Posts Tagged ‘Reading steam locomotives’

Firebox Welding Completed on Reading 2100

October 12, 2021

The American Steam Railroad Preservation Association said it has completed welding work within the firebox grate area of former Reading T1 4-8-4 No. 2100.

The work included welding of 548 new side sheet flexible and rigid staybolts, the welding of the inner sheets to the mud ring, and the installation of two new arch tubes.

Next will be making repairs to 85 sleeves in the firebox combustion chamber and purchasing 170 new caps and copper gaskets, to complete this phase of the restoration. Vendors have quoted a price of $9,060 for these parts.

The work is being performed at a former Baltimore & Ohio roundhouse in Cleveland that is now the home of the Midwest Railway Preservation Society.

R&N Test Fires Reading T-1 2102

January 14, 2021

Former Reading Company 4-8-4 No. 2102 underwent steam testing this week in Port Clinton, Pennsylvania.

Owned by regional carrier Reading & Northern, CEO Andy Muller, Jr. blew the whistle of the T-1 at 11 a.m. on Tuesday.

“The engine is like new,” Muller said following the testing, adding that the boiler, injectors, feed water heater and stoker tested fine.

Workers did find a leaks and will repair those after the locomotive cools down.

Shop forces had lighted a fire inside the firebox of the locomotive on Saturday. By Tuesday the engine has reached 240 psi working pressure

Restoration work on the locomotive, which was built by the Reading in 1945 will continue.

The 2102’s cab is still not attached and the tender needs to be rebuilt.

However, Mueller hopes to have the locomotive operating by spring when he wants to have it pull a freight train.

The restoration work has cost $1 million to date and Muller said completion of the work will cost another $100,000.

Muller bought the 2102 in 1987 and it pulled excursion trains on the 13-mile Blue Mountain & Reading from 1987 to 1992. 

Its first assignment in revenue service is expected to be pulling the North Reading Fast Freight, between North Reading and Pittston, Pennsylvania.

Steam Saturday: Reading 1251 in Strasburg

December 5, 2020

Today’s Saturday steam wayback machine takes us to Strasburg, Pennsylvania, in either the late 1960”s or 1970s.

Reading 0-6-0T No. 1251 was on display after having arrived at the museum in 1968.

The class B-4a steamer had been a shop switcher in Reading, Pennsylvania, until 1963, making it the the last Reading steamer still in regular use. In fact once source indicates it was the last steam locomotive still in use at the time by a Class 1 railroad.

It had been built in Reading in 1912 in the company shops, using components from a retired 2-8-0 Consolidation locomotive.

For a while in the 1960s No. 1251 pulled tourist trains in York, Pennsylvania, while paired with a former Reading tender to provide water.

After ending that work in 1966 it sat for two years before moving to the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, where it still resides today on static display after receiving a cosmetic restoration

Photograph by Robert Farkas

AoSRM Takes Delivery of ‘Camelback’ Locomotive

August 5, 2020

The Age of Steam Roundhouse Museum in Sugarcreek this week completed delivery of a rare Reading Railroad “Camelback” steam locomotive.

No. 1187 is the 23rd steam locomotive acquired by AoSRM and one of only three Camelbacks still existing.

The museum acquired the locomotive during a closed bid auction conducted by the Strasburg Rail Road.

The locomotive and its tender were moved to Ohio by truck. A third truck carrying parts is expected to arrive on Wednesday.

“This Reading 0-4-0 Camelback is a unique, unusual and significant type of steam locomotive that is a welcome addition to the Age of Steam Roundhouse,” said William Strawn, chairman of the board of directors of the Jerry and Laura Jacobson Foundation.

“This tiny switch engine rolled on just 4 driving wheels and was able to negotiate tight curves to move railroad cars at factories or waterfront docks,” he said.

Built in 1903, No. 1187 was the last Camelback used in regular freight railroad service before its 1962 retirement. It last operated under steam in 1967.

The locomotive began service as a Philadelphia & Reading Railroad 0-4-0 steam switcher that was specially designed to burn the smokeless anthracite “hard coal” mined in eastern Pennsylvania.

Camelbacks needed a special, wider firebox to burn anthracite coal with its lower heating value than found in other types of coal.

