Reading Co. Photo Gallery - Diesel


Reading’s first serious foray into diesels began in 1937 with the delivery of fifteen 600-horsepower switchers from the Electro-Motive Corp. The busy World War II years found Reading well supplied with steam road power, with no new engines required, but a modest contingent of diesel switchers kept appearing on the roster. Thus for the moment, Reading’s Motive Power Department was firmly set upon a course that favored high horsepowered steam for all road work and its postwar steam program went into high gear with both rebuilds and new engines. However, despite this ambitious program, which included thirty high-capacity T-1 Northerns, 1945 saw the delivery of five four-unit 5400 horsepower FT freight locomotives built by EMD. The flexibility, reliability, lower-operating costs and advances in technology associated with the FT’s and subsequent models ultimately helped seal the fate of steam on the Reading as it was gradually phased out over the next ten years. By 1955, the T-1 Northerns were the only remaining steam on the active loco roster.*


Reading Baldwin DS-4-4-1000 #716, November 1959. (photo courtesy David Nyce, Gary Stuebben Collection) Click here to see the Society’s unit that is currently awaiting restoration.

Reading EMD FT A/B units, #251. These early examples of “carbody” diesels were delivered with drawbars permanently connecting each unit together. The term “locomotive” in the infancy period of diesels often meant two or four units (although today it usually means just one). Eventually drawbars were phased out and replaced with conventional couplers for greater operating and servicing flexibility. Locomotive #251 entered service on February 5, 1945, initially assigned to operate between Tamaqua and Newberry Jct. (the Reading’s interchange with the NY Central outside of Williamsport). (photo courtesy Louis J. DiMarco)


The above photo submitted by Louis J. DiMarco (a visitor to our site who points out he is not a railfan) has a rather unique story behind its origin. His comments: “I took a picture with a box camera of one of the first diesels in Williamsport. There was a small freight yard there and they often stopped and moved some cars back and forth. They actually stopped in front of our house but they disconnected a couple of blocks east. I was able to run to it and take the picture with a cheap box camera. I figured it was really “neat” until someone pointed out that the engineer was looking back and it was probably backing up. I had tried to make it look like it was moving ahead. The diesel picture was taken between 1946 and 1948. I’m sure it was the first year that they put them on the line whenever that was.”


Reading ALCO RS-3 #497 at Norristown, PA station, June 1960. (photo courtesy David Nyce, Gary Stuebben Collection) Click here to see the Society’s unit that is currently awaiting restoration.


Reading EMD F7 #271 at Tamaqua, PA, July 1958. (photo courtesy David Nyce, Gary Stuebben Collection)


Reading EMD GP30 #3610 idles outside the Bethlehem engine terminal, date unkown. (photo courtesy J. Hunt) Click here to see the Society’s restored unit.


Reading EMD SD45 #7600 on a snowy December day, Philadelphia, PA, 1967. (photo courtesy M.S. Zak, Gary Stuebben Collection)

*(info courtesy “Reading Company in Color,” by Bert Pennypacker, Morning Sun Books)  



Back to the Reading Co. Photo Gallery Main Page


RCTHS Information Reading Railroad Heritage Museum Information Reading Railroad Historical Archive RCT&HS Reference

History and Purpose

Become a Member!

Corporate Membership

Meeting and Facilities Information

Calendar of Events

RCT&HS Members' Site

Volunteer Opportunities

Society Publications

Donations and Support


Visit Us!

Latest News

News Archive

Calendar of Events

Resources for Educators

Railroading Merit Badge

Support the Museum

The Future

A Brief History

System Map Interchanges

Routes & Mileages Codes

Passenger Rosters


Diesel Roster Steam Roster

Caboose Info Frt. Roster

Photo Galleries

Surviving Equipment

When Coal Was King

Indexes: Bee Line Calendars


Researching Employee Records

RCT&HS Photo Roster

Multimedia Gallery

Modeler's Reference

Paint Colors Guide