RBMN Revives Reading T-1 2102, ‘Iron Horse Rambles’

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
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Following an extensive, $2.4 million overhaul, Class II Reading & Northern Railroad (RBMN), Railway Age’s four-time Regional Railroad of the Year, is returning Reading Class T-1 4-8-4 Northern 2102 to the rails with four “Iron Horse Rambles” round-trip excursions between Reading and Jim Thorpe, Pa.: May 28, July 2, Aug. 13 and Sept. 3, with five classes of seating. May 28 is already sold out; tickets are going fast for the remaining three trips.

“The time has come for 2102 to make a triumphant return to the high iron, and now, for the first time in more than 30 years, it will once again be pulling main line excursions on the Reading & Northern!” said RBMN Passenger Department General Manager Matt Fisher. “Our all-day Iron Horse Rambles—which are very similar to the famed Reading Company Iron Horse Rambles of the late 1950s and early 1960s—will operate from Reading to Jim Thorpe and return, with three and a half hour layover at Jim Thorpe. As an added bonus for railfans and train enthusiasts alike, a photo run-by will be offered on the return trip from Jim Thorpe to Reading. This is an opportunity for riders to exit the train and take pictures and videos of the train passing by a photo location.”

Rebuilt and upgraded from 1923-vintage Class I-10sa 2-8-0 Consolidation type 2022 in 1945 by The Reading Company at its Reading, Pa. shops, 2102 is one of four surviving T-1 steam locomotives. It had a busy career hauling heavy main line freight trains for the Reading until being retired and set aside by the company for use in its Iron Horse Rambles program at the end of the steam era in the late 1950s. After spending several years with Steam Tours in Ohio, RBMN founder and owner Andy Muller, Jr. purchased the locomotive in 1986, operating it between Temple  and South Hamburg, Pa. In 1991, the locomotive was placed into storage. In 2016, work began on rebuilding the 2102 and restoring it to service on the Reading & Northern. 

Reading No. 2102 on an inaugural run of the Greenbrier Railroad at Cass, W.Va. on May 2, 1971.

Iron Horse Rambles tickets are available on line at www.rbmnrr-passenger.com, or by phone at 610-562-2102. Ticket pricing will be per person, regardless of age. Standard Coach seating is $99. Crown Class Coach seating is $110. Pullman Car Private Rooms are $299 per room for up to two people. First-Class Dome Car seating is $199. First-Class Lounge Car seating is $199. First-Class Lounge Observation Car seating is $210.

Reading & Northern, with its corporate headquarters in Port Clinton, Pa., is a privately held Class II railroad serving more than 70 customers in nine eastern Pennsylvania counties—Berks, Bradford, Carbon, Columbia, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Northumberland, Schuylkill, and Wyoming. It has expanded operations during the past 30-plus years and now handles more than 34,000 carloads of freight and 225,000 excursion train riders on 400 miles of track annually. RBMN operates both freight services and steam and diesel-powered excursion passenger services, owns almost 1,400 freight cars and employs nearly 300. Reading & Northern has repeatedly been honored as one of the premier railroads in the U.S., including being named Regional Railroad of the Year in 2002, 2011, 2015 and 2020 by Railway Age.

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