This article appears courtesy the Morning Call and Patrick Lester:
Police sound alarm on train whistle thefts
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.
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!
- RCT&HS Flickr photo album FP7’s ferry move to Pennsburg/excursion pics
- Railfan.net Reading Co. excursion discussion thread with photos
- YouTube video from October 13th, 2007 (courtesy Adam Christman)
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.
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.
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.
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:
- Railfan.net’s Reading Co. forum (scroll down to bottom)
- Reading Company Technical & Historical Society Flickr page
The RCT&HS modular layout was set up in the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania on July 48. 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)
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!
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, email@example.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|
Passenger train operations for 2007 are in the planning stage and will be annouced at a future date.
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.