Consequently, engineers operated the locomotive inside a separate cab mounted on top of the boiler.

It was this hump-back appearance resembling the desert-dwelling animal that gave rise to their nickname, “Camelback.” Firemen shoveled coal into the wide firebox in the usual manner, but from their own small, open-sided cab located at the back of the locomotive.

“Even though No. 1187 appears in rough shape, AoSRM has all of its parts except for its wood cab that has rotted away,” said Tim Sposato, chief mechanical Officer at AoSRM.

“Luckily, included with the locomotive’s purchase is the original drawing of No. 1187’s cab. That will be a huge help in AoSRM’s cosmetic restoration of this rare little switcher.”

Steam Sunday: Reading 2102 in Akron

June 21, 2020

Here are two images of ex-Reading 4-8-4 No. 2102 on display in the Norfolk & Western  (ex-Akron, Canton & Youngstown) yard in Akron on April 23, 1971, or April 24, 1971.

She would run an Akron-Spencer excursion on both April 25 and April 26 of that year.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

R&R Article Triggered Reading 2102 Memories

August 9, 2017

If any of you get Railfan & Railroad magazine you probably read about the Chessie Steam Special and Reading 2101.

The article states that work was done on the engine at the Saucon Roundhouse in Hellertown, Pennsylvania.

I pass through Hellertown on occasion and I have photographed the roundhouse over the years. Here are images of it with the roundhouse and coaling tower still standing in 2009, and the last time I saw it in 2014.

I never experienced the Reading 2101 except on the American Freedom Train when it came to New Jersey. I have encountered and ridden behind 2102 several times.

Photographs by Jack Norris

Steam Locomotive Restoration Group Reaches Pact with MRPS For Use of its Roundhouse

June 19, 2017

A group seeking to restore a Reading T1 steam locomotive has apparently patched up things with the Midwest Railway Preservation Society.

Trains magazine reported last week that MRPS has reached a tentative agreement on a lease with the American Steam Railroad Preservation Association for that group to remain at MRPS facility in Cleveland.

ASR had moved 4-8-4 No. 2100 to the former Baltimore & Ohio roundhouse two years ago with the goal of restoring it to operating condition.

Known as a term sheet, the agreement  calls for the lease to last three years and establishes a set of agreements and conditions both sides agreed to meet before signing binding documents. The two parties will have four months to complete any pre-agreement work necessary.

Last spring the MRPS went to court to seek to evict ASR from the roundhouse.

According to Trains, the new agreement allows ASR to use one roundhouse stall and some tracks outside the building.

“Midwest sincerely hopes that we are entering a new and fruitful period for both organizations,” said MRPS President Donald Zeyer says. “Additionally, Midwest also wishes to advise the public that we had nothing to do with any allegations, comments, or arguments that were made on social media. Again, we hope that we are entering a new era of co-operation. We wish ASR nothing but the best in their efforts to return No. 2100 to steam.”

ASR President Steve Harvey said his group is pleased with the roundhouse, noting that it has good access to Class I railroads, short lines, and scenic railroad operators.

Trains quoted a ASR officer as saying that the group plans to focus on rebuilding No. 2100’s firebox and running gear in the coming months and to have locomotive under steam in the next year or two.

Reading 2100 Called Good Restoration Candidate

August 26, 2015

Reading Company No. 2100 needs lots of repairs, but otherwise “is an extremely good candidate for a return to service.”

That was the conclusion of a preliminary inspection of the 4-8-4, which was brought by flat car to Cleveland earlier this year with an eye toward restoring it to operating condition.

The locomotive is being restored by the American Steam Railroad Preservation Association, which in turn leases it from an unidentified owner.

The inspection report, which was made public on Tuesday, placed the cost of repairs at a minimum of $50,000 for the boiler and $185,000 for the machinery, and a maximum of $80,000 for the boiler and $600,000 for machinery work.

The high range of that is about $20,000 under the projected $700,000 cost that the group had stated when it began a fund-raising campaign.

The report also said that another $47,000 is needed for additional inspection work to make a more comprehensive evaluation, including driver and rod removal; checking of tram, frame and rods; inspection of crank pins, axles and piston rods; and an ultrasound survey of the boiler.

