When Revelle W. Brown became president of the Reading Company he wanted to speed up freight service. To that end he ordered the company's superintendent of motive power and rolling equipment, E. Paul Gangewere, to get together with the design engineers at the Baldwin Locomotive Works to develop a plan to convert 30 of the railroad's I-10a 2-8-0 Consolidations to new 4-8-4 Northerns.
These 30 steam locomotives (road numbers 2100 -2129) were rebuilt in the railroad's own shops in Reading, PA, beginning in 1945 with the project completed by 1947. The conversions were made with several reclaimed parts from the I-10a Consolidations (road numbers 2020-2049) and new parts furnished from Baldwin and other vendors.
The first 20 locomotives converted were put into freight service and were regularly used for coal traffic. The last 10 were equipped for passenger service but, except for a few troop trains, were also used for freight.
The Reading Class T-1's were handsome heavy-duty locomotives which saw steady work until diesels took over freight service in the early 1950's. As they were taken out of service, the T-1's were kept in top-notch shape inside the Reading Roundhouse.
By 1956, steam was dead and virtually all steam locomotives but the T-1's were gone from the Reading. The only exceptions to this were 10 G3 Pacifics which remained in storage until mid-1957 when they were scrapped and a single 0-6-0 (Reading number 1251) which was still used as a switcher at the Reading shops and is now preserved at the Strasburg Railroad.. Three years later the T-1's would begin a new and more celebrated career pulling train loads of railfans on excursions through the Pennsylvania country side. These outings became known as "Reading Rambles".
Of the 30 T-1's built by the Reading only four survive today and are located as shown below.
|Reading 2102 on a Ramble|
On the Reading Railroad these excursions which became known as "Reading Rambles" were started in 1936, when the first was run in October and was billed as an "Autumn leaf excursion". This very popular ramble ran every year until the outbreak of World War II. After the war only a few rambles were run and, when diesels took over completely in the mid 1950's, they were thought to have become a part of the romantic history of railroading.
Then surprisingly in 1959, the Reading announced an "Iron Horse Ramble" to be led by a steam locomotive, one of the T-1s, #2124. This nostalgic revival of the rambles was run on October 25, 1959, with #2124 pulling a 16 car train from Wayne Junction to Shamokin. The Reading continued to run the rambles using T-1 #2100, #2102 and #2124 until high locomotive repair costs and track deterioration caused the cessation of these very popular outings. From the October 25, 1959 ramble to the last one on October 17, 1964, the Reading had operated a total of 50 "Rambles".
An interesting note is that on that 50th and final "Ramble", the T1 broke
a tender or engine spring. It was later replaced with one from the 2123
which had recently been sold for scrap but was still intack. There was
a TRAINS photo showing the 2123 being scrapped.
|American Freedom Train|
His plan was to have the train travel from city to city and to be pulled by restored steam locomotives. For the southern and western portions of the tour he was able to secure the services of restored Southern Pacific #4449 and the restored Texas & Pacific #610.
For the east, Ross Rowland found a Reading T-1, #2101, in a scrap yard in Baltimore, MD and overhauled it in the same Reading shop were it had been converted nearly 30 years earlier.
After the American Freedom Train, Ross Rowland
kept #2101 and conducted a series of "Chessie Steam Special" excursions on
the Chessie System in 1977 and 1978 until #2101 was severely damaged in a
roundhouse fire in 1979. The fire was so severe that the coal in 2101's
tender burned. As a result there was some uncertainty in the structural
integrity of the locomotive and tender. After the fire the Chessie,
who had been pleased with the "Chessie Steam Special" program, wanted the
steam train excursions to continue and traded to Ross Rowland a C&O
main line steam locomotive (#614) for the damaged #2101. They also
contributed $100,000 to the restoration efforts of #614. In return Ross
Rowland (Steam Loco. Corp of Americs) would cosmetically restore #2101 to
its "American Freedom Train #1" appearance and donate it to the B&O
museum where it still remains today.
The Reading Railroad used Wootten fireboxes on most of its steam locomotives from 1880, right up to dieselization. The I-10a locomotives, built in 1923-1925, and later converted to T-1s, had a firebox with over 90 square feet, which was about double that of a comparable soft coal burning locomotive at that time. The T-1 had a grate area of 94.5 square feet.
