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Diesels of the Reading Company: Volume 1
By Paul K. Withers

Diesels of the Reading Company: Volume 1

  • The Reading Company was so closely associated with Pennsylvania's anthracite coalfields that it is easy to overlook the railroad's early exploration of diesel-electric locomotive technology and economics. By the end of 1939, a year most railroad historians associate with the beginning of mainline dieselization, the carrier already had 15 oil-electrics, as Reading referred to its internal-combustion locomotives, in revenue service.

    As World War II drew to a close, 63 diesel switchers were at work, primarily in the Philadelphia area. It was then that Reading management turned its attention to speeding up freight traffic and the railroad ordered its first mainline freight diesels, EMD's FT cab unit.

    It quickly became apparent that the economies offered by the diesel-electric locomotive could not be ignored and within five years, a program to eliminate all steam was implemented. While cab units were initially the favor design for both freight and passenger service, the roadswitcher design was soon adopted for both mainline and branchline duties.

    Join us as we take a brief look at the final steam locomotives to polish the Reading's rails, and an in-depth look at the diesel-electric units that pushed them aside.

    Hardbound, 352 pages, 8-1/2 x 11-inch, vertical-format, features 500-plus photos, roster data, and locomotive diagrams. Volume 1 covers all diesel-electric locomotive purchases through 1956.
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