Class A4-b 0-4-0 Switcher, #1187

At Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, June 1998. (photo courtesy Paul Hartline)

Background & History

The A-4 Class was a true P&R engine with the modified, wide Wootten firebox Mother Hubbard (camelback) type, built by Baldwin in 1901-1903. There were twenty locomotives in all, numbering 1187 to 1200 inclusive, 1240 and 1246 to 1250. They weighed 98,200 pounds when first built and had a four wheel sloping-back tender. These were later replaced with a larger tender with the typical P&R pedistal-type four-wheel trucks. These same engines were modified in the P&R shops in 1906-1907 when the larger tenders were fitted, steam pressure was increased to 200 pounds and weight increased to 104,800 pounds.*[1]

#1187 represents the only surviving Reading camelback type engine. Originally built in 1903 as class A-4a for the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad Co., was rebuilt into Class A-4b in 1906 by the P&R. Sold in 1946 to the E&G Brooke Iron Company in Birdsboro, renumbered to #4. Sold to the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company (date ?). Last camelback in ICC service. Sold to Strasburg Rail Road in 1962. Last operated May 1967. Was on loan/display at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. Currently disassembled at Strasburg shops pending possible future restoration.

Archival Photos

Sister #1192 at Newburg, PA, August 1935. (photo courtesy Gary Overfield Collection)

Class A-4b Switcher Specifications (as-built): *[2]
Builder: Baldwin Locomotive Works, Philadelphia, PA Cylinders (2): 16" dia. x 24" stroke
Date built: March 1903 Cylinder horsepower: unknown
Wheels: 0-4-0 Boiler pressure: 200 p.s.i. max.
Length: 48' 10" (engine & tender) Tractive effort engine: 20,889 lbs.
Driving wheel diameter: 50" Tractive effort w/Booster: n/a
Weight on drivers: 104,080 lbs. Horsepower rating: unknown
Total engine weight: 104,080 lbs. Top speed: unknown
Total weight in working order: unknown Tender capacity: 3,500 gallons water, 5.5-tons coal
Grate area: 40.2 sq. ft. Fuel: Coal
*1 (info courtesy Steam Locomotives of the Reading and P&R Railroads by Edward Wiswesser)
*2 (info courtesy
(last updated: 6/03)