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The Reading Railway System was an 1138 mile railroad serving Southeastern Pennsylvania and portions of the states of Delaware and New Jersey. It used 250 locomotives, 183 passenger cars, 13,987 freight cars and 102 pieces of company service equipment to serve the people living it its service area. The Reading gained fame not only as one of the four railroads on a Monopoly game board, but as America's largest carrier of anthracite coal. The Reading was this, commuters, through line passengers and much much more. Above all, the Reading was the people who stood behind the service the railroad provided with pride.

To get an understanding of the Reading Railroad and how it evolved, one would do well to review the family tree of smaller railroads that were melded together to form the cohesive system known also as the Reading Lines, and that is exactly what the railroad was. Those smaller railroads were as follows:
1.Reading and Columbia
2.Catasauqua and Fogelsville
3.Perkiomen Railroad
4.Stony Creek Railroad
5.Northeast Pennsylvania Railroad (Bethlehem Branch)
6.Philadelphia and Chester Railway
7.Philadelphia, Newtown & New York Railroad
8.Pickering Valley Railroad
9.Port Valley Railroad
10.Williams Valley Railroad
11.Middletown & Hummelstown RR (now an independent tourist line)
12.Chester and Delaware Valley Railroad
13.Rupert and Bloomsburg Railroad
14.Tamaqua, Hazleton and Northern Railroad
15.Norristown Jct. Railroad
16.Delaware River Ferry of New Jersey
17.Philadelphia and Frankfort Railroad
18.Philadelphia,Harrisburg and Pittsburgh Railroad
19.Schuylkill & Lehigh Railroad
20.Shamokin,Sunbury and Lewisburg Railroad
21.New York Short Line Railroad
22.Norristown and Main Line Connecting Railroad
23.Atlantic City RR(major part of Pennsylvania-Reading Seashore Lines)
24.Wilmington and Northern Railroad. 
 
PRINCIPAL FREIGHT CONNECTIONS
The Reading, in its final years made freight connections with the following railroads at these locations:
Baltimore and Ohio: Park Junction
Lehigh Valley: Bethlehem and Allentown
Central Railroad of New Jersey: Bound Brook
Newberry Junction,Wilmington,Philadelphia,Harrisburg: Penn Central
Rupert and Bloomsburg: Erie Lackawanna
Gettysburg and Lurgan,PA: Western Maryland Railway
 
FINAL DIESEL ROSTER
EMD    SW1         600 hp             20-24                  5 units
EMD    GP7       1500 hp        620,622,625,662        4 units
EMD    FP7        1500 hp       900,902, 903              3 units
EMD  SW900       900 hp       1501-1521                21 units
EMD  SW1001   1000 hp        2601-2625               25 units
EMD  SW1200   1200 hp        2701-2719               19 units
EMD  SW1500   1500 hp        2750-2770               21 units
EMD  MP15       1500 hp        2771-2780               10 units
EMD  GP39-2     2300 hp       3400-3419                20 units to D&H7401-7420
EMD  GP30       2250 hp        3600-3619                20 units
EMD  GP35       2500 hp        3620-3656                37 units
EMD  GP40-2    3000 hp        3671-3675                  5 units
Alco  C424        2400 hp        5201-5210                10 units
Alco  C430        3000 hp        5211-5212                  2 units
Alco  C630        3000 hp        5300-5311                12 units
GE    U30C       3000 hp        6300-6304                  5 units
EMD SD45       3600 hp        7600-7604                  5 units, dual controls
 
Conrail allowed all of the newer switchers to be returned to the lessors as
the leases on these units expired, usually after 15 or more years of service.
PASSENGER ROUTES These consisted of the following lines, with passenger operations based at Reading Terminal in Philadelphia. 1.Reading Terminal-Wayne Jct., 5.1 miles-City Terminal 2.Wayne Jct.-Bethlehem, 51.5 miles 3.Lansdale-Doylestown, 10.0 miles 4.Glenside-Warminster 8.2 miles 5.Wayne Jct.-Newtown 21.2 miles (cutback to Fox Chase) 6.Jenkintown-West Trenton 21.7 miles 7.N.Broad St.-Norristown, 15.1 miles 8.Wayne Jct.-Chestnut Hill 5.1 miles 9.Norristown-Pottsville 76.4 miles Total Passenger Routes 204.3 miles All diesel powered service was cut in 1981 due to budgetary reasons. Portion of the Bethlehem Branch has been taken up. READING LINES STILL IN OPERATION AND BY WHOM 1.Philadelphia-West Trenton,SEPTA 2.North Broad Street-Norristown,SEPTA 3.Wayne Junction-Chestnut Hill(East),SEPTA 4.Glenside-Fox Chase (SEPTA) 5.Glenside-Warminster (SEPTA) 6.Lansdale-Doylestown, (SEPTA) 7.Middlestown-Hummelstown (M&H Railroad) 8.Harrisburg-Reading-Allentown (Norfolk Southern) 9.Pottsville-Norristown (Norfolk Southern) 10.Reading-Tamaqua (Reading and Northern) 11.Tamaqua-Mahanoy (Reading and Northern) 12.Pottsville-Tamaqua (Reading and Northern) 13.Sunbury-Lewisburg (West Shore RR) 14.Montoursville-Williamsport-Newberry(Lycoming Valley RR) 15.Harrisburg-Lurgan (Norfolk Southern) 16.West Trenton-Bound Brook(CSX) 17.Carlisle-Gettysburg (Norfolk Southern) Substantial portion of the line between Montoursville and north of Lewisburg was abandoned at the coming of Conrail though much of the track remains in place but long out of service.There may be other Reading lines still in operation as well. This list is NOT necessarily complete.

