: Magicians Make Money Disappear

I’m currently in the middle of trying to clean off several decades of acccumulated psychological grime by focusing on an entirely different hobby.

Cliff diving.


It’s TOTALLY different. You see that, right?

I found this very cool locomotive “shell” for a few bucks on eBay.

Black Locos Matter

It has all its horns and everything. I also bought these little babies at the same time–

I’d buy THAT for a dollar!

I’m still pondering what to do about the disfigured Santa Fe loco and its missing horn.

I did a little sanding there…as you can see.

I tried to bust the remaining horn off in a fit of frustration… but she no come off! That sucker is fixed on there with a grip of steel. So how did the other one get broken? Some schweinhund at Trix must have dropped the damn thing on to a concrete floor. I can’t imagine any other way it could have been snapped off.


So, right now, I’m still pondering the one-horned Super Chief.

But that All Black loco shell, which I orginally bought thinking I’d yank the horn off of its ugly ass and put it on the cute one, began to grow on me. I began to do some research on the “Penn Central” and I found out that seldom in the history of American capitalism has such a mass mongolian monkey molestation taken place.

And that’s saying something. I mean, when you make your mark as the largest f*k-up in U.S. corporate history, you, my friend, are a f*k-up.

So who could resist building their new “layout” in homage to the world’s most dysfunctional railroad? Not me. I decided to repaint my Minitrix U30c “U Boat” into a funky Penn Central U-Boat! ALLES KLAR!

So I pulled off all the parts (compared to airplanes, these things are a cinch) and painted it Tamiya Gloss Black.

Black and Yeller, Kill a Feller

I also fell in love with the buzzy-bee yellow bits which are supposed to help inebriated workers find the steps at night. This is a good idea!

Step on the yaller bits, Caleb!

I used tiny bits of decal to make the tiny stripes. This was not easy. Once the stripes were on the steps, you let them dry then douse them wtih Future. The handrails were brushed with a mix of Tamiya gloss yellow and a little red.

Penn Central. What a country!

I’m waiting for some decals and I’ll transform the ugly Southern Pacific loco into an even uglier Penn Central one. But, I loathe the SP (because they just remind me of ten years spent in “The Ozarks West” in Southern Oregon where men are men and sheep are skittish).

The Penn Central. A very fishy story told on Wikipedia about how the noble bankers and lawyers had to fight to get the big bad government off their backs so they could haul Spam and other stuff to America! And get rid of those awful labor unions, too!

Or maybe Goldman Sachs just helped some rich guys run a huge con game.

I like the way one solitary smarty tells the author that this is all a “conspiracy theory.” Yeah. THAT’S what it is!

Penn Central. The huge railroad that couldn’t. Fascinating stuff. They call Alabama “The Crimson Tide.” I need a name when I lose… let’s see, how about “Penn Central Dan?” (with apologies to Steely Dan… another great Dan, btw.)

The Penn Central. My new favorite. Nothing, but nothing says “national malaise” quite like that famous railroad. Say, don’t you know me? I’m your native son.

7 Replies to “Penn and Central: Magicians Make Money Disappear”

  1. Railroads are great. My Dad was in love with steam engines, Pullmans. He worked hard to save the TENNESSEE Central depot in Cookeville.
    So I had train set stuff as a kid, and in high school years built a small HO layout. I got too ambitious and never completed it much to Dad’s dismay. And yeah it’s easier than aeroplane’s in general. I did like detailing engines, loved the cal scale brass, and drooled over the amazing brass locos from Japan, all way expensive for my budget. Anyhow I gave the whole thing away years later. I won’t get back into it, but really support your renewed interest.

    1. I’m in the disorienting position of having to admit that I’m an antique toy train collector. The toys I played with as a kid are now antiques. Somehow, that word carries a particular weight…

  2. Classic Gordon Gecko plan; Buy business using borrowed money. Monetize new business by borrowing through the roof using it as collateral, paying out ‘dividends and other bonuses’ to yourself and the cabal, declare bankruptcy and walk away.

    Plenty of healthy businesses have been used up and thrown away like this. Gotta keep that merry go round running.

    1. Well said. I think that Penn Central may have been a “first” in a decade of first. First man on the moon. First president to resign. First big looting of an old company that had been regulated into complanceny then de-regulated into free-fall.

  3. The business bandits had the problem that they had really started running out of perspective targets by the early 00’s. This is one of the reasons that the ’08 recession hit, because they had hit on a new way to keep the money train rolling (pardon the pun. Need to keep the post on track…) with the deregulated lending and borrowing. These days we have reached total clown central with endless borrowing at 0 per cent, and everything is..uh…off the rails…

    1. It’s THE TECHNOLOGICAL SINGULARITY my friend. Repeat after me: “I, FOR ONE, WELCOME OUR NEW ROBOT OVERLORDS.” (If you’re wondering why I love our new overlords so much, Google “Roko’s Basilisk”).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.