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GP39-2 News Release/

The Reading Company Technical and Historical Society has added a historically significant locomotive to its collection with the acquisition of CSX GP39-2 4317, originally built as Reading 3412, one of twenty such units, 3401-3420, delivered to the railroad in 1974. These were the last roadswitcher type locomotives acquired by the Reading. The Society gratefully acknowledges the generous donation made by CSX Transportation.

The GP39-2, with its 12-cylinder turbocharged engine, was not a widely popular locomotive. Only 249 were built between 1974 and 1988, and did find favor with a few railroads and industrial users. They fit in with the four axle units already on the Reading’s roster. They proved highly efficient and reliable. In 1976, Conrail was formed by the merger of several financially troubled railroads, incorporating the locomotives on the railroads’ rosters. However, the twenty GP39-2s were conveyed to the Delaware and Hudson Railway, and joined 20 more GP39-2s built new for the D&H. The Reading units were renumbered 7401-7420, eventually going to Guilford Transportation Industries, and then returned to the D&H in 1988.

CSX acquired the GP39-2s at the end of their lease in 1990, and numbered by CSX as 4300-4319, in no particular order. The former D&H 7412/Reading 3412 was renumbered 4317. While the D&H had repainted the GP39-2s in a number of different paint schemes, 3412 wore its Reading green with yellow stripes during its entire time on the D&H.

After working for CSX for 28 years, the 4317 will join the other former Reading locomotives, passenger and freight cars in the collection of the RCT&HS at their museum in Hamburg, PA. Plans are to restore this locomotive to its original Reading number and livery as time and funding permit. Donations to help restore this piece of the Reading’s history are greatly appreciated and welcome.

The RCT&HS is grateful to CSX Transportation for their generous donation, and also acknowledges Norfolk Southern for their cooperation in moving 4317 quickly and safely over their railroad, and the assistance provided by the Reading and Northern Railroad assuring the final delivery to the museum.


We have been recently in a PCN program filmed in August at the RRHM. Click HERE to watch.

 

2018

2017

HAMBURG RAILFEST 2017 was a resounding success! Nearly 1000 people came to celebrate “Bee Line Service” and the 50 th anniversary of locos #6300 and #5308 and participate in the Museum activities on August 12 and 13. In addition, 70 people rode the A & A excursion on Friday evening, 40 enjoyed the dinner on Saturday evening, and 25 avid photographers returned on Sat., August 19 to take night photos. The best part was watching our visitors enjoy the locomotives, the modular railroad, the LEMTU, the president’s car, the Munchkin Railway, the music, the mural, the vendors and more! PA Senator David Argall and PA Rep. Jerry Knowles presented the RCT&HS with commendations during the dedication of the new mural on Saturday afternoon. PA Sen. Judy Schwank and US Rep. Charles Dent also spoke their congratulations. Visitors were impressed at the mural’s details, colors, and size. Thanks to the Hamburg Art Alliance of the Our Town Foundation for sponsoring the mural. RAILFEST raised recognition and awareness of the Reading Railroad Heritage Museum for hundreds of people. Ten new members joined during RAILFEST. The number of Museum visitors has continued to grow each weekend since the festival. “Thank you” does not begin to express enough gratitude to over 60 volunteers who helped during the event and many more volunteers who helped with preparations. MP&RE members worked tirelessly to make our locomotive fleet shine. Wasn’t it a thrill to hear and see our locomotives come alive? The modular railroad was among the most popular attractions at RAILFEST. Thanks to the Modular Committee members who showcased the 102 ft. HO railroad. The Munchkin Railway had 4 or 5 cars continuously filled with smiling children. Visitors were amazed as they visited the LEMTU and president’s car. Our feet still tap when we remember the great music. Thanks to the RBHTA for exhibiting the buses. And thanks to the busy volunteers who staffed the crowded Museum store. Special thanks, also, to our generous sponsors and those who gave in-kind donations.


2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

Second Annual "Bee Line Festival" Held

On Saturday, May 9, the Reading Railroad Heritage Museum held its second annual "Bee Line Festival." This year's festival included several unique events and presentations, including Charlie Adams' suspenseful tales of train wrecks and ghost stories in the theater, an Operation Lifesaver presentation sponsored by Norfolk Southern, the railroad songs and stories of Matt Dodd, and TRAIN RIDES! Yes, you read that right! Reading Alco C630 #5308 and EMD NW2 #103 returned to "revenue service" hauling several hundred passengers between South Hamburg and Shoemakersville during the Festival. For those of you who weren't able to attend the event, we've posted some photos below. We hope to see you at next year's BEE LINE FESTIVAL!

 

Passengers board the Bee Line Festival excursion train in South Hamburg.  Bill Hodson photo.

Above: Passengers board the Bee Line Festival excursion train. Bill Hodson photo. Below left: Our restored A5a "parade locomotive" #1176 poses in front of the Museum. Dale Woodland photo. Below right: "Singing Brakeman" Matt Dodd entertains visitors with songs and tales of the rails. Andrew Dietz photo.

Restored A5a parade locomotive #1176.  Dale Woodland photo.Matt Dodd entertains visitors with songs and tales of the rails.  Andrew Dietz photo.

 

 

Railroading Merit Badge Instruction to be offered by RRHM

Railroading Merit BadgeAttention Scouts and Scouters! Beginning this fall, the Reading Railroad Heritage Museum will offer instruction in the Railroading Merit Badge. If you are a Scout interested in earning this merit badge, or a Scout leader interested in scheduling a program for your troop, click here for more information. In addition to merit badge instruction, the Reading Railroad Heritage Museum invites Scouts to inquire about volunteer opportunites that could be used to fulfill service project requirements for advancement. If you are interested in volunteering at the Museum, click here for information about available opportunities, then contact us. We look forward to working with you to help you achieve your Scouting goals!

2010

The "Perk Local" Rides Again!

Reading FP7 #903 will haul excursions in October on the Perkiomen Branch.  Dale Woodland photo.

 

 

 

The Reading Company Technical & Historical Society is pleased to announce the return of passenger excursions using restored Reading FP7s #902 and #902, on the Perkiomen Branch of the former Reading Railroad. The trips will run on October 3, 4, 10, and 11, and are sponsored by the Borough of Emmaus and the Upper Perkiomen Valley Chamber of Commerce. Click here for trip details and ticket information!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Movin' On Up - To Hamburg!

A view of the Reading Railroad Heritage Museum after the addition of a third display track and additional equipment.  Dale Woodland photo.

 

A view of RRHM/RCT&HS equipment in South Hamburg. Dale Woodland photo.JULY 10 - Over the past several weeks, the Reading Railroad Heritage Museum crew has been busy laying additional display trackage in our storage yard. As a result of this effort, we have been able to move the majority of the Society's rolling stock collection out of our temporary storage at Temple and Leesport and up to Hamburg, either on Museum property, or to the RBMN's South Hamburg Yard. Having the bulk of our collection in one place allows us to enhance the visitor experience by showcasing additional examples of original Reading Railroad rolling stock, and also eases our security and maintenance requirements. As additional temporary display tracks are laid, equipment will be shifted from the RBMN yard to Museum property. Our thanks to everyone who has been assisting with the tracklaying and equipment moves over the past several weeks. Be sure to visit the Museum to watch the evolution of our display yard, and click here to see our ultimate vision for the Museum site plan!

 

 

2012 Reading Railroad Calendar Now Available!

The Society's 2012 Reading Railroad Calendar featuring the steam and diesel engines of the Reading is now available. Click here for details!

 

 

John Henry comes to Hamburg: Tracklaying Underway at the RRHM!

 

RCT&HS volunteers work on laying a third display track at the Reading Railroad Heritage Museum.  Jeff Smith photo.For the past several weeks, Reading Railroad Heritage Museum volunteers have been carrying rail and driving spikes to help construct a third display track in the Museum display yard. This additional track will allow us to move more of our equipment onto Museum property for display and restoration. While it's definitely hard work, the Society is very fortunate to have the expertise within its membership to lay our own track without the use of professional contractors. Over the summer of 2009, additional equipment will be moved on-site, so visit the Museum to check out our new arrivals!

 

Volunteers lay rail near the new switch for the third display track at the RRHM.  Jeff Smith photo.A view of the new third display track at the RRHM.  Jeff Smith photo.

 

 

 

 

2009

2008

APRIL/2008: Bee Line Festival (Museum Grand Opening!)new!

We are pleased to announce the Grand Opening of the Reading Railroad Heritage Museum on April 12, 2008. In celebration of the Museum and in conjunction with the 175th anniversary of the Reading Railroad, the Bee Line Festival has been brought to life. Click here for more info.


MARCH/2008: Ex-RDG Newtown Branch’s Southampton Station to be Restorednew!

BY GEMA MARIA DUARTE
Of the Bucks County Courier Times

SOUTHAMPTON, PA–The Southampton Railroad Station Society will take out its brooms and dustpans to kick-start the restoration of the Southampton Railroad Station. The society is working to restore the more than 100-year-old station, a project that will cost about $300,000. For six months, the society has received donations and grants to cover renovation costs.

First, though, comes the dirty work. The group plans a cleanup in April of the surrounding area from Second Street Pike to Street Road and its underpass, which is cluttered with graffiti on the walls and abandoned furniture. “We can’t wait to get rid of all of that junk,” society member Charles Liberto said Thursday. About 20 volunteers will pick up trash, paint the underpass walls and make track repairs in front of the station. “The cleanup won’t cost much,” Liberto said. The township will provide the group with Dumpsters and Amtrak donated railroad ties. The most costly supplies will be rails and paint, he said.