Sample Freight and Passenger Schedules. This section will contain a few sample freight and passenger schedules as operated by the Reading Company in its final years.
Table 1. Train BH 15 Bethlehem to Rutherford(Harrisburg)
Lv Bethlehem...................1500
AR Reading......................1700  so/pu
Lv Reading.......................1730
Ar Lebanon......................1830  so
Lv Lebanon......................1900
Ar Annville.........................1915 so
Lv Annville.........................1945
Ar Rutherford....................2030
so=indicates set off. pu=indicates pick up.
Makeup of this train:
1.Reading
2.Lebanon
3.Annville
4.Hagerstown and beyond
5.Rutherford and via.
Table 2. Train HB-6. Rutherford to Bethlehem
Lv Rutherford..............................0600
Ar Lebanon..................................0645   pu
Lv Lebanon.................................0730
Ar Reading..................................0830 so-pu
Lv Reading.................................1000
Ar Bethlehem............................1400
Makeup of  this train:
1.Reading TOFC
2.Reading and Pottsville Perishables
3.Perkiomen Branch
4.Bethlehem Steel Company Loads
5.Bethlehem Steel Company Empties
6.Bethlehem Branch, including Bethlehem proper.
Table 3. Train NP19 Newberry Jct. to Philadelphia
Lv Newberry Jct..................................1930
Ar Rupert...............................................2130 so-pu
Lv Rupert..............................................2300
Ar Tamaqua..........................................0200
Lv Tamaqua.........................................0230
Ar Reading...........................................0400  so
LvReading...........................................0430
Ar Birdsboro.......................................0500 so-pu
LvBirdsboro.......................................0530
Ar Abrams...........................................0620  so
Lv Abrams..........................................0700
Ar West Falls......................................0730  so
Lv West Falls.....................................0800
Ar Nicetown......................................0810   so
lv  Nicetown......................................0830
Ar Fairhill Jct....................................0845    so
Lv Fairhill Jct....................................0905
Ar Port Richmond...........................0915
Makeup for this train:
1.Rupert
2.Misc. B&O
3.Potomac Yard
4.W&N Branch-Wilmington
5.Abrams
6.West Falls
7.Nicetownn
8.Fairhill Jct.
9.Port Richmond
10.PRSL
Table 4. Train PN21 Philadelphia to Newberry Jct.
Lv Port Richmond..................................2030
Ar Nicetown.............................................2045    pu
Lv Nicetown............................................2120
Ar West Falls...........................................2130   pu
Lv West Falls..........................................2200
Ar Abrams...............................................2230   PU
Lv Abrams..............................................2345
Ar Reading.............................................0100  PU Rupert-EL
LvReading.............................................0300
Ar Tamaqua...........................................0430
Lv Tamaqua..........................................0515
Ar Rupert...............................................0630   SO
Lv Rupert..............................................0745
Ar West Milton.....................................0915   PU-SO
Lv West Milton....................................1000
Ar Newberry Jct.................................1100
Make up for this train:
1. Rupert EL
2.Rupert Local
3.West Milton
4.Newberry Jct.-Rdg
5.Newberry Jct.-PC
Schedules taken from Reading Company freight schedule book issued Oct. 1,1970 with updates to 5-30-72.
Summary of Freight Equipment
The following is a breakdown of the roughly 10,000 freight cars the Reading had in operation in 1964, to which nearly 4,000 more freight cars of all types were added during the railroad's final years of independent operation:
1.Boxcars,2722 in five varieties
2.Gondolas,3926, in   three varieties
3.Covered Hoppers,1038
4.Open Top Hoppers,2931 in three  varieties
5.Cabooses, 144
6.Flatcars, 62 in several varieties
7.Refrigerator cars, 12
Total: 10,,835 freight cars of all types then in operation.
Major Terminals: Port Richmond (Philadelphia),Abrams (King of Prussia),Reading, Allentown, Bethlehem, Rutherford (Harrisburg). Reading's freight operations comprised over 100 scheduled trains a day, plus numerous extras, and unit trains, as well  as multiple sections of scheduled trains run as needed. The sample freight schedules shown above represent only four of  these trains, each of was generally made up with the delivery at the most distant point on the train's run next to the caboose, while the first set off was placed directly behind the locomotive. Local cars in the train were arranged in station order as well.
PASSENGER OPERATIONS
While most of Reading's passenger operations were oriented to the commuter going to and from Reading Terminal in downtown Philadelphia, the railroad operated a few passenger  services that took on the appearance of intercity passenger  services.The Wall Street and Crusader trains, which ran between Philadelphia and Newark,NJ were the better known of these services. The following is the inaugural timetable of  the Wall Street train, which was placed in service on March 1,1948.
Eastbound Train (Mon.-Sat.)
Lv Reading Terminal..............0740
Lv North Broad Street............0746
Lv Wayne Junction.................0751
Lv Jenkintown.........................0758
Lv West Trenton.....................0818
Lv Belle Mead..........................0835
Ar New York.............................0931
Westbound Train                  M-F                 Sat.
Lv New York......................1630..................1300
Ar Belle Mead....................1729..................1401
Ar West Trenton................1746..................1418
Ar Jenkintown...................1805...................1438
Ar Wayne Junction...........1813...................1445
Ar North Broad Street.......1818..................1450
Ar Reading Terminal..........1824..................1456
 
This train and its running mate,The Crusader, had a 33 year career of service to its riders, ending in 1981 when both trains were discontinued and replaced, for a time by a connecting  service at West Trenton between SEPTA and NJ Transit  services. The other passenger services that resembled intercity services were those between Philadelphia,Norristown,Reading, and Pottsville, and between Philadelphia and Bethlehem, which, until 1961 connected with  trains of the Lehigh Valley,CNJ-DL&W trains.Condensed schedules of these two services appear below: