Reading Blue Mountain and Northern Railroad 2102

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Reading Blue Mountain and Northern Railroad 2102 (historically known as Reading 2102) is a preserved "T-1" 4-8-4 "Northern" type steam locomotive. Originally built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in March 1925 as an "I-10sa" 2-8-0 "Consolidation" type locomotive for the Reading Company, No. 2102 was rebuilt by the Reading's own locomotive Shops as a 4-8-4 "Northern" in September 1945, and it was used for pulling heavy coal trains for the railroad until being retired from revenue service in 1956. Between 1962 and 1964, No. 2102 was used to pull the famous Iron Horse Rambles excursion trains. After the Rambles ended in 1964, No. 2102 was sold to Steam Tours Inc. of Akron, Ohio to spend the next 23 years pulling various fan trips in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest. In 1985, it was sold again to Andy Muller to operate on his Reading Blue Mountain and Northern Railroad alongside 4-6-2 "Pacific" No. 425, until its flue ticket expired on October 27, 1991. Beginning in February 2016, the locomotive was restored to operating condition and returned to service in April 2022.

Reading and Northern 2102
RBMN No. 2102 at Outer Station in Reading, Pennsylvania on August 13, 2022
Type and origin
Power typeSteam
BuilderBaldwin Locomotive Works
Serial number58329
Build dateMarch 1925 (as Class I-10sa 2-8-0 Consolidation No. 2044)
RebuilderReading Company
Rebuild dateSeptember 1945 (Rebuilt as: T1 4-8-4 Northern No. 2102)
 • WhyteNew: 2-8-0,
Rebuilt: 4-8-4
 • UICNew: 1'D
Rebuilt: 2'D'2
Gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Leading dia.36 in (914 mm)
Driver dia.70 in (1,778 mm)
Trailing dia.44 in (1,118 mm)
Length110 ft 6 in (33.68 m)
Height15 ft 2 in (4.62 m)
Axle load69,550 lb (34.78 short tons)
Adhesive weight278,200 lb (139.1 short tons)
Loco weight441,300 lb (220.7 short tons)
Tender weight367,700 lb (183.9 short tons)
Total weight809,000 lb (404 short tons)
Fuel typeAnthracite / Bituminous coal mix
Fuel capacity52,000 lb (26 short tons)
Water cap.19,000 US gallons (72,000 L; 16,000 imp gal)
 • Grate area94.5 sq ft (8.78 m2)
Boiler96 in (2,438 mm)
Boiler pressure240 lbf/in2 (1.65 MPa)
CylindersTwo, outside
Cylinder size27 in × 32 in (686 mm × 813 mm)
Performance figures
Maximum speed80 mph
Power output5,500 hp (4,100 kW)
Tractive effortLoco: 68,000 lbf (302.5 kN)
Booster: 11,100 lbf (49.4 kN)
Total: 79,100 lbf (351.9 kN)
Factor of adh.Loco: 4.09
Booster: 4.33
OperatorsReading Company
Steam Tours Inc.
Allegheny Group
Rail Diversified
Reading Blue Mountain and Northern Railroad
ClassNew: I-10sa
Rebuilt: T-1
NumbersRDG 2044
RDG 2102
D&H 302
Allegheny 2102
RBM&NR 2102
R&N 2102
Retired1956 (revenue service)
October 27, 1991 (1st excursion service)
RestoredApril 29, 1962 (1st restoration)
April 5, 2022 (2nd restoration)
Current ownerReading Blue Mountain and Northern Railroad



Revenue service


By the end of the 1920s, the Philadelphia and Reading Company had approximately 1,015 class "I" 2-8-0 "Consolidation" types constructed by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, as well as the Reading's own locomotive shops in Reading.[2] One of those classes of 2-8-0s was the I-10sa class, and No. 2102 was one of the first I-10sa locomotives built in 1923, being numbered 2044 at the time. No. 2044 was solely used for heavy freight service on the Reading's Branch lines, and sometimes, on the Main line. When the Reading needed more heavier and powerful locomotives during the end of World War II, they brought thirty of their Consolidations Nos 2020–2049, including No. 2044, into its locomotive shops in Reading. There, No. 2044 was heavily rebuilt into a 4-8-4 "Northern", and was reclassified as a T-1, being renumbered to 2102. Its four-axle tender was replaced with a larger six-axle tender, its boiler was extended, its driving wheel diameter was increased, it received two extra pilot wheels, and it received four trailing wheels to support its enlarged firebox. No. 2102 was reassigned for mainline freight service only, just as the rest of its rebuilt sister locomotives were.