But not everyone is thrilled with the cleanup plan. The tracks, which are covered by overgrown vegetation, lie behind Phyllis Ullo’s Carlin Drive property and she doesn’t want the weeds to be removed. “You may see it as overgrown vegetation,” read a letter dated March 18 that she sent to the township. “I consider it a sanctuary that affords me privacy, tranquility and an area free from undesirable activity. It is far away enough from the train station building so as not be considered blight on [the] commendable project.”

The society isn’t planning to remove vegetation beyond Street Road at this point, Liberto said. Before the cleanup can happen, Upper Southampton’s supervisors must approve a letter drafted by the society to SEPTA detailing the cleanup plan. “The board needs to discuss that at the April 1 meeting,” township Manager Joe Golden said. “We’re sure we will get the final approval from SEPTA,” Liberto said.

Besides reviving the wood-frame building, the society wants to plant a garden and install a fountain. It wants to built a museum and gift shop. Once renovations are completed, tours and community activities will be planned.

The station is one of the few left on the old Reading Railroad Newtown Line, said society member James Day. The first floor, which remains intact, was used as a waiting room with benches and a ticket window until the 1980s. The second floor has two rooms that were occupied as living quarters by stationmasters but hasn’t been in use since the ’60s.


FEBRUARY/2008: GP7 #621 Finally Arrives Home!new!


NW2 #103 northbound at Five-Locks with #621 in tow. (photo courtesy Nate Mengel)


Newly arrived #621 at the Hamburg Museum. (photo courtesy Nate Mengel)

Ex-Reading Company GP7 #621 has finally arrived home! Between January 17th and 22nd, #621 was moved from the Perkiomen Branch of the East Penn Railway to the Reading & Northern interchange at Temple, PA. The unit remained there until February 9th when it was moved by the RCT&HS to the grounds of the Reading Railroad Heritage Museum. Engine #103 was made ready and used for this special move. Thanks to the MP&RE (Motive Power & Rolling Equipment) crew and all the members that made this acquisition and move a success. Time and funds permitting, #621 will eventually be fully-restored into its 1953 as-delivered “olive drab” scheme. Click here for more photos/info on the Railfan.net Reading Co. forum.


FEBRUARY/2008: 3rd Annual RCT&HS Conventionnew!

  • When: April 5, 2008
  • Where: Leesport Fire House, Leesport, PA
  • Time: Registration at 8:30 a.m., Programs start 9:00 a.m.
  • Admission: $20.00 per person
  • Lunch: $10.00 per person
  • Vendor tables: $20.00 per table

Preston Cook will present: “Inside EMD.” This will be a two and one-half-hour presentation on the development of the various classes of EMD Locomotives and the inside story on each. (Preston will be retiring this program at the end of this year. It is a must see program.) In addition, the following presentations will be offererd:

  • Ben Bernhart: Port Richmond
  • John Greene: Philadelphia & Reading Wood Passenger Cars
  • Mike Smith: Reading Company in its Final Years

All Registrants will receive a tour of the Hamburg Museum.

Click here to download a mail-in ticket order form.


JANUARY/2008: RCT&HS Hamburg Museum and Store Opens!new!

After a long, hard journey, the RCT&HS is proud to annouce another milestone with the opening of the Reading Railroad Heritage Museum. The museum is currently open Sundays-only in February and weekends in March. Saturday hours: 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; Sunday hours: noon–5 p.m. Included with museum admission: video, "The Reading Railroad Shaped Communities", museum displays, and museum store. Also, tours of outdoor rail car display weather permitting. Grand Opening is scheduled for Saturday April 12, 2008. Click here for more info.


JANUARY/2008: FP7’s Safely Arrive at the Railroad Musuem of Pennsylvanianew!

Newly arrived FP7’s at the Railroad Musuem of PA. (photo courtesy Mike Carter, Railroad Museum of PA volunteer)

On January 9th, FP7’s Nos. 902 and 903 arrived at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania (RRMofPA). A one year loan arrangement has been agreed upon between the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission and the RCT&HS. This agreement allows the locomotives to be displayed at the RRMofPA while the RCT&HS retains the rights to operate the units.

Below is an article on the FP7’s that appeared in the Intelligencer Journal:

Gone loco: Railroad Museum gets two historic diesels

BY LARRY ALEXANDER
Of the Intelligencer Journal

STRASBURG, PA–The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in Strasburg has twins: two 58-year-old Diesel locomotives weighing in at 255,000 pounds each. The new arrivals were brought to the museum Wednesday via the main line at Paradise and the tracks of the Strasburg Rail Road.

Dubbed the 902 and the 903, the locomotives are owned by the Reading Company Technical and Historical Society and the Philadelphia Chapter of the National Railroad Historical Society, respectively.

They will be on display at the state museum for at least a year and maybe longer. “We’re very happy to have them and protect them for as long as they’re here,” David Dunn, the museum’s director, said.

The two are part of a fleet of eight FP7 passenger-train diesels built by General Motors’ Electro-Motive Division and sold to the Reading Railroad. From 1950, when they were built, to 1967, when Reading phased out passenger service, the locomotives took passengers from Reading and Philadelphia to New York at a top speed of 89 miles per hour.

Trains pulled by locomotives 900 and 901 were called “The Crusader,” while the 902 and 903 operated under the name “The Wall Street.” They were later joined by the 904 and 905. The 906 and 907 arrived in 1952 and were assigned to the Schuylkill line running between Philadelphia and Pottsville.

After 1967, they did a stint pulling commuter trains between Philadelphia and Reading. They were sold to SEPTA in Philadelphia, where they operated until 1985. Retired and in poor condition, the 900, the 902 and the 903–the only ones saved from the scrap yard–were sold.

The Lancaster Chapter of the National Railroad Historical Society bought the 902 and the Philadelphia chapter purchased the 903 and 900. After evaluating the condition of each, restoration was begun on the 902 and 903 in 1985, with the intent of making them look like they did during their Reading Railroad days. The 900 will be restored at a later date.

The historic groups knew they had their work cut out for them. Both were “pretty well rusted,” said Cindy Bowers, project coordinator of the Lancaster Chapter of NRHS for the past 21 years. “They were both completely gone over and overhauled mechanically,” Bowers said. “The car bodies were very bad. We had to completely replace the outside panels and do other extensive body work.” A rebuilt diesel motor was put into the 903. Restoration ended in 2000. The 902 cost about $300,000, with the 903 costing a bit less.

In 2006, the Lancaster Chapter of the NRHS donated the 902 to the Reading Company Technical and Historical Society, which is creating its own museum.

Today, both engines are not just restored to look like new but also are fully operational. Both have been used to pull excursion trains, most recently in October, when they traveled over the former Perkiomen branch of the Reading Railroad to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Upper Perkiomen Valley Chamber of Commerce.

This summer, Bowers said, the NRHS hopes to sponsor excursion trips from Philadelphia to Reading and Philadelphia to Strasburg. The latter trip would allow people from Philadelphia to visit the museum, as well as ride the historic cars of the Strasburg Rail Road.

“These locomotives are fully operational and can run on the main line,” she said. When the excursion season is over, Bowers said, it’s possible the two locomotives might be kept at the Strasburg museum, using it as their base of operation.

“I’ve always thought it a win-win situation for both us and the railroad museum to store these locomotives here,” she said. Dunn agrees. "We will keep them here for as long as the RCT&HS wants us to keep them," Dunn said.

2007

NOVEMBER/2007: Air Horns Stolen Off Ex-Reading of FP7’s and Penn Eastern GP7

This article appears courtesy the Morning Call and Patrick Lester:

Police sound alarm on train whistle thefts

BY PATRICK LESTER
Of the Morning Call

Three railroad organizations fell victim over the weekend to a crime that one train hobbyist says is becoming increasingly common: train whistle thefts.

Air horns were stolen from three trains parked at a railroad siding near Brown Printing Co., 668 Gravel Pike, Upper Hanover Township, according to state police at Skippack.

Dale Woodland, a member of the Reading Company Technical and Historical Society, which owns one of the trains, said locomotive whistles have become a frequent target of thieves in recent years. In some cases, thieves have been brazen enough to advertise stolen whistles on eBay.

“It’s not all that unusual,” said Woodland, who lives in Souderton and has written four books on the Reading Railroad. “Most often, it’s truckers who want bravado-sounding horns. They’ve been stolen from locomotives from throughout the country.”

A quick scan of eBay Monday showed 39 air horns listed on eBay for between $80 and $200.

The whistles aren’t easy to steal. Woodland said the horns, typically mounted to the roof of a train engine and used to warn motorists and pedestrians of an oncoming locomotive at railroad crossings, are between 1 foot and 2 feet long. He said they could weigh roughly 50-60 pounds.

Woodland said there are usually about five or six trains parked at the siding where the thefts occurred.

East Penn Railroad of Kennett Square, Chester County, and the Philadelphia chapter of the National Railway Historical Society based in Springfield, Montgomery County, owned the other trains from which whistles were taken, police said.

Investigators said the thefts happened between 10 a.m. Friday and 11:30 p.m. Sunday.

Woodland, who was unsure how much the whistles cost, said his organization may have to pay for a new one.

He said two trains the organization kept in Upper Hanover were being stored there after October excursions offered in that area by the Upper Perkiomen Valley Chamber of Commerce.

He said the trains may soon be en route to the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in Strasburg, Lancaster County.

Woodland said that after past thefts, other train organizations have been able to find the stolen whistles on eBay. He said his organization would be checking that Web site.

Anyone with information about the stolen train horns is asked to call Trooper Timothy J. McDonough at (610) 410-3835.


OCTOBER/2007: Upper Perkiomen Valley Chamber of Commerce Excursions

Well it’s a wrap! The October 6th, 7th, 13th and 14th Upper Perkiomen Valley Chamber of Commerce (UPVCC)-sponsored excursions are now just a memory. The FP7’s put on a great show that left many smiles on faces young and old. A big thank you to the UPVCC, those that rode, as well as the RCT&HS members who staffed the cars and worked behind the scenes to help make these trips possible!

