Penn Central Railroad

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Penn Central Transportation Company, known generally as just Penn Central, was formed by the merger of the Pennsylvania and New York Central railroads in 1968. The New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad was absorbed in 1969. The company declared bankruptcy in 1970. By showing the urgency of ending its long haul passenger service, the bankruptcy prompted Congress to create Amtrak.

A famous eminent domain case was Penn Central Transportation Co. v. New York City which took place in 1978. Penn Central wanted to construct an office tower above Grand Central Terminal. Because the existing terminal had landmark status, Penn Central had to present its plans to the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, which ruled that Penn Central was proposing too great a modification to the landmark.

Penn Central sued on the grounds that by preventing their commercial use, the city was "taking" private property without compensation, contrary to the Fifth Amendment. The Supreme Court ruled against them, stating that when the supposed taking results from a regulation, and not a transfer of property ownership, the current use of the property must be damaged by the regulation.

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