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.