Engines tweaked, washed, coupled to the trainset, ready to go!

Engines tweaked, washed, coupled to the trainset, ready to go! (photo courtesy Dale Woodland)


SEPTEMBER/2007: Heritage Museum to Host Railroad Related One-Act Plays

The RCT&HS and the Reading Community Players announced the winners of a play writing competition. Last year, original one-act plays about Reading Railroad subjects were invited. Six persons submitted plays and two have been selected for production. “Identity Theft,” by August Nigro, and “Lightning Train,” by Barbara Bryan will be presented by the Reading Community Players in partnership with the RCT&HS on Saturday, November 10, and Sunday, November 11, at the Reading Railroad Heritage Museum in Hamburg. More details will be announced soon. Make plans to attend this exciting event, which will be part of the Museum’s Grand Opening celebration.


SEPTEMBER/2007: Reading Car #10 Back in Service on the Strasburg Railroad

Reading Company business car #10 is in service. The Strasburg Railroad has completed a $150,000 refurbishment of the car allowing it to be used in regular service. Car #10 which was built for P&R President, George Baer, is used on the 11:30, 12:30, and 1:30 trains now through Labor Day. Tickets cost $45 buying you one round trip to Paradise including wine and hors d’oeuvres.

Reading business car #10 on the 12:30 train to Paradise approching Groff’s Grove on Saturday, August 11, 2007. (photo courtesy Jeff Smith)


SEPTEMBER/2007: The Reading in Washington State

On July 15th and 16th member Lee Schultz photographed Reading T-1 #2100 and Crusader observation Coach No. 5 in Washington State. The 2100 is in Benton, WA and the Crusader car operates on the Spirit of Washington Diner Train in Renton, WA.


SEPTEMBER/2007: Museum Tracklaying Begins!!!

Progress was made toward the construction of a temporary display track at our Hamburg Museum site. On June 30th, a backhoe was brought in to construct a ramp from the R&N’s South Hamburg Shop area to the higher ground of the RCT&HS property. Our newly donated dump truck assisted by hauling the ground away. You can see more photos at the following:


JUNE/2007: Railroad Museum of PA Reading Days

The RCT&HS modular layout was set up in the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania on July 4–8. It was Reading Days at the museum where Reading equipment was featured which included demonstrations of the former Reading 100’ turntable. The layout was 128" long and was enjoyed by many visitors. (photo courtesy Jeff Smith)


MAY/2007: EMD GP35 #3640 Undergoing Restoration

Terrific progress is being made on the Society’s ex-RDG EMD GP35 #3640 inside the BM&R’s Hamburg shops. You can see for yourself at Railfan.net’s Reading Co. forum. Hats off to RCT&HS Motive Power Chairman Tim Weidner and other dedicated volunteers!


APRIL/2007: RCT&HS 2007 Modular & Sales Shows

We’re pleased to announce the RCT&HS 2007 schedule for train shows in southeastern PA. All shows feature sales tables of RDG-related merchandise (books, calendars, RCT&HS publications, videos, scale models, apparel, etc.) with our large modular HO-scale layout being displayed at selected shows only. If you’re interested in helping out and manning the tables, please contact Duane Engle, (610) 929-5661, rcths.dengle@juno.com

Modular & Sales Shows
Trains, Planes & Auto Show Fairgrounds Square Mall, Reading, PA June 7–June 10
Reading Railroad Days* Railroad Museum of PA, Strasburg, PA July 4–July 8
Iron Heritage Festival Danville, PA July 20–July 22
PA Christmas Gift & Craft Show* Farm Show Complex, Harrisburg, PA Nov. 28–Dec. 2

*(admission charged to enter show)


APRIL/2007: RCT&HS Passenger Train Operations

Passenger train operations for 2007 are in the planning stage and will be annouced at a future date.


FEBRUARY/2007: TTX Company Donates Flatcar to RCT&HS

In February, the Society took delivery of 89 foot flat car JTTX 802611 graciously donated by TTX Company of Chicago, IL. Originally built as a tri-level autorack in October 1978, the car was de-racked and used as a special purpose flat car. This car will give the Society the means to initially move and store the Reading Grill car #2060 closer to home until restoration begins. As a condition of the donation, the TTX reporting marks have been removed and the car is now RCTH 802611. With over a decade of interchange service life left, the potential to utilize this flat car to retrieve or move other large objects after #2060 will be a great benefit. The Society sincerely thanks the TTX Company for their generosity.

2006

DECEMBER/2006: Help the Heritage Museum by Simply Shopping On-Line!

Do you shop online? Your on-line purchases can turn into money for the Reading Railroad Heritage Museum!

The Reading Railroad Heritage Museum is now registered at ShopforMuseums.com. ShopforMuseums.com is secure and simple to use. Log on to the website, www.ShopforMuseums.com They have a relationship with over 300 national participating retailers, including Boscov’s, Macy’s, Amazon, Office Max, Cabela’s, Lands’ End, Dell Computers, PetsMart, Sears, Office Max, Ebay, and many more. With each online visit, shoppers simply start at www.ShopforMuseums.com, sign in and select The Reading Railroad Heritage Museum to receive a donation. Then choose the store you would like to shop at by using the links on the ShopforMuseums website. The rest is automatic! ShopforMuseums.com tracks the sales and sends donations to us quarterly. Depending on the store, the donation varies from 1% to 10% of the shopper’s total. Click here to download a pdf file of participating stores.

Be sure to designate the Reading Railroad Heritage Museum at www.ShopforMuseums.com every time you shop on line!


DECEMBER/2006: Santa to Visit Temple Station!

Santa will pay a special visit to the Temple Station to spread a little holiday cheer for all train lovers young and old. Be sure to mark your calendar for December 9 & 10, 16 & 17 and 23. Santa will be available from noon–4 p.m. in our caboose at the station.

We will also have a model railroad in place starting on the 9th and going thru till the 31st on weekends. Times to be determined but we are probably looking at Saturdays 10 or 11 a.m–5 p.m. and Sundays noon–5 p.m. As usual any help or support would be greatly appreciated. Please contact Duane Engle, (610) 929-5661, rcths.dengle@juno.com if you’d like to volunteer your time.

Best wishes for a joyful holiday season from everybody at the RCT&HS!


DECEMBER/2006: Ex-RDG MU #800 Undergoing Cosmetic Restoration

Photo sent in by "Newarkbob" of the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania’s ex-RDG MU #800 currently undergoing cosmetic restoration inside their first-class restoration facility. Good to see she is finally getting some much needed TLC. We can’t wait to see the completed results!


APRIL/2006: First Annual RCT&HS Convention

The First Annual Convention of the RCT&HS was held Saturday April 1, 2006 at the new museum site in Hamburg, PA. The event, attended by 60 members, was from 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m. Slide programs were presented by John Funk–The Reading in the 1950s, Bob Wanner–The Reading in Reading in the 1950s, John Greene–Reading Covered Hoppers, Dale W.Woodland–Reading Alco’s, and Dick Diehm–The Golden Spike Special of 1969. Fred Wertz also presented a power point presentation on re-building the Reading in Harrisburg. Model railroad displays were set up by Steve Gilbert, Don Davis and Carroll Keene. After lunch the group was given a tour of the museum site and Carl Adams gave a report on of the progress of our museum. The Society’s sales table was set up and manned by Ken Riegel, Carroll Keene and Duane Engle with assistance from Rebecca Engle.

The convention was organized by John Greene. Everyone seemed to enjoy their day and a chance to see what the museum is all about. Next year, with more of the facility completed, we look forward to an even bigger event.

2005

AUGUST/2005: RCT&HS Begins Repainting Ex-SEPTA (nee RDG) MU Power Cars & Coaches

We’ve begun the process of repainting some of our Ex-SEPTA (nee RDG) power cars and coaches. Below are the results of our first car, #9115. “Reading Company” lettering has yet to be applied, but you can see what a difference a new coat of paint makes. Compare with the before SEPTA paint scheme. We hope to have a solid trainset of repainted coaches in the not too-distant future. Stay tuned!!!

Coach #9115 at South Hamburg. (photo courtesy RN_addict from the Railfan.net Forums)

Side view of coach #9115 at South Hamburg. (photo courtesy LGSR_ENGR from the Railfan.net Forums)


JULY/2005: New Restaurant Opens in Tamaqua

BY LINDSEY PONCAVAGE
Tamaqua Bureau Chief, Pottsville Republican

When Wayne E. Collins retired from his position in the Tamaqua Train Station more than 20 years ago, the building he left was completely different from the one he returned to Wednesday evening.

“The last time I worked here, there was only one room fit to be in. Now look at it. It’s just like it was meant to be,” said Collins, Delano, with a sweeping glance around the pristine and fully restored historic station.

Collins attended a VIP event held in celebration of Friday’s upcoming grand opening of The Restaurant at the Station.

In his years with the railroad, Collins worked as an operator, train dispatcher, and most recently as a member of the extra board to distribute employees’ paychecks.

Because Collins is on record as the last employee of the Reading Railroad to work at the station, the owners of The Restaurant at the Station, Bill E. and Sheryl L. Beltz, thought it fitting that he participate in the opening events.

“He was the very last person to work at the train station, so now he’s the very first person to open it up again,” said Sheryl L. Beltz as she raised her glass in a toast to Collins, who then proceeded to open the restaurant’s double glass doors for its first night of service.

Beltz said Wednesday night’s festivities would essentially be the proving grounds for the restaurant, as they presented their service to an anticipated group of up to 100 invited guests, including local politicians, members and officers of Tamaqua Save Our Station (S.O.S.), and others who were instrumental in planning and restoring the train station.

Although most of their staff is working together for the first time, the Beltzes have been in the restaurant business for 15 years and they bring with them experience they’ve gained from running their other restaurant, Brookside Restaurant and Pub in Parkplace.