As the Reading discontinued steam operations in 1956, No. 2102 was retired from revenue service, and shortly afterward, it was sold to Carpenter Steel Corporation for use to provide steam for its plant.[3]

First excursion service


In the Fall of 1960, the Carpenter Steel plant suffered a catastrophic fire, badly damaging No. 2102's steam generator. After that, No. 2102 was sold back to the Reading Company, which one year prior had decided to spare a few of its T-1s from the scrapper's torch for use on their final excursion fan trips between Wayne Junction in Philadelphia and Shamokin, known as the "Iron Horse Rambles".[4] After its extensive restoration was completed on April 29, 1962, No. 2102 would join fellow T-1 No. 2100 and replace No. 2124, which was sold to Steamtown, U.S.A. after breaking-down. It would also perform doubleheaders with No. 2100. In 1964, the Rambles were put to an end, and by January 31, 1965, the last remaining T-1s were sold separately, and No. 2102 was sold off to Steam Tours, Inc.,[5] based in Akron, Ohio and led by Bill Benson. Beginning in 1966, No. 2102 would operate in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Midwest areas of the country. Its main storage site under Steam Tours' ownership would be at Milwaukee Junction in Detroit, Michigan, which was the same location where Grand Trunk Western USRA 4-6-2 “Pacific” No. 5629 was occasionally stored.[6] In 1968, though, No. 2102 ran an excursion on Grand Trunk Western trackage when a minor derailment damaged its Hennesey oil lubricators on the second driving axle, and the lubricator was subsequently converted to a grease block. The locomotive sat idle for the next three years.

In April 1971, No. 2102 was brought back out of storage for use on an inaugural run along the Greenbrier River from Ronceverte to Cass, West Virginia, as a novel way of letting tourists connect to the remote Cass Scenic Railroad.[7] In 1972, Ross Rowland's High Iron Company (HICO) sponsored several excursions from Reading to Harrisburg on the Reading's mainline to recreate the Iron Horse Rambles, and No. 2102 was loaned to HICO to be used to pull the trains.

In 1973, during the sesquicentennial of the Delaware and Hudson Railway (D&H), No. 2102 was sent to the D&H's Colonie, New York shops to masquerade as D&H K-62 4-8-4 No. 302, with smoke deflectors, a recessed headlight, raised "bug eye" marker lights and a D&H-style number board.[8] In April, the locomotive performed a 2-day double-headed excursion with Canadian Pacific 4-6-2 No. 1278, which masqueraded as D&H No. 653 at the time, from Albany, New York to Montreal, Quebec in Canada.[9] For the rest of 1973, No. 302 pulled various excursions sponsored by HICO from Hoboken, New Jersey to Binghamton, New York, and excursions sponsored by Steam Tours between Pittsburgh and Shawmut. In 1974, No. 2102 was sold to another Ohio tourist group, the Allegheny Group, were it was reverted back to its Reading appearance, but it was re-lettered to "Allegheny".[10] In 1977, it was sold again to another Ohio railroad group, Rail Diversified.[10]

Later that same year, No. 2102 performed a doubleheader along the famous Horseshoe Curve with Grand Trunk Western 2-8-2 No. 4070.[11] However, that trip was plagued with mechanical issues; while on the curve, No. 4070 threw an eccentric rod, and the busy line where the train sat had to be shut down for several hours. As a result of this, Conrail banned steam operations for the next several years. Soon, the 2102 was briefly overhauled, by volunteers at the Monongahela Railway's locomotive shops in Brownsville. On September 22, 1983, the 2102 was fired up and was used to pull a freight train south of Pittsburgh, and footage of it was recorded specifically for the 1984 romance film Maria's Lovers, starring Nastassja Kinski, John Savage and Robert Mitchum, and directed by Andrei Konchalovsky.

In September 1985, under the lease of the Reading Company Technical and Historical Society, No. 2102 travelled to the ex-Reading locomotive shops to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the debut of the Reading T-1 class. Andrew J. Muller, Jr., owner of the Blue Mountain and Reading Railroad (BM&R),[12] brought his steam locomotive for the event as well: Ex-Gulf, Mobile and Northern 4-6-2 "Pacific" No. 425, which had recently been restored for the BM&R in 1984. During the event, Andy Muller, who had always dreamed of owning a Reading T-1, made the financially distressed owners of No. 2102 an offer they could not refuse, and he purchased No. 2102 at an undisclosed cost. In 1987, it was sold to Andrew J. Muller, Jr. to power tourist trains on the newly formed Blue Mountain and Reading Railroad based out of Temple, Pennsylvania.[13] No. 2102 then operated more mainline excursions on the BM&R, Conrail and Gettysburg trackage. The locomotive also performed one doubleheader with No. 425 in 1988. Between December 1986 and 1987, No. 2102's tender was given the bold lettering “We the People of Reading and Berks County PA celebrate Constitution Day” to pay homage to the bicentennial of the United States Constitution.