Jason Sobczynski of Next Generation Rail Services and Zach Hall of Steamman Rail Services prepared the seven-page report covering the firebox interior, boiler and firebox exterior, boiler interior, machinery, ancillary systems, and tender.

Among the notable parts of the report:

  • The firebox interior is very good. “We were unable to locate waffled, bagged, or burned sheets in either the firebox itself or the thermic syphons, and only minor leaks were noted around a few bolts.” The engine needs repairs to its syphon diaphragms and replacement of 60 crown bolts. “Many locomotives currently in service would be lucky to have a firebox in this good of condition.”
  • The boiler contains 120 flexible staybolt sleeves that had improper repairs, This will require removal and more inspection and testing of the boiler shell. “At that point, it will be determined if a patch is required or if the original fabric is of a condition which allows for continued service.” The riveted joint to the backhead has seen severe deterioration in two areas and more inspection and engineering analysis is needed. The barrel is in good condition and the seal welded repairs seem to be normal. A hydrostatic test and a steam test are needed to complete the inspection.
  • The running gear, driving and valve gear, spring and brake rigging are in good to fair condition. Twenty-four areas were noted for further inspection or repairs.

The 2100 was built in 1945 in Reading, Pennsylvania.  After being retired by the Reading in 1964, the 2100 was restored in the 1980s in Hagerstown, Maryland.

It wound up in Ohio and, ultimately, in Tacoma, Washington, where it was converted to oil firing in the 2000s. Most recently, it has been in storage in Richland, Washington.

Restoration of the 2100 is expected to be done in a former Baltimore & Ohio roundhouse now owned by the Midwest Railway Preservation Society in Cleveland.

For more information or to read the report go to

When Akron Had its Own Steam Locomotive

June 6, 2015


Remember when the Akron area had a 4-8-4? Here’s Allegheny 2102 (ex-Reading 2102) heading southbound through Akron on May 7, 1977. Soon it would reach Warwick and turn on the wye. Then it and Cuyahoga Valley Line No. 4070 would leave for Horseshoe Curve and an ill-fated double header around the famed Horseshoe Curve.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Up Close and Personal With the Reading 2100

May 18, 2015

Made in Reading, Meet made in LaGrange. Two distinctive forms of motive power go nose by nose at Rockport Yard in Cleveland.

Made in Reading, Meet made in LaGrange. Two distinctive forms of motive power go nose by nose at Rockport Yard in Cleveland.

Reading No. 2100 arrived in Cleveland on Saturday afternoon en route to the former Baltimore & Ohio roundhouse that is now operated by the Midwest Railway Preservation Society.

The T-1 class steam locomotive made the trip via BNSF and Norfolk Southern on a flatcar from its former home in Washington State. The American Steam Railroad Preservation Association is leading the efforts to restore the 2100 in Cleveland to operating condition.

That means transforming it from being an oil burner into a coal burner again. To pull off the job, the group needs to raise $700,000. It has established a website to solicit donations and provide news about the restoration of the 2100.

No. 2100 was among a class of 30 Northern locomotives churned out by the Reading shops in Reading, Pennsylvania, between 1945 and 1947.

Carrying road numbers 2100-2129, the 4-8-4 locomotives were a hybrid built from salvaged parts of the railroad’s I-10a Consolidations (road numbers 20-20-2049) and new parts supplied by Baldwin and other contractors.

No. 2100 thus began life as I-10a No. 2020, a 2-8-0 built by Baldwin in 1936.

The T-1 locomotive was designed for fast freight service, but the final 10 of the class were equipped to haul passenger trains. This was largely limited to troop train duty.

All of the T-1 locomotives served in freight service and in their later years of revenue service the T-1s were pulling coal trains as diesels infiltrated the Reading motive power rosters.

No. 2100 was one of three T-1 locomotives that Reading assigned to its Iron Horse Rambles, a.k.a., Reading Rambles, between 1959 and 1964.

The Ramble was not a new program. The Reading began the Rambles in 1936, typically operating as excursion trains taking passengers out on mainlines and branch lines to see the fall foliage.