The Restaurant at the Station will feature a full line of fine dining cuisine, which has proved popular at Brookside.

Beltz added that a full seasonal selection of local Pennsylvania wines will also be served as a tribute to the area.

With the addition of the restaurant, the Tamaqua Train Station has added its final tenant, which completes the long-anticipated plans for the station’s occupation and use.

“The restaurant is really the anchor tenant here,” said Kenneth A. Smulligan of Tamaqua S.O.S. “When its in operation, the station will be open more hours, and the other businesses will see much more business.”

“The businesses really compliment each other. When customers have finished their meals, they’ll naturally visit Gertrude Hawk, the Weed Barn and the gift shop to round out their visit to the station,” Bill E. Betz said.

“Locally, if the people support it, it will be a success,” said Rose Kosch, who works in the station’s gift shop. “They have a lot to be proud of here. Everyone who’s connected with the restoration has done so much, and they deserve a good outcome.”

The Restaurant at the Station has slated its grand opening to the public for Friday.

2004

OCTOBER/2004: RCT&HS Aquires Auxilary Tender #90691

At the Wilmington & Western’s Greenbank station on the afternoon of September 10, the lowboy truck trailer is in position with temporary ramps, ready to receive the tender. The yellow W&W crane in the distance will be used to pull the tender the last few feet onto the trailer. (photo by Rick Bates)

The tender is slowly pushed up the ramp onto the trailer by a W&W locomotive and an idler car, both out of view to the right. (photo by Rick Bates)

The tender is loaded and the truck is ready to depart Greenbank, late afternoon Friday September 10. (photo by Rick Bates)

Westbound on US 422 the morning of Saturday September 11, the tender has just passed the Oaks exit. The photo is taken just beyond the point where the highway crosses the right-of-way of the Reading’s former Perkiomen Branch. (photo by John Hall)

The rig pulls into the parking lot at Temple station, site of the RCT&HS’ temporary museum. (photo by Mike Soulia)

RCT&HS volunteers work to carefully unload the tender. (photo by Mike Soulia)

A longtime goal of the RCT&HS was finally achieved on September 11, 2004 with the delivery to Temple of RDG #90691, the auxiliary water car which was originally a steam locomotive tender. It was built in 1901, serial number 7128, making it the oldest piece of rolling stock now owned by RCT&HS. The records are incomplete, but we believe it was assigned to several different locomotives, including in the 1930s class E-3b #1409, an 0-8-0 camelback switcher. In 1943, the tender was converted into a water car for the Tamaqua Fire Fighting train, receiving the roster number 90691and thus becoming a piece of non-revenue work equipment (see article in Bee Line 1987-1). Sold for scrap by the Reading in 1966, it initially ended up on the short-lived Wawa & Concordville tourist railroad, and then was trucked to the Wilmington & Western RR, where it was stored for many years.

About a year ago, the RCT&HS obtained ownership of the tender by donation and started looking into ways to get it shipped to us. Because of its age, although it has no significant mechanical problems, shipment by rail on its own wheels was out of the question. Fortunately, it is short enough to be easily carried on a lowboy trailer. Friday September 10 was the big day when the Wilmington & Western diesel switcher brought the tender from their shops at Marshallton to the loading point at their Greenbank station.

RCT&HS volunteers improvised a ramp and “rails” on the bed of the truck, and the W&W locomotive gingerly pushed the tender up the ramp and onto the truck. An idler car was between the tender and locomotive. Finally, a W&W crane pulled the tender the last few feet onto the truck. By late afternoon, the tender was securely tied down, and the oversized load started on its way toward Reading, as it had to be out of Delaware by dusk. Friday night, it was parked off the side of the road beside the northbound US 202 on-ramp at the beginning of the West Chester bypass (did anyone see it there?).

Saturday morning, the tender was trucked the rest of the way to Temple, taking a rather indirect route via Oley and Blandon to avoid low bridges in Reading. Arriving just after 10:00 a.m., a large RCT&HS crew was on hand to set up the ramp for unloading, and to begin winching the tender off the truck with chains and a car mover tool. A locomotive then pulled it the rest of the way off the truck, and everything was safely completed by noon.

2003

SEPTEMBER/2003: Upcoming Shows Featuring RCT&HS Exhibits

The Society is scheduled to participate in two separate upcoming events, one with the Reading & Northern and the other with the Mid Atlantic Air Museum. Your webmaster is waiting to receive more information and will post it when it becomes available. Any members interested in setting up and manning the displays are asked to please contact Duane Engle (610) 929-5661. These are both great opportunities to get more public exposure for our group. Be there if you can!

Reading & Northern 20th Anniversary Open House

  • Date: Saturday September 13 & Sunday September 14 (rain or shine)
  • Time: ??? a.m.–??? p.m.
  • Where: Reading & Northern headquarters, Port Clinton, PA
  • More info: Reading & Northern website

Planes, Trains & Automobiles Show

  • Date: Saturday September 20 & Sunday September 21 (rain or shine)
  • Time: 9:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
  • Where: Reading & Northern headquarters, Port Clinton, PA
  • More info: (directions, maps and parking info) Mid Atlantic Air Museum website

AUGUST 23/2003: RCT&HS Temple Station Open House

We’re excited to announce our first major open house at the Temple (Blue Mountain & Reading) station at Temple, PA. Come out and see the progress we have made in creating the first station stop on the Reading Railroad Heritage Museum System. Events and displays to include:

  • Museum displays in the historic ex-Reading Frackville station
  • Real locomotive and railcars from the Reading Company
  • Rides on an antique hand-pump car from the days of yesteryear
  • Excursion train rides on our historic Reading Railroad equipment, the first train ride on this line in nine years! (see below for more info)
  • Refreshments and souvenirs for purchase
  • Activities for kids of all ages!
  • Date: Saturday, August 23rd (rain or shine)
  • Time: 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m
  • Where: Temple station between Rt. 61 and Business Rt. 222 on Tuckerton Road (click here for detailed directions)
  • Excursion info: (first train departs at 10:30 a.m.)
    –Coach: adults: $5, children: $2.50 children (age 12 and younger)
    –Caboose: adults: $7, children: $3.50 (age 12 and younger)
  • More info: (610) 929-9902

Here’s a chance to meet some of our members and have an enjoyable afternoon with your family, friends or just yourself! We look forward to seeing you there and be sure to tell as many people as you can.

All proceeds benefit the Reading Railroad Heritage Museum, a project of the Reading Company Technical & Historical Society, Inc., a Pennsylvania non-profit educational organization.


JULY/2003: RCT&HS Museum and Gift Shop Relocates to Temple Station

Effective immediately, the RCT&HS museum and store has relocated (for the foreseeable future) from Leesport to the Reading, Blue Mountain & Northern train station at Temple, PA. Located on the busy Tuckerton Road between Route 61 and Business Route 222, the station affords us not only more working space, but increased public visibility.

The Temple station site includes an expanded gift shop, Reading Co. artifacts, exhibits and the balance of the Society’s equipment not at Leesport. Displayed prominently outside the station are GP30 #5513 and caboose #92832.

An added bonus is the parallel Norfolk Southern ex-Reading Allentown line offering many railfanning opportunities. Pack a lunch, bring your camera and check out all the activity under our shaded dining area (that’s picnic tables).

Hours of operation are Saturdays and Sundays Noon–5 p.m. Click here for more info and detailed directions.

UPDATE: the Temple Station Museum and Gift Shop and Store Car #1675 at Leesport Yard are no longer open, however the yard is still accessible to visitors wishing to view and photograph Society equipment still stored there.


JULY/2003: Society Work Sessions Announced

Below is the new schedule for RCT&HS work sessions and events for the next few months. Sessions generally run from 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m. Please let us know as soon as you possible if you can volunteer so that we may plan accordingly. If you have any question, contact Duane Engle (610) 929-5661. As always, the more members the better.

  • Sat., July 26: Work session at Temple station. Lunch to be provided. On the to do list is: shrub trimming, building washing, building painting, fence removal, equipment fix up and lettering, display set up, grounds work, equipment moving and more.
  • Sat., Aug. 2: Work session at Hamburg property. On the to do list is: metal scrap removal, office furniture moving, storage cabinet set up, grounds work and general clean up.
  • Sat., Aug. 19: Work session at Leesport on society coaches. Primary focus will be on installing new windows in the coaches (this session is tentative as we’re waiting on window glass).
  • Sat., Aug. 23: Grand Opening event at Temple station. Displays and possible train rides. Will need help to man displays. Hours 10 a.m.–5 p.m., tour bus from Strasburg to be there at 8:30 a.m.
  • Sat., Aug. 30: Work session at Leesport on society coaches. Primary focus will be on installing new windows in the coaches (this session is also tentative as we’re waiting on window glass).

JULY/2003: Help Save RDG Diner Car #1186

Former RDG diner #1186 at Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA, February 2002. (photo courtesy A. J. Marshall, The Reading Company’s Bethlehem Branch)

When it rains it pours! Lately it seems much Reading equipment we have coveted for our museum (GP7 #621, grill car #2060 among others) has suddenly become available to us within the last few months. Diner #1186 can now be added to that list.

Once used by the Reading for the Iron Horse Rambles (and eventually named so), #1186 was sold and ended up as the Immigration and Naturalization Service’s Passport Photo Express at ??? & Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA. Later it became the “Steak & Bagel Diner.” The car currently is vacant and stands in the way of the property owner’s plans to use the lot for parking (click here for more info on this car).

The good news is we have an opportunity to add another RDG-heritage car to our collection, the bad news is we’re experiencing a funds shortage due to the many recent Society acquisitions and ongoing obligations. We’ve been given a rough estimate of $4200 to truck the car to Temple with the possibly of having the jacking/crane services donated. Volunteers would also be needed to help cleanup the car and prepare it for moving.