Hiatus and second restoration


No. 2102's last run in the 20th century occurred on October 27, 1991, after pulling a special 12-car train called "The Anthracite Express" to Tamaqua, in celebration of the 160th anniversary of the opening of the Little Schuylkill Navigation Railroad. After the event was over, No. 2102 was taken out of service and was due for another overhaul.[14] No. 2102 would remain in storage out of public view inside the Port Clinton shop, but occasionally, it would be brought outside for static display in front of the RBM&N station in Temple.

In January 2016, the RBMN started a mechanical evaluation of the locomotive, with the goal of restoring the locomotive to operation.[15] Muller spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to rebuild the locomotive, with additional funds raised through ticket sales.[16] The inside firebox sheets were replaced, 729 stay bolts were either replaced or repaired, and all flues and tubes were taken out.[17] The rear support was also replaced after an unrepaired crack was discovered.[17]

By the end of 2020, the refurbishment of the boiler was nearing completion.[18] On January 10, 2021, No. 2102 was fired up for the first time in the 21st century and tested at its working boiler pressure.[19] All components, including the boiler, injectors, feedwater heater, and stoker, were found to be in good working order. While the locomotive was still not ready to run yet, as the cab still needed to be reinstalled, and since its tender was still being repaired, No. 2102 was using No. 425's tender for the test-fire. The multi-year project had cost more than $1 million, and taken 5 years to complete.[19]

Second excursion service


In early April 2022, the restoration of No. 2102 to operational condition was completed, and the locomotive moved under its own power for the first time in 31 years. The locomotive was painted in Reading Railroad livery (except the tender, which was lettered as "READING & NORTHERN"). Test runs in the earlier half of 2022 were to Reading, Tamaqua, and Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania.[20][21][22] On April 26, No. 2102 performed another test run from Reading to Jim Thorpe and return, pulling a long line of fifty empty coal hopper cars.[23][24] On May 20, the final test run was made from Port Clinton to Tamaqua with 100 empty hopper cars before returning with 50 loaded hoppers.[25]

On May 28, the T-1 entered excursion service to haul the first Iron Horse Ramble excursion from Reading to Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania with 19 sold-out passenger cars without diesel assistance.[26][27] Afterwards, the locomotive pulled more Iron Horse Ramble excursions on July 2, and on August 13, it double headed with No. 425 for the first time since 1988.[28][29] On August 19, 2102 again pulled revenue freight services, and pulled the final Iron Horse Ramble excursion on September 3. On September 23, and September 24, No. 2102 pulled three round trip excursion on R&N's Pottsville Branch between Schuykill Haven and Port Clinton as part of the Schuykill Haven Brough Days.[30] On October 1, 2022, No. 2102 pulled its first Autumn Leaf excursion, but was sidelined on October 8 due to firebox issues, which was repaired four days later in time to continue pulling the remaining scheduled Autumn Leaf excursions on October 29, and November 6, 2022.[31][32][33]

In 2023, No. 2102 pulled three more Iron Horse Ramble excursions scheduled for July 1, August 13, and September 2, including the Autumn Leaf excursions on October 1, 14, and 21.[34][35][36]


