In memoriam: Former Penn Central, B&O president Langdon (2/18/2004)


Jervis Langdon Jr., former head of three major railroads and grandnephew of author Mark Twain, died Feb. 16 at his home in Elmira, N.Y. He was 99.

During his 50-year railroad career, Langdon served as president of the Penn Central, Baltimore and Ohio, and Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific railroads. In 1964, he played a key role in the Baltimore and Ohio's merger with the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad. Langdon also guided Penn Central during its bankruptcy.

"Langdon's greatest achievement was recognizing that Penn Central and the other bankrupts could not be cured without a government-led restructuring," says Rush Loving, a Baltimore writer who interviewed Langdon for a book on Penn Central and Conrail. "His real strength was his sense of politics and strategy. He knew how to deal with people, whether it be Judge Fullam, who presided over the bankruptcy, or Frank Barnett, the chairman of the Union Pacific who persuaded everyone in Washington that government action was needed, or Congress itself. In the back room, he briefed Judge Fullam and persuaded him to tell Washington to do something or he would shut down the railroad."

Langdon retired in 1976, but continued to serve as a consultant for several railroads. In 1990, he was elected to Baltimore's Railroad Hall of Fame.

Langdon is survived by his wife, Irene, three sons and a daughter.

Source: Progressive Railroading Daily News