We realize many of of you have been faithfully and generously donating your precious time and hard-earned money towards the goal of establishing a world-class Reading Railroad museum. We’re asking if you can to dig a little deeper to make our newest project a reality. The response and support we receive will determine whether or not the Society can financially afford to save this car. Please help if you can either through an on-line donation, or by contacting RCT&HS’ “Acquisitions Guru” Steve Schwartz.


JULY/2003: Looking for a Few Good Volunteers!

Volunteers are needed for the following two new committees:

  • Hamburg Museum Building Committee: expands upon the duties of the initial Hamburg Property Committee to include the overall and ongoing maintenance and repair of buildings located at the Hamburg site. All help welcomed, especially those with carpentry, plumbing, contracting and electrical/utility experience.
  • Events Committee: will be responsible for planning any activities such as open houses, volunteer appreciation events, banquets, etc.

Please contact Duane Engle (610) 929-5661 if you’d like to help out.


JUNE/2003: Update on ex-RDG Grill Car #2060

As of last month, the RCT&HS has taken possession of ex-Reading grill car #2060. Former owner Ben Bernhart donated the car to us after deciding that its restoration and return to service would be just too great a project to take on himself. Unfortunately, we had little time to act to prevent it from being cut up on the spot as the car was holding up completion of the parking lot of the then soon to be reopened restaurant. With a little bit of scrambling though, we were able to successfully save the car by having it trucked to Reading & Northern property at Good Spring, PA. A big thanks to Ben for gifting us the car (along with with the many hours and dollars he’s already invested) and the R&N for providing a safe place to temporarily store #2060 until we’re able to move it by flatcar to Leesport.

This unexpected (but much welcomed) acquisition along with that of GP7 #621 have put a serious strain on our financial coffers. A much-needed donation (it’s easy and fast with PayPal!) to help cover our moving costs as well as helping towards the ultimate restoration of this car would be greatly appreciated! We’ll try to post photos of the actual move if we can get them.


MAY/2003: RCT&HS Monthly Meetings to be Once Again Held at Met-Ed

Starting with the next Society meeting (May 27), we will once again be able to use the Met-Ed (GPU) building. Due to a heightened terror alert, we had been forced to temporarily move the last two meetings to the Temple station. However, members MUST now show some form of photo ID when signing in. The good news is though, you can leave your folding chair at home! We will post any additional info if the situation changes in the future.


APRIL/2003: Two New Work Groups Now Forming

Hamburg Property Committee: this committee will be responsible for the initial care of the Hamburg property. Activities may include preparing for appropriate use of buildings and grounds, monitoring utility use, recycling excess materials, organizing clean up, and more. Any member interested in helping is welcome. We especially need persons with experience in manufacturing facilities, utilities, or materials handling.

Education and Interpretation Committee: this committee will prepare educational activities and presentations for RCT&HS events and museum sites. Activities may include planning use of items from the RCT&HS collections to interpret Reading Company history, preparing children’s programs, and organizing speakers who will present programs to members, visitors, and outside groups. Any member interested in helping is welcome. We especially need persons with experience in history, education, public speaking, exhibit preparation, railroad occupations, or storytelling.

These work groups will really help the Society. Bring your ideas! Volunteer by calling Carol Adams (610) 777-3764, Duane Engle (610) 929-5661 or John Funk (610) 374-4740.


FEBRUARY/2003: B&O Railroad Museum Suffers Devastating Roundhouse Roof Collapse

Via Railway Preservation News Interchange Board:

Aerial shot clearly shows the extent of the collapse along with historic equipment buried under debris and snow. (photo courtesy Doug Kapustin, Baltimore Sun)

A section of the B&O Railroad Museum’s Roundhouse roof collapsed between midnight and 12:30 on the morning of Monday, Feb. 17th, as a result of a near-record snowfall. An additional section collapsed around 5:30 a.m. The high portion over the turntable is still intact.

The section that fell was the part covering fully half–180 degrees–of the “stalls” or storage tracks facing to the southwest. The preliminary eyeball is that the collapse is concentrated on the vintage steamers starting with the Andrew Jackson and working around clockwise to the main access track. Right off the bat I can say that the most fragile jewels in the roundhouse–the Royal Blue coach, the Ma & Pa baggage-mail car, and the 1830’s Nova Scotia directors car–SEEM to have escaped serious collapse damage; ditto Jersey Central 1000. However, I cannot confirm that the wooden B&O caboose or the older B&O wooden coach (the William Mason companion) have escaped damage. If they were underneath, you can fear the worst.

It appears from what locos I could see–the Camel and another (I think) Memnon–that the damage is somewhat serious cosmetic damage at worst. It also appears that the collapse shook loose some of the snow buildup on the remaining roof sections of the roundhouse. However, I certainly wouldn’t walk in the shop building, which still has a considerable buildup of snow at last report.

I saw Courtney Wilson on the scene; several of the B&O Museum staff own SUVs, but for now even the main drag of Pratt Street, a major city thoroughfare, is barely a pedestrian walkway. The entire region is under a state of emergency, with precipitation STILL falling at 24+ inches; and even National Guard Humvees are getting stuck. There are far more pressing local emergencies than this at the moment; however, I am going to ask that we band together, take vacation time, and help the Museum out as best we can.*

B&O Railroad Museum roundhouse restoration updates
*(story courtesy Alexander D. Mitchell–B&O Museum volunteer, Baltimore resident)
 

FEBRUARY–APRIL/2003: Reading Museum’s TRAIN Exhibit

Just a friendly reminder to be sure and check out the Reading Museum’s TRAIN exhibit, which continues until April 13, 2003. The Reading Museum describes the display on their website as: “a collaborative exhibit among several members of the Reading Society of Model Engineers and the Museum, that captures the essence of mechanical engineering of a bygone era within the technology of steam locomotives. TRAINS! focuses on the history and science of train models and the role that trains played in the early history of Pennsylvania and the Reading/Berks County area until the mid 50’s.” Some of the featured exhibits include:

  • Various scale models (including a 1/3 scale model caboose)
  • Large-scale model of a Reading G-1 Pacific built by the Reading Shops (on loan from the Franklin Institute)
  • Numerous railroad artifacts, photos and blueprints
  • Railroad-themed paintings by local artists
  • A computer station affording visitors the opportunity to create virtual 3-D locomotives/scenery
  • The WHYY (PBS Channel 12, Philadelphia) production, “Pennsylvania Railroad”
  • Miscellaneous railroad items for sale in the Museum gift shop

The TRAINS exhibit is included with the regular Museum admission of $5 adults, $3 children (4–17). Museum hours are Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday 11 a.m.–5 p.m, Wednesday 11 a.m.–8 p.m. and Sunday Noon–5 p.m. For more information, you can contact the museum at (610) 371-5850 or visit them online at: www.readingpublicmuseum.org. All aboard for a great afternoon of discovery and excitement! If you already visited and have any photos to share, please do so by e-mailing your webmaster at: webmaster@readingrailroad.org.


FEBRUARY/2003: Thieves Strike the Strasburg Rail Road!

Via Railway Preservation News Interchange Board:

Strasburg #475 shown in an undated photo before the theft. (photo courtesy Strasburg Rail Road)

Sometime during the evening hours of Sunday, February 10th, thieves forcibly broke into Strasburg Rail Road’s engine house, and stole the following items:

  • Number plates from engines #31, #90, #475
  • Classification lights from engines #31, and #89
  • 1 New classification light
  • 6 Rear-end marker lamps, 4 kerosene, and 2 converted to battery operation
  • 1 Photograph of engine #89 on the Green Mountain (side view with specifications)
  • 1 Strasburg Rail Road rule book (red loose leaf format)
  • 1 Small (about 1/2 normal size) locomotive brass bell and yoke
  • 1 ICC steam locomotive defect chart

They also forced open (and destroyed in the process) a steel door to the back shop, but we haven’t spotted anything missing from in there yet. It appears that there were two perpetrators in that they left many footprints and tire tracks in the snow. Pennsylvania State Police are investigating. They seemed to have a specific “shopping list” in that they took only railfan collectibles, and only specific ones at that. We at the Strasburg Rail Road ask for the help of the community to return our property to us, and to bring these criminals to justice. If anyone has any information, please call the Strasburg Rail Road at (717) 687-8421.


JANUARY/2003: RCT&HS 2003 Modular & Sales Shows

We’re pleased to announce the RCT&HS 2003 schedule for train shows in southeastern PA. All shows feature sales tables of RDG-related merchandise (books, calendars, RCT&HS publications, videos, scale models, apparel, etc.) with our large modular HO-scale layout being displayed at selected shows only. As always, we’re in need of volunteers to set-up and man the tables. Here’s your opportunity to be an ambassador for the Society by increasing public awareness of our group and helping recruit new members. If you’re interested, contact Duane Engle, (610) 929-5661, rcths.dengle@juno.com.