See also



  1. ^ "Reading T-1 Locomotives". Railway Mechanical Engineer. Vol. 120, no. 4. Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corporation. April 1944. p. 189 – via Internet Archive.
  2. ^ Hart, George M. (1946). "HISTORY OF THE LOCOMOTIVES of the READING COMPANY". The Railway and Locomotive Historical Society Bulletin (67): 1–119. ISSN 0033-8842. JSTOR 43519942.
  3. ^ "Wowak's Images of Railroading". Retrieved 2021-01-13.
  4. ^ "Iron Horse Rambles gallery | Classic Trains Magazine". Retrieved 2021-01-13.
  5. ^ "RDG Co. Surviving Steam Profile". Retrieved 2021-01-13.
  6. ^ admin (2021-03-18). "A Passion for Steam". The Trackside Photographer. Retrieved 2021-05-08.
  7. ^ "Cass Scenic Railroad State Park". West Virginia State Parks. Retrieved 2021-01-13.
  8. ^ Ziel (1990), p. 22.
  9. ^ 2102 After the Rambles, 10 May 2020, retrieved 2021-09-23
  10. ^ a b "Background & History". RDG Co.–Surviving Steam Profile. Retrieved June 28, 2024.
  11. ^ Berkshire Productions (1989), Berkshire Productions: Reading 2102 The American Northern 1989 VHS, retrieved 2021-01-15
  12. ^ "Reading Blue Mountain & Northern Railroad". Reading Blue Mountain & Northern Railroad. Retrieved 2021-01-14.
  13. ^ "Steam Locomotive 2102". Reading Blue Mountain & Northern Railroad. Retrieved June 26, 2024.
  14. ^ "2102 Updates".
  15. ^ Fisher, Matt (Fall 2016). "T-1 No.2102 Updates" (PDF). R&N Magazine. Reading & Northern Railroad. p. 5. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 11, 2021. Retrieved December 22, 2021.
  16. ^ "2102 Updates". Reading Blue Mountain & Northern. Retrieved 2021-01-15.
  17. ^ a b Burkhart, M.T. (November 10, 2020). "Reading & Northern 4-8-4 on Track to Steam Next Year". Railfan & Railroad. White River Productions. Archived from the original on January 25, 2021. Retrieved November 2, 2022.
  18. ^ Burkhart, M.T. (November 10, 2020). "Reading & Northern 4-8-4 on Track to Steam Next Year". Railfan & Railroad. White River Productions. Retrieved November 10, 2020.
  19. ^ a b Hartley, Scott A. (January 13, 2021). "Reading & Northern brings No. 2102 nearer to operation with steam test". Trains. Kalmbach Media. Retrieved January 15, 2021.
  20. ^ Hartley, Scott A. (April 6, 2022). "Reading & Northern runs test trip with No. 2102". Trains. Kalmbach Media. Archived from the original on April 6, 2022. Retrieved April 6, 2022.
  21. ^ Serfass, Donald R. (April 8, 2022). "2102 returns after 31-year absence". Times News Online. Archived from the original on April 8, 2022. Retrieved April 9, 2022.
  22. ^ Logue Jr., James (April 9, 2022). "DAY 2 OF TESTING". Times News Online. Archived from the original on April 9, 2022. Retrieved April 9, 2022.
  23. ^ "Reading & Northern sets 2102 test run". Trains. Kalmbach Media. April 25, 2022. Archived from the original on April 25, 2022. Retrieved April 25, 2022.
  24. ^ Hartley, Scott A. (April 26, 2022). "Reading & Northern No. 2102 hauls coal hoppers in test run". Trains. Kalmbach Media. Archived from the original on April 29, 2022. Retrieved April 29, 2022.
  25. ^ Cupper, Dan (May 20, 2022). "News photos: Another trip with freight cars for Reading & Northern 2102". Trains. Kalmbach Media. Archived from the original on May 21, 2022. Retrieved May 21, 2022.
  26. ^ "Reading 2102 to Lead 'Iron Horse Rambles' Excursions". Railfan & Railroad. White River Productions. January 21, 2022. Archived from the original on January 22, 2022. Retrieved January 27, 2022.
  27. ^ Burkhart, M.T. (May 31, 2022). "Reading 2102 Makes Debut on Sold Out 'Iron Horse Ramble'". Railfan & Railroad. White River Productions. Archived from the original on May 31, 2022. Retrieved November 10, 2022.
  28. ^ Railfan & Railroad Staff (July 22, 2022). "Reading & Northern to Run Doubleheader Steam on Aug. 13". Railfan & Railroad. White River Productions. Retrieved July 22, 2022.
  29. ^ "Reading & Northern plans steam doubleheader for Aug. 13 excursion". Trains. Kalmbach Media. July 21, 2022. Archived from the original on July 21, 2022. Retrieved September 24, 2022.
  30. ^ "34th Annual Schuylkill Haven Borough Day" (PDF). Reading and Northern. September 24, 2022. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 27, 2022. Retrieved June 27, 2023.
  31. ^ Cupper, Dan (October 12, 2022). "Reading & Northern 4-8-4 repaired, set for next excursion". Trains. Kalmbach Media. Archived from the original on October 12, 2022. Retrieved November 2, 2022.
  32. ^ "2022 Autumn Leaf Train Excursions". Reading Blue Mountain & Northern Railroad. Archived from the original on November 1, 2022. Retrieved November 2, 2022.
  33. ^ Cupper, Dan (December 26, 2022). "Top 10 stories of 2022, No. 9: Reading & Northern 4-8-4 No. 2102 returns". Trains. Retrieved December 26, 2022.
  34. ^ Railfan & Railroad Staff (May 1, 2023). "Reading 2102 Returns for Another Season of 'Rambles'". Railfan & Railroad. White River Productions. Retrieved May 1, 2023.
  35. ^ "Iron Horse Rambles". Reading Blue Mountain & Northern Railroad. Archived from the original on July 4, 2023. Retrieved July 4, 2023.
  36. ^ Iverson, Lucas (September 26, 2023). "Must-See Big Steam for Fall 2023". Trains. Kalmbach Media. Retrieved May 26, 2024.


  • Ziel, Ron (1990). Mainline Steam Revival (1st ed.). Amereon House. ISBN 0-8488-0863-0.

Further reading