It was common practice for the railroads to offer as a courtesy free or discounted travel to employees of other railroads. This privilege usually extended up to the company presidents.
This story is about the president of the Waupaca and Nisha Railroad went to visit the president of the Vanderbilt systems, which included the New York Central. When he asked for an exchange of courtesies, the following exchange took place:
NYC: Where is your road?
W&N: In Wisconsin.
NYC: Is it rated in Poor's (stock) manual.
W&N: Yes, we paid a nice dividend last year.
NYC: Strange, I never heard of your road. How long is it?
W&N: We are operating 67 miles this year.
NYC: What, 67 miles, you call that an exchange of courtesies, the Vanderbilt system has thousands of miles?
The president of the Vanderbilt system thought he had the best of the circumstance, but the president of the little W&N replied:
Adapted from "A Treasury of RAILROAD FOLKLORE" - 1953
2004 by Joseph D. Korman