Modular & Sales Shows
East Coast Hobby Show* Fort Washington, PA March 22–March 24
Fairgrounds Square Mall Reading, PA March 29 & March 30
Fairlane Village Mall Pottsville, PA May 15–May 18
Fairgrounds Square Mall Reading, PA June 12–June 15
Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania* Strasburg, PA July 3–July 6
Reading & Northern Open House Port Clinton, PA September 13 & September 14
Planes, Trains & Automobiles* Reading Airport, Reading, PA September 20 & September 21
Fairlane Village Mall Pottsville, PA November 20–November 23
Pennsylvania Christmas Show* Harrisburg, PA December 3–December 7
Fairlane Village Mall Pottsville, PA November 20–November 23
Sales Only Shows:
Leesport Train Show* Leesport, PA January 11 & January 12
Hamburg Dutch Train Meet* Field House, Hamburg, PA January 19
Allentown Train Meet* Agriculture Hall, Allentown, PA February 22 & February 23
RCT&HS Meet* Leesport Farmers Market, PA October 5
Allentown Train Meet* Agriculture Hall, Allentown, PA November 8 & November 9

*(admission charged to enter show)


JANUARY/2003: ex-RDG Grill Car #2060 to Once Again Ride the Rails


Slumbering in the snow, getting ready for the big move. Larger Photo


Inside view. Larger Photo


Inside view from opposite end. Larger Photo


Inside view from opposite end. Larger Photo


Close-up of car tilted away from kitchen building with jacks. Larger Photo


Car being jacked up on
cribbing in preparation to be slid sideways. Larger Photo


I-beams are inserted and
the car is set on rollers.
Larger Photo


Diner successfully moved, exposing pit, beams and blocking. Larger Photo

Ex-Reading grill car #2060 which had been a fixture of Felty’s Diner in the Village of Fountain, PA for many years, has been acquired by Benjamin L. Bernhart, author of several books on the Reading. The Society itself had also looked into the possibility of purchasing this car, but declined due to the costs involved in moving and finding suitable replacement trucks.

The coach was originally built in the 1920s as a class PBm coach #1337. In 1948 it was selected for the Reading “modernization” program and was rebuilt into a class DCLA coach #2060. Several significant changes took place during the rebuilding process. The most dramatic change occurred to the interior of the car. Reclining lounge chairs were installed in one half of the car. Two table booths, a counter with stools and a small kitchen were installed in the other half. During the modernization the old friction bearing trucks were replaced with roller bearing. The car was also streamlined with skirting and stairs that folded up into the vestibule. After the rebuilding of this coach it weighed 141,360 pounds.

The grill car was dubbed “Schuylkill” (Schuylkill was painted on each side of the car) and was used on the Main Line train “The Schuylkill.” In the mid to late 1950s the Reading took the full diner off the “Wall Street” and moved the 2060 to the “Wall Street.” When this move was done the reclining lounge chairs were removed and additional tables were installed. The move to the Wall Street was based on economics. Four union employees were needed to staff a full dining car, however only three are necessary to staff a grill car.

During the mid-1960s #2060 returned to Reading, PA and was put into storage. During this time the car was used by the Reading Federal Credit Union for employee parties and other functions. Bill Cauff an ex-Reading employee and current SEPTA employeeremembers such functions. In 1971 the car was sold for scrap to a Mr. Moyer in Schuylkill Haven. The car was used as a hunting lodge for a short time. In 1973 the car was sold to the Felty’s and moved to Fountain, PA where it was placed on blocks and used a part of their diner. It served as the eating area, while a small brick kitchen was attached to the side. The trucks were not moved with the car and probably wound up as scrap.

Currently the car sits in the parking lot of the diner after being moved some 50' from its long-time resting place by Earl Miller & Sons,* a house moving firm from Everett, PA. Ben is in the process of bringing this historic Reading rail car back to Reading. The plan is to truck it on dollies to Temple in another month or so once the necessary permits from PENNDOT are secured.

Eventually, Ben hopes to restore the car to its 1948 appearance utilizing copies of the original modernization blueprints from Reading Railroad coach historian Tom Loeper and the support of the RCT&HS. Any information, assistance, drawings or photographs of this car as it appeared on the Reading would be greatly appreciated. Please contact us at: info@readingrailroad.org.

Notes:
• Car background info courtesy Ben Bernhart
• Moving info and photos courtesy Mike Tillger
• Additional thanks to RCT&HS members who helped in the acquisition and moving of car #2060
*(Earl Miller & Sons assisted the Society in the moving of the Saucon Yard turntable)
 

UPDATE: Grill car #2060 has since been graciously donated by Ben to the RCT&HS.


JANUARY/2003: Society Acquires ex-RDG GP7 #621!

The RCT&HS has added another former Reading Company diesel locomotive to its fleet with the purchase of GP7 #621 from East Penn Railways. #621 was manufactured by EMD in 1953 for the Reading and later sold to the Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad (Ma & Pa) in March of 1976. The unit was initially numbered #86*[1]by Emmons (parent company of Ma & Pa) but later changed to #1506*[2]as more EMD Geeps were acquired.

#1506 was later transferred to the former Reading Perkiomen Branch after Emmons acquired East Penn Railways (EPR) from owner John Nolan. Emmons Industries was subsequently purchased by Genesee & Wyoming (GWI) in early 2002, with Nolan reacquiring former EPR operations in the process. Also included in the transaction was #1506, deemed surplus and made available to the Society for a reasonable price. The unit is currently operational, but will requiring some mechanical work to make it more reliable. Eventually it will be repainted into as-delivered “olive drab” with gold lettering (pictured above).

A big thanks goes out to the many Society members and others who made this deal happen through their generous donations. However we still need your help to replenish our equipment acquisition fund and cover future costs for #621’s restoration, maintenance and operation. As an all-volunteer organization which relies on funding through its membership and limited base of corporate sponsorship, your financial support and “sweat equity” makes projects like this possible. Click here for more info on how you can help out.

Notes:
*1 (photo courtesy Tom Wolfgang, Fallen Flags and Other RR Photos)
*2 (photo courtesy Wayne Betty, Lancaster and Atlantic Rail Road)
*3 (HO-scale model shown to represent as-delivered paint scheme)
 

JANUARY/2003: Home Needed for Deserving ex-RDG RS-3 #523

Via Yahoo Groups Anthracite Railroads board:

Sister #522 idles at Erie St. Engine Terminal, Philadelphia, PA, February 1958. (photo courtesy David Nyce, Gary Stuebben Collection)

The folks of Collis P. Huntington Railway Historical Society (Huntington, WV) are looking for any group who may be able to give the RS-3 a good home or a group who may need the parts to keep one of their engines going.

The RS-3 locomotive has a great history of working for the Olgebay Norton Company in Ceredo,WV until it was given to Collis P. Huntington in 1986. Since then it has been on static display in various places.

We wanted to send this engine to a scenic railroad for restoration but have come up against an obstacle. CSX will not move it over their line due to rust on the underbody and the braking system is not up to CSX specifications. This means that the engine will need to be trucked to its new location.

CPH is willing to give this to any NRHS or other rail affiliation for the cost of scrap or will talk about a value. Any purchaser would be responsible for the trucking to their facilities and takes the Locomotive as is. I personally would not like to see this locomotive scrapped as there are still RS-3’s in use today, and this one could be restored back to its original livery. (either N&W or Reading) or restored for static display. This locomotive is definitely worth a look and could be a great asset to any group.

UPDATE: Good news! RS-3 #523 has gone to the Lake Shore Historical Society, North East, PA.

2002

DECEMBER/2002: RCT&HS Website Content Help Requested

In an effort to keep this website current and interesting, your webmaster is putting out an invitation for viewers to contribute stories, research, articles, news, photos or any other meaningful content realted to the Reading Railroad or the RCT&HS. Specifically, I’m looking for help with the following:

  • Industries that the RDG served, “Coal is King” is the first installment
  • History of the RDG, expand the current brief history into a more inclusive offering
  • Timeline of significant events of the RDG from beginning to the end
  • Surviving equipment, current info on the status and existance of any former RDG locos/rolling stock
  • Virtual tour of the RDG system with photos and brief descriptions of key points

If you would like to help out, please contact your webmaster at: webmaster@readingrailroad.org, thanks!


DECEMBER/2002: Pennsylvania Christmas & Gift Show

The Reading Company Technical & Historical Society will be featuring its large modular HO-scale train layout at this year’s Pennsylvania Christmas & Gift Show at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg (Cameron & Maclay Streets, 2 blocks south of Exit 67-A on I-81). This show is one of the largest of its kind in the country and will feature over 500 vendors. Great fun for the whole family. Hope to see you there!

  • Date: Wednesday, December 4–Sunday, December 7
  • Where: Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex, Harrisburg, PA
  • Show hours: Wednesday, Thursday, Friday: 10 a.m.–8 p.m., Saturday: 9 a.m.–8 p.m., Sunday: 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
  • Timeline of significant events of the RDG from beginning to the end
  • Tickets: $6 Individual, $4 Seniors, $5 Groups (20 or more)
  • More info: (717) 233-5100 or (610) 565-0313, www.pachristmasshow.com

DECEMBER/2002: Philadelphia–Pottstown–Reading Holiday Shopping Special

Holiday Shopping Special from 30th Street Station (Philadelphia) to the Vanity Fair Factory Outlet in Reading, PA, sponsored by the Delaware Valley Association of Rail Passengers (DVARP). The Amtrak consist departs 30th St. Station at 9:00 am., Royersford Station at 10:00 am. and Pottstown Station at 10:15 am. returning in reverse order approximately at 4:20 pm., 4:35 pm. and 5:35 pm. A nearly five-hour layover will enable excursionists to shop for the holidays and have lunch. DVARP’s low fares make it easy to take the family and friends along while getting a rare opportunity to ride the ex-Reading main line.

  • Date: Saturday, December 7th
  • Tickets: from Philadelphia: Adults $28, kids under 16 $17, from Royersford and Pottstown: Adults $19, kids under 16 $12 (children under age five sharing seat with adult, free)
  • To order: SSAE and check payable to DVARP, 1601 Walnut St., Suite 1129, Philadelphia, PA 19102
  • More info: (215) 724-5929 or mail@dvarp.org

Webmaster’s comments: DVARP is doing this in large part to help build support for rolling out commuter rail service to help ease the growing congestion on the Route 422 corridor. People want this service now. Why spend $1.8 billion dollars for a dedicated right-of-way (light rail) when the existing Norfolk Southern (ex-Reading) line can be utilized for less than half of that cost (and much sooner) by implementing commuter rail? Here’s your chance to get involved in a good cause (by merely putting your behind in a seat) and have fun all at the same time!


