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

Planes, Trains & Automobiles Show


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:

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.


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:

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:

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:

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.