Before getting upset about Penn Central, first remember that Penn Central was not the first choice of either the Pennsylvania Railroad or the New York Central. The PRR wanted the N&W and the other railroads controlled by the Pennsylvania Company. The NYC wanted the B&O and the C&O. But the N&W and the C&O did not want to get involved with the vast commuter operations in the Northeast, so because of that (and other reasons) they ultimately pursued their own mergers without the PRR or the NYC. But look at the map now: The Water Level Route is part of which system? Horseshoe Curve is part of which system?

Bringing this back on topic: When selecting cars to fill out a freight train consist, it can be interesting to remember what the trends were in the time-frame that an activity or route is set in. Before the 1960s it was possible to believe that there would soon be one system made up of PRR+N&W+WAB+LV+others, and another system made up of NYC+C&O+B&O+others. The Erie and the Lackawanna tried to outsmart the trend by merging with each other. And then, contrary to expectations, Penn Central happened. Penn Central didn't fail due to a lack of traffic, in fact they were flooded with traffic! So, while die-hard supporters of the PRR or the NYC (or the New Haven) often had great disdain for the Penn Central, the fact is that Penn Central was, for a time, everywhere.