NOVEMBER/2002: Temple Station Work Sessions Help Needed!

Temple station, September 2002. (photos courtesy Mike Shirk)

We are planning to work at the Temple Station again on Saturday, November 2 and Saturday, November 9. Start time is 9 am. We want to do a good vacuuming, wipe up the floors, clean the office, set up the sales area, move benches, and whatever else we can find. Let me know if you can help on either day. If you have any questions contact me: Duane Engle, President, RCT&HS: (610) 929-5661, rcths.dengle@juno.com.


JUNE/2002: GP35 #3640 Once Again Mobile!

#3640 at Leesport yard. (photo courtesy Mike Shirk)

GP35 #3640 rolled out under her own power on Saturday, June 1st. The locomotive made a round trip from Leesport to Temple and then a roundtrip to Glen. The locomotive performed flawlessly. All major systems were tested and found to be working correctly. The RDG #103 accompanied the #3640 on its maiden voyage, but only supplied power to test the 3640’s dynamic brakes. Next step is prep work for painting and some minor piping replacement.

A large part of the labor to restore this locomotive back to service was furnished by our group of teenage and early 20’s volunteers. A great big thank you goes out to all who helped so far with the restoration. Why not come out and lend a hand on Saturdays at Leesport or if that is not possible would you care to make a financial contribution towards the cost of painting the locomotive?


MARCH/2002: Baggage Car #1715 Progress Continuing

#1715 at Leesport yard. (photo courtesy Mike Shirk)

Restoration on Baggage Car #1715 is progressing with much body work and patching already completed. Though more work needs to be done, 1715 is looking much better then when it arrived on our property in 1998. Once finished, #1715 will join the RCT&HS active excursion fleet. The car, which began life as a “combine” was built for the Reading around 1924. It was purchased in 1998 by RCT&HS from the North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer.

2001

OCTOBER/2001: We’re Up and Running Again!

After a temporary absence, we are once again live. Stay tuned for updates and news about all the RCT&HS happenings including the museum and other ongoing projects for the end of 2001 and the coming year. We are also working on restoring our on-line feedback capability. In the meantime you may contact us at either info@readingrailroad.org or webmaster@readingrailroad.org.

2000

MARCH/2000: Berks Jazz Fest Uses Reading #900 for Album Cover and Poster

In celebration of the 10th Anniversary of the GPU Berks Jazz Fest in March, 2000, the Berks Arts Council, sponsors of the event, decided to pay tribute to the railroad heritage of Reading and Berks County for their souvenir poster and CD, available at festival events and at Borders books in Wyomissing, PA. The items feature a beautiful photograph of RCT&HS’ own Reading FP7 #900, renumbered to #2000 for the event.

The CD features artists that have performed at the festival over the years, including cuts from Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Boney James, and Rick Braun, among others.

For more information, contact the Berks Arts Council at www.berksarts.org or visit www.berksjazzfest.com.

1999

JANUARY/1999: Society Purchases Reading Class XLj Boxcar #20042

Twin of #20042, (#20003), at Temple, PA. (photo courtesy Rick Bates, MP&RE Collection)

In January 1999, our organization purchased Reading class XLj boxcar #20042 to join its twin in our collection, #20003. These cars were built by Pullman Standard in 1972 and delivered in solid green paint with jumbo “RDG” logo. These two were some of the last new boxcars built for the Reading. They were equipped with roller bearings, hydraulic cushioning units, and “DF” load restraints–the state of the art in 1972!

The car went to Conrail in 1976 and decline in demand for 50' boxcars made it obsolete. While most cars of this class were scrapped, #20042 survived as Maintenance of Way storage in the Conrail Yard at Lyons, NY, until we purchased it late in 1998. The boxcar is in very good condition and will be used for storage of parts and artifacts. Eventually we hope to use the car on photo freight trains.

For related information, please see our freight cars section on our roster page.

1998

OCTOBER/1998: Saucon Yard Turntable Removed for Preservation

Two cranes lift Reading turntable from its pit

Two large cranes from Dickinson Crane gently place the 100' turntable bridge into its temporary safe resting place. A loader from Frank Casilio & Sons places timbers under the center of the span.

On October 12th, the Society completed another major step in a project to preserve a Reading turntable. Since early this year, Society volunteers have been making plans and performing preliminary work to remove the turntable from the Reading’s former Saucon Yard at Hellertown (Bethlehem) and relocate it to for storage. On this day Society volunteers, working with contractors and the property owners, removed the turntable bridge from its pit and placed it out of the way of redevelopment work going on at the site.

We wish to extend considerable thanks to the property owners, Frank Casilio & Sons of Bethlehem, and to our contractors on the project: Dickinson Crane Service of Reading and Wayne Zellner Welding of Whitehall (Allentown).

The turntable being saved was built in 1917 by American Bridge Co. of Pittsburgh and was installed at Saucon Yard during a 1918 modernization. It is 100' long, of riveted steel construction, and the bare steel bridge alone weighs 126,000 pounds. Our eventual goal is to reinstall and use the turntable at the future Reading Railroad Heritage Museum in Schuylkill Haven, PA.


SEPTEMBER/1998: Dinner Train Wraps Up a Successful Season

#5308 pulls final trip of 1998

Once people had their fill of chicken barbeque, Reading locomotive #5308 quickly became the center of attention at Hamburg Station during our September 19, 1998 excursion. Kids and adults were thrilled to get a chance to tour the cab of this beautifully-restored piece of our collection.

On September 19th, the Society wrapped up another successful season with three passenger excursions over the former Blue Mountain & Reading Railroad line between Temple and Hamburg, PA.

This year’s trips were all record breakers for attendance, and we are very please to see such wonderful support and interest from our community and members.

September’s trip was our first dinner train, with a sit down chicken barbeque under the big top tent at Hamburg. We received many favorable comments, and we hope to continue to offer interesting (and tasty) trips in the future.


MAY/1998: Reading 4-4-2 Atlantic Steam Locomotive Displayed on RCT&HS Parade Float

Tiny Reading steam locomotive goes to parade

On May 16th, the Society took part in the city of Reading’s 250th Anniversary parade. Our entry was lead by our parade locomotive #1176, followed by a Reading type 4-4-2 Atlantic steam locomotive and two coaches. Ok, you say, #1176 has rubber tires, but how in the world did we move a steam locomotive and two coaches through downtown Reading?

The 4-4-2, #121, is a 1-1/2" scale “live-steam” locomotive which was built in the Reading Locomotive Shops prior to World War I. It was the brainchild of mechanic Jack Daly, who wished to prove the effectiveness of a glass-centered staybolt he had designed. After its construction, the locomotive was displayed around the Reading system as a public relations tool. It was also shown in numerous parades and pageants, including the city of Reading’s 175th anniversary parade in 1923. After the death of Mr. Daly, the locomotive passed into private hands and disappeared.

Looks an awful lot like the real thing!

Earlier this year, the Society discovered the whereabouts of the engine and made arrangements to borrow it and cosmetically restore it for use in the parade. Students at Blue Mountain High School in Schuylkill County restored the locomotive and coaches, and placed them on a trailer for display in the parade. The attractively decorated trailer carried the compact train through downtown Reading, crossing the original Philadelphia & Reading Railroad mainline at 7th street.

Society volunteers who prepared for parade

At right are the Society volunteers who restored the locomotive and prepared it for the parade.


MAY/1998: TELCO Helps Operate on Our ALCO C630

Alco undergoing surgery

TELCO’s boom truck reaches 20' up to lift fanshaft and fan shroud out of the Reading’s tallest diesel locomotive.

Poking around the innards

A volunteer climbs inside the patient to clean up pieces left when the mounting bolts were torched. The round opening is where the fan resided.

The recovery room

Ain’t she pretty? She recovered nicely and operated our Moonlight trip on June 13th.

During our trips last October, we discovered our big ALCO C630 would require some surgery. Inside the hefty bulge behind a 630’s cab is a very large fan which cools the electrical system and combustion air going to the prime mover. Though the fan was removed from our locomotive some years ago, the shaft which drove it was not. The bearing on that shaft had about 1/2" of side to side play, where it should have a few 1/1000ths of an inch. Although the bearing never made much commotion, we figured it had better be aputated ASAP.

In May, volunteers from local company TELCO (Traffic Electrical & Lighting Company, Inc.) showed up with one of their boom trucks to help us remove the fanshaft and bearing. The following photos should give you an idea of the fun involved in handling locomotive parts.


MARCH/1998: Erickson Forklift Donated

Photo of donated forklift

On March 28th, we received a forklift donated by George Longenecker & Sons of Bernville, PA, who operate a contracting business, as well as an appliance and furniture store on Rt. 183 near Bernville.

A large part of the labor to restore this locomotive back to service was furnished by our group of teenage and early 20’s volunteers. A great big thank you goes out to all who helped so far with the restoration. Why not come out and lend a hand on Saturdays at Leesport or if that is not possible would you care to make a financial contribution towards the cost of painting the locomotive?

The forklift is an Erickson model F-7, built in the mid 1970s. It is propane powered, with a Continental engine, manual transmission, pneumatic tires, and an 8000 lb. capacity.

We are very grateful to the Longeneckers for this donation. As we develop our museum at Schuylkill Haven, we will be seeking donations of other equipment, including:

  • Boom truck or small crane
  • Stakebody truck, preferably with a liftgate
  • Small dump truck
  • Backhoe
  • Skid loader
  • Metal and woodworking machinery

As a 501(c)3 not-for-profit educational organization, donations to us can be used as income tax reductions. If you or your company could help with these items or others, please contact us!


MARCH/1998: Reading Baggage Car #1715 Arrives and is Unloaded

On March 17th, Reading baggage car #1715 was placed on rail in our collection. The car, which began life as a “combine” (combined passenger coach and baggage) was built for the Reading around 1924.

