Perlman, Alfred Edward

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PERLMAN, ALFRED EDWARD (1902–1983), U.S. railroad executive and first Jewish president of a major American railway system. Perlman was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, and spent his early career working with the engineering and administrative departments of major United States railroad corporations. From 1952 to 1954 he was president of the New York Central System and in 1965 he became president and chief administrative officer of the Pennsylvania–New York Central Transportation Company, which went bankrupt in 1970. Some of the major contributions that Perlman's management team made to the railway include creating a smaller, more productive workforce; improving services, such as tightening the freight schedules; extending strategic sidings to minimize train delays; strengthening and replacing bridges and structures; installing vhf radio communication systems; expanding intermodal facilities and services; and implementing total management and cost control systems.

Among Perlman's many public offices in the United States and abroad were those of an adviser to the Korean (1949) and Israeli (1950) railroad systems. He was chairman of the Eastern Railroads Presidents' Conference, a member of most professional organizations connected with railroading, and a contributor to professional publications.


Perlman's 16-page Western Pacific Railroad: The Feather River Route was published in 1975. add. bibliography: J. Daughen and P. Binzen, The Wreck of the Penn Central (1999).

[Joachim O. Ronall /

Ruth Beloff (2nd ed.)]