Running steadily until World War II, the Rambles resumed after the war and became diesel powered in the 1950s. However, the trips became less frequent and seemed to have faded away until the Reading announced their return as steam-powered trips to be known as the Iron Horse Ramble.

The first of these operated on Oct. 25, 1959, behind T-1 No. 2124, which pulled 16 cars from Wayne Junction to Shamokin. The Rambles continued to be a fixture on the Reading with No. 2124 joined by No. 2100 and No. 2102 also sharing the duties of pulling the trains.

Citing high locomotive repair expenses and deteriorating track conditions, the Reading said that the 50th Ramble on Oct. 17, 1964, would be the last.

Including the 2100, four Reading T-1 locomotives survive today. A year after the last Iron Horse Ramble took a ride on the Reading, No. 2100 was sold to a Baltimore scrap dealer along with the 2101 and 2102.

But the 2100 was not scrapped and 10 years later steam impresario Ross Rowland Jr. purchased the 2100 in order to obtain parts for the rebuilding of T-1 No. 2101, which went on to pull the American Freedom Train.

The 2100 sat in Hagerstown, Maryland, between 1975 and 1987 before it was restored by a group known as 2100 Corporation whose leaders included Rowland, Bill Benson and Richard Kughn.

The group spent more than a million dollars to overhaul the 2100 but no railroad would agree to allow it operate on its tracks, although it did make some break-in runs on the Winchester & Western.

Over the next several years, the 2100 would embark on a long, strange odyssey that brought it to Ohio.

The journey began with a trip to the Wheeling & Lake Erie’s Rook Yard in Pittsburgh that eventually led the 2100 traveling to the railroad’s shops in Brewster.

The 2100 Corporation donated the 2100 to the Portage Area Regional Transportation Authority, which had plans to operate the steamer. But those didn’t pan out and the 2100 wound up on the Ohio Central in Coshocton where it was stored until 1998.

On Jan. 16, 1998, Tom Payne of RailLink Ltd. in Edmonton, Alberta, purchased the 2100 at an auction from PORTA. The locomotive made some test runs under steam on the Ohio Central in May 1998.

Payne moved the 2100 to a former Michigan Central shops in St. Thomas, Ontario. Now part of the Elgin County Railway Museum, the shops transformed the 2100 into an oil burner.

During that restoration the “Reading” name on the tender was removed in favor of the name “Ferroequus.”

He also purchased an auxiliary tender and 12 passenger cars with the idea of offering excursion train service.

Then he made a disturbing discovery. There was no suitable tracks in St. Thomas over which to operate a heavy steam locomotive in excursion service.

In June 2005 the 2100 was sold to the Golden Pacific Railroad in Tacoma, Washington., traveling there atop a flat car.

In Washington, the 2100 was steamed up and able to pull trips over former Milwaukee Road tracks between Tacoma and Frederickson.

Accompanying the 2100 on those trips was a former Amtrak F40PH. The train, which consisted of three bi-level commuter coaches formerly operated in Chicago by Metra, operated in push-pull fashion with the F40 serving as a cab car.

Tickets for the trips were $50, which included a catered lunch in Frederickson. The high cost of tickets was blamed in part for the failure of the service to make money and the last trip ran in 2006.

The next year the Spirit of Washington dinner train used the 2100 over the same route, but this service was short-lived, lasting just a few months. However, the dinner train united the 2100 with a remnant of the Reading Crusader, an observation car.

The 2100 was moved to Richland, Washington, for storage where it sat until it began moving eastward for Cleveland last month.

The Fireup 2100 group Tweeted on Saturday that the 2100 is expected to remain at Rockport Yard until Tuesday or Wednesday when NS is expected to move the steamer and its entourage to Campbell Road Yard and then the ex-B&O roundhouse at West Third Street.

Roger Durfee visited the 2100 this past weekend and sent along these images of it. Note that in the eighth photograph down an American Airlines jet is landing at nearby Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.

Roger’s detailed images show a locomotive that has acquired some rust, but otherwise looks like with a little TCL it could be brought back to life.

Will it be? It is going to a while and will hinge on a number of factors beyond the control of any one person or organization.

Article by Craig Sanders, Photography by Roger Durfee