We originally believed it was one of the concession cars used on the famous “Reading Rambles” steam excursions of the late 1960s and early '70’s, although now we are not so sure. In later years, it was used on the Quakertown & Eastern Railway in eastern PA, and then the Southwest Virginia Scenic Railroad. It finally settled at the North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer.

We purchased #1715 from NCTM in 1994, but due to the age of the car, it could not move on its own wheels. The car was finally moved on a TTX flat car, with its wheels in an accompanying gondola. On March 17th, local crane contractor Dickinson Crane and our volunteers restored #1715 to its own wheels and sent it to Leesport.

The following photos from Paul R. Troutman and Tim Weidner show some of the unloading and retrucking process.

Reading #1715 at Temple, PA, 3/9/98

1.) The #1715 as it arrived on a TTX 89' flat car. Its trucks are in the gondola to the right.

Unloading of Reading baggage car #1715

2.) The trucks are first lifted from the gondola.

Unloading of Reading baggage car #1715

3.) Then rolled into position.

Unloading of Reading baggage car #1715

4.) Easy there boys as the body is gently lowered into place.


MARCH/1998: 2-Bay Reading Hopper #66418 Arrives

Photo of Reading hopper #66418

Society volunteers work to unload historic Reading hopper car #66418 from a special low-bed trailer for transporting rail equipment.

The car is a rare class HTs or HTss, which began life as a composite (wood-sided) car during the steel shortages of WWII. It’s original number was unknown, and it was temporarily assigned #60097. Since then we have learned its original number, 66418.

For related information, please see our freight cars section on our roster page.


MARCH/1998: Schuylkill Haven Site Approved for Reading Railroad Museum Location

The Society’s 15-year search for a permanent home may be drawing to a close. At the January 27th general meeting, members in attendance unanimously approved the Museum Committee’s proposal to begin developing a permanent Reading Railroad Museum in Schuylkill Haven, PA, outside of Pottsville.

1997

OCTOBER/1997: ALCO RS-3 #485 Arrives, Giving Us Ten Locomotives

Photo of Reading RS-3 #485

Reading #485 disguised as Domtar #68, near Stouffville, Ontario, Canada. October 1996. (photo courtesy Paul Ganter, MP&RE Collection)

We are pleased to announce the arrival of our tenth locomotive. Reading #485 arrived in Reading on 10/28/97, after exactly one year of arranging and negotiating for needed repairs and its movement from Canada. We will be working to stabilize the condition of the unit and acquire parts which will be needed if the unit is ever restored to service.

For related information, please see our locomotives section on our roster page.


OCTOBER/1997: Fall Trips are a BIG Success!

With publicity from the Reading Eagle newspaper and Berks County Museum Council, our trips for “Living History Weekend” were a tremendous success. Saturday and Sunday, October 25–26, we operated 8 trips for the public, carrying over 1100 passengers! The trips used ALCO C630 #5308, four of our coaches, and our Budd RDC car, and ran between Leesport yard and Temple Station. Switching assistance was provided by our oldest locomotive, NW-2 #103. With this success, we are seriously planning to add a similar weekend of trips to our annual schedule.


APRIL/1997: Reading Hook Arrives to Complete Our Wreck

Photo of CR #45214, formerly RDG #90901

Crane #90901 at Altoona, PA, April 1997. (photo courtesy Bob Airhart)

We are extremely pleased to announce we have just acquired Reading #90901, a 250 ton-capacity Industrial Brownhoist wrecking crane. Although currently disguised as Conrail #45214, the crane was built in 1956 for the Reading, and spent most of its life at the Erie Avenue Terminal in Philadelphia, PA. It is currently painted black with red safety striping, but plans are to eventually repaint it to the yellow/green scheme applied by the Reading in the late 1960s.

This acquisition completes our effort to preserve an entire, authentic Reading “relief train.” Other cars in the train are:

  • #90685, Tool car, from Wreck Train at Reading, being restored to yellow/green
  • #90893, Camp car, from Wreck Train at Reading, being restored to yellow/green
  • #90805, Crane idler car, from Wreck Train at Reading
  • #96313, Maintenance of Way Gondola, painted MOW yellow
  • #96615, class FMex, MOW Flat Car, painted MOW yellow

For related information, please see our Wreck & MOW equipment section on our roster page.


JANUARY/1997: Sand Car Added to Our Collection

#93533 at Temple, PA, 1998. (photo courtesy Charles Murphy, Jr., MP&RE collection)

We have just received Reading two-bay hopper #93533. This car was originally used for hauling various bulk commodities, under the class LOf. It was later converted to class LOfx, and used to haul locomotive sand from southern New Jersey. Conrail was still using the car in this service until just weeks ago.

We believe this to be the very first car painted in READING SPEED LETTERING. We are very pleased to add this car to our growing collection of historic freight equipment. An article on this car is expected to appear in the February issue of the Crusader. If you are a freight car fan, please consider a donation to our freight car fund, as it makes acquisitions like this possible.

For related information, please see our freight cars section on our roster page.

1996

DECEMBER/1996: Reading RS-3 #485 Gets Ready to Move

Reading RS-3 #485

Reading #485 disguised as Domtar #68, near Stouffville, Ontario, Canada. October 1996. (photo courtesy Paul Ganter, MP&RE Collection)

Reading #485 is finally getting close to moving. The engine, which we expected to acquire several years ago, has been delayed by a number of factors. We hope to move the engine from Canada very soon, before it gets snowed under.

A recent inspection trip showed the engine to be in better-than-expected condition. The paint is reasonably solid, although some body metal is rusted-out. We do not expect the prime mover will run in the near future, but the idea of making the unit operable is within reason.

For related information, please see our locomotives section on our roster page.


OCTOBER/1996: 20th Anniversary Banquet

The 20th anniversary banquest was held on Saturday, October 19, 1996, at Chef Alan’s in West Reading, PA. Mike Smith opened the entertainment, talking about working for the Reading and Conrail, and Dale Woodland followed with T-1 slides. Unfortunately, Bob Linden could not attend to talk about life as a Reading conductor, due to really nasty weather. Dinner was very good, and Member Tom Jacobs presented each attendee with a real P&R time check from his collection, once used by employees at the Reading Shops. Thanks very much to the banquet committee for arranging a fine evening!


OCTOBER/1996: 614 Bus Trip

On October 26th, RCT&HS ran two charter buses to Hoboken, NJ, to ride behind Chesapeake & Ohio #614 to Port Jervis, NY. 78 people made the trip and will attest that this was a super excursion. 614 put on a great show, pulling 26 coaches at speeds up to 70 mph.

The well-planned event was to benefit the United Railway Historical Society of NJ, and next year’s trips are apparently being planned already. Many thanks to NJ Transit, Iron Horse Enterprises, and the New Hope & Ivyland RR for their efforts to make these trips happen. It is great to see mainline steam in the East!


AUGUST/1996: LV Hopper Cars Preserved

With the help of dedicated RCTHS members, we have preserved three Lehigh Valley RR, two bay, 50-ton coal hopper cars which were about to be scrapped. These cars, #15551, #15661, and # unknown, while not Reading equipment, were deemed too rare to lose.

The cars were therefore purchased, dug out of their coal piles, and rerailed by RCTHS members and then trucked to Reading on a low-boy trailer.

Since the cars are virtually identical to those built by the Reading, the unknown car will possibly be restored into Reading, while the other two will remain LVRR. Because the condition of the cars is poor, restoration will most likely be for display purposes only.

We are very excited to have preserved these rare cars!

For related information, please see our Non-Reading equipment section on our roster page.


AUGUST/1996: WANTED: Good Home for a Little Locomotive

In our travels, we have encountered a locomotive which is in need of preservation and restoration. It was built by Atlas Car & Manufacturing of Cleveland, OH, sometime prior to WWII. It is one of their 50-ton Navy switchers, a center cab configuration, on two trucks with siderods.

Power comes from two Cummins inline 6 cylinder diesels. One prime mover is known to be blown, the other is unknown. Traction motors and undercarriage seem intact; most electrical switchgear is stripped or damaged.

We emphasize that this engine is not a little project! It would require significant effort to load and move as it is not on active rail. Restoration would also require considerable effort and money, but we feel it is feasible.

UPDATE: Unfortunatley, this locomotive has since been scrapped.


JULY/1996: Class XLj Boxcar #20003 Acquired

The Society recently received Reading boxcar #20003. The car was built by Pullman Standard in 1972 and delivered in solid green paint with a jumbo “RDG” logo. This was one of the last new boxcars built for the Reading, and was equipped with hydraulic cushioning units and "DF" load restraints–the state of the art in 1972!

The car went to Conrail in 1976 and decline in demand for 50' boxcars made it obsolete. Most other cars of this class have therefore been scrapped. #20003 is in very good condition and will immediately be used for storage of some of our Reading artifacts. Eventually we would like to use the car on photo freight trains.

Number #20003 was purchased by the Society, and we have established a $2700 goal to replenish our acquisition fund. If you are a freight car fan, please consider a donation to help make future acquisitions possible.

For related information, please see our freight cars section on our roster page.




Steaming Ahead into the World of Social Networking!

In addition to our web presence, which we've had for over a decade, the Reading Railroad Heritage Museum and Reading Company Technical & Historical Society are moving forward into the world of online social networking to spread the word about our historic preservation efforts. If you're a current Society member, you can visit the RCT&HS Members' Portal for news updates, downloads of the Crusader, and some online fellowship. In addition, we've recently launched a few Facebook pages focusing on various Society activities. In addition to checking out our principal site here for general news and announcements, visiting these Facebook pages is a great way to keep up to date on what's happening with these specific groups. Click on the links below to leave www.readingrailroad.org and jump to one of our Facebook pages. This is an ongoing effort, and more links will be added as pages are created. Surf on!