Over time, a mixture of hard and soft coal was used on the Reading Railroad and in the 1940's it changed to 100% soft coal. The Wootten fireboxes were modified to burn stoker-fed bituminous coal. The Wootten firebox proved a natural for getting the huge heating surface that was required in the larger locomotives that were used in the later days of the steam era.
Data from table and diagram in 1947 Locomotive Cyclopedia and "What the Reading Saved,", Steam Locomotive Number 2 (December 1959), pp.8-14 . See also "Reading Company No. 2124", Steamtown Special History Study - American Steam Locomotives, National Park Service website at , last accessed 14 April 2017.Firebox had four thermic syphons and two arch tubes. Trailing-truck booster added 11,100 lb (5,035 kg) to starting tractive effort. These engines were built using the boilers from 30 I-10 2-8-0s. The back end was unchanged, the front lengthened primarily by installing a Baldwin-built smokebox section that was 111" (2,819 mm) long and two boiler courses each extending to 187" (4.75 m). General Steel Casting supplied the new one-piece engine bed with integral cylinders and pump bracket. Other special equipment were the Worthington 5 1/2 SA feed water heater and Standard HT stoker. According to John Bohon, who wrote Locobase care of Wes Barris's Steamlocomotive.com on 3 October 2011, the first engine used friction bearings on the drivers. The other ten used roller bearings. Lead and trailing trucks used roller bearings of either SKF or Timken manufacture. Bohon comments that there was no pattern as to what tenders used which bearings. The writer of What the Reading Saved noted that the only existing components to be reused were "the major part of the boiler and small items like whistles, water gauges, headlights, air pumps, safety valves, and grate rigging ...The last 15 engines built even had new fireboxes." Yet the final cost to the Reading came to $157,000 "or more than $75,000 under the estimated cost of a completely new locomotive." Bohon adds: "the original use of all the T-1's was in fast freight service. Like most railroads the Reading needed engines to speed up their trains. It was not until later when the diesels started to arrive in mass that the T-1 was bumped down to coal train service. In spite of the compromises in their construction these were good locomotives."
|Principal Dimensions by Steve Llanso of Sweat House Media|
|Railroad||Philadelphia & Reading|
|Number in Class||30|
|Locomotive Length and Weight|
|Driver Wheelbase (ft / m)||19.25 / 5.87|
|Engine Wheelbase (ft / m)||45.83 / 13.97|
|Ratio of driving wheelbase to overall engine wheebase||0.42|
|Overall Wheelbase (engine & tender) (ft / m)|
|Axle Loading (Maximum Weight per Axle) (lbs / kg)||69,740 / 31,634|
|Weight on Drivers (lbs / kg)||278,200 / 126,190|
|Engine Weight (lbs / kg)||441,300 / 200,171|
|Tender Loaded Weight (lbs / kg)||367,700 / 166,786|
|Total Engine and Tender Weight (lbs / kg)||809,000 / 366,957|
|Tender Water Capacity (gals / ML)||19,000 / 71.97|
|Tender Fuel Capacity (oil/coal) (gals/tons / ML/MT)||26 / 23.60|
|Minimum weight of rail (calculated) (lb/yd / kg/m)||116 / 58|
|Geometry Relating to Tractive Effort|
|Driver Diameter (in / mm)||70 / 1778|
|Boiler Pressure (psi / kPa)||240 / 16.50|
|High Pressure Cylinders (dia x stroke) (in / mm)||27" x 32" / 686x813|
|Tractive Effort (lbs / kg)||67,984 / 30837.06|
|Factor of Adhesion (Weight on Drivers/Tractive Effort)||4.09|
|Firebox Area (sq ft / m2)||465 / 43.20|
|Grate Area (sq ft / m2)||94.40 / 8.77|
|Evaporative Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)||4920 / 457.08|
|Superheating Surface (sq ft / m2)||1214 / 112.78|
|Combined Heating Surface (sq ft / m2)||6134 / 569.86|
|Evaporative Heating Surface/Cylinder Volume||232.01|
|Computations Relating to Power Output (More Information)|
|Robert LeMassena's Power Computation||22,656|
|Same as above plus superheater percentage||27,187|
|Same as above but substitute firebox area for grate area||133,920|
|Reading 2100 in Ontario|
|B&O Railroad Museum|
|Reading 2102 Under Steam in 1985|
|Reading 2124 in Steamtown|