May 2021 Update

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With your help, we’re delighted to say that last month we passed a significant milestone with the restoration of Reading 2100. Thanks to your donations, over 550 staybolts were welded into the firebox of the locomotive. In this video update, Jason Johnson of Gemini Industrial Machine explains the welding process.

Other work done by volunteers in the past 30 days includes:

  • The ultrasound survey of the boiler is near completion. Areas that are very tight to get into, such as by the frame and around spring rigging, will be done when the locomotive is raised up to help replace staybolt sleeves around the combustion chamber.
  • In preparation for the welding in of the staybolts, volunteers did a final cleaning of the firebox’s interior side sheets along with a final polish of the staybolts themselves. Tools were created that aided the welding process. Caps with bolts in them helped press the staybolts against the outer firebox sleeves, along with shims to hold and align the staybolts in place on the inside sheet, were created to help aid the welders.
  • The process to remove staybolt sleeves that our boiler contractor marked has also begun around the combustion chamber of the firebox.

April 2021 Update

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The month of March proved to be a productive one for American Steam Railroad volunteers. April is planned to be a busier one yet, with the welders from Gemini Industries scheduled to install the staybolts into the firebox. Much of the highlighted work in the past month includes:

  • Continued work on the ultrasound survey of the locomotive. ASR crews have now dismantled many pipes, fittings, and appliances on the back head of the boiler in the cab, which will help better facilitate readings. The piping and valves from the sand dome were also removed to help with this project.
  • The bell was reinstalled on top of the smokebox after it had been cleaned and polished. It has been covered to help protect its shine and be seen by the public during open houses at the Midwest Railway Preservation Society West 3rd Street roundhouse.
  • Measurements were taken from the fire door air cylinder from Mad River & NKP Museum’s Nickel Plate 757 Berkshire locomotive.  The dimensions taken will help create a new fire door set up, and we appreciate Mad River & NKP assistance in this project.
  • Staybolts were prepped and cleaned in anticipation of the welders who will install them very soon into Reading 2100’s firebox. 

Fire Up 2100! Year in Review: 2020

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   This year has been full of challenges and is one like no other we’ve experienced in a long time. For American Steam Railroad, it was one where you, the supporters, have shown through these difficult times. In the past 12 months, volunteers have given over 1,800 hours to help with the restoration of Reading Company 4-8-4 2100, along with donors contributing in record numbers. With each passing work session, the locomotive is moving closer to steaming up. Here is a list of the highlighted work done this past year:

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Private Car Sale to Help with Reading 2100’s Firebox

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Former Frisco Business car “Arkansas” was donated to ASR several years ago. The sale of the car will help with the restoration efforts on Reading 2100.

CLEVELAND – A private jet of the gilded age has now found a new home, along with helping the restoration of a steam locomotive at the same time.
    American Steam Railroad has sold former Frisco business car 1100 to Allied Rail Corporation of Ludlow, Kentucky. The heavyweight car, formerly named Arkansas, was built at the turn of the 20th century and served Frisco Railroad officials and guests until the late 1950s. The car’s sale will help aid in the fundraising of the rebuilding of Reading 4-8-4 2100’s firebox.
   “The acquisition of Business Car 1100 is a culmination of opportunities benefiting both Allied Rail Corp and American Steam Railroad business models,” said Andrew Wartman, president of Allied Rail Corp. “Moreover, any opportunity in preserving a piece as unique as business car 1100 or the Reading 2100, is an opportunity in preserving our country’s rich railroad history.”
   American Steam Railroad treasurer Forrest Nace said that he is thankful for the donation of the car several years ago to the organization, and said that restoring passenger equipment is not part of the current business plan for American Steam.
    “Since the opportunity to have another person or organization invest in the car and make it operational, we ensured that it sold to a proper owner so the public can enjoy it once again,” Nace added.
   Future plans are currently being made for 1100, with rehabilitation efforts well underway in preparing the car for its next career in service.
Funds are still being accepted for the firebox work on Reading 2100. Donations can be made by clicking here.

A Look Back When 2100 Rolled Out of the Shop

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Below are text and photos from the October 1945 edition of the Reading Company’s magazine. It details the construction of Reading 2100, and many of the technical refinements from the late period of steam locomotive design. We are grateful to the Reading Railroad Heritage Museum for furnishing this issue to use for 2100’s 75th birthday this month.

Reading Constructing Twenty 4-8-4, Class T-1, Locomotives for Fast Freight Service

By E.P. Gangewere

Superintendent Motive Power and Rolling Equipment                       

   Twenty 4-8-4, Class T-1, locomotives are under construction in the Reading Company Locomotive Shop at Reading, Pennsylvania.
   The locomotives were designed by the Reading Motive Power Department in collaboration with the Engineering Staff of the Baldwin Locomotive Works.
   The new locomotives are intended for freight service, being equipped with 70” diameter driving wheels, and capable of operating at a speed of 65 miles per hour.
   An interesting feature in these engines is the roller bearing application to the engine truck, trailer, and tender. Nineteen will have oil lubricated friction driving journals and one engine to be equipped throughout with roller bearings on the axles of all driving wheels. Hennessy oil lubricators, type DR-s, applied to driving wheel axles with friction bearings, on 19 locomotives and Timken roller bearings on the twentieth locomotive.
   Other features include light weight piston and lip-type packing, multiple bearing crosshead with single guide, steam operated cylinder cocks and mechanical lubrication throughout. To minimize rail and equipment shock in high speed operation, particular attention was paid to the cross-counter balancing of the main wheels and the counter balancing of the remaining driving wheels.
   A Worthington open-type feedwater heater is applied to each locomotive consisting of a cold-water pump, a hot water pump and the heater. The cold-water pump takes cold water from the tender and delivers it to the heater located in the front of the locomotive. Here the water is heated by direct contact with exhaust steam from the locomotive cylinders. The heated water then passes down to the hot water pump, which delivers it to the boiler. This equipment definitely increases boiler horsepower and permits an added saving in fuel and water.
   To facilitate longer runs, tenders are equipped with six-wheel trucks, the tender coal capacity being 26 tons and has a water capacity of 19,000 gallons and is equipped with an indicator which shows water levels at all times.
   The locomotives are built of General Steel Castings, one-piece cast-steel locomotive bed of which the cylinders are an integral part.
   The trailing trucks are Commonwealth four-wheel Delta type. The engine truck is of the rocker type which dispenses with pin supported swing links.
   The locomotive boiler is equipped with three syphons in the firebox and one in combustion chamber which materially increases the heating surface and thereby increasing the steaming capacity of the boiler. Type “A” superheater is also installed. A multiple valve throttle is located in the front end of the boiler which delivers the superheated steam directly into the cylinder.
   In order to utilize the maximum hauling capacity of the locomotive over ascending grades at scheduled speed, a Franklin booster is applied to the trailing truck of the locomotive which increases the pulling power of the locomotive so that heavy tonnage trains can be readily handled over that portion of the railroad where heavy grades are encountered, thus eliminating the necessity of having an extra locomotive  assist in moving the train over these grades.
   This booster consists of a small two-cylinder steam engine which is connected by gears to the rear trailer axle and can be cut in or out of service by the engineers while the locomotive is in motion. The booster is intended for use over the heavy grades where additional power is needed in order to keep the train moving at a reasonable speed and prevent stalling of the train.
   The fuel is fed directly from the tender into the firebox by means of a type “HT” screw conveyer stoker furnished by the Standard Stoker Company.
    The locomotives are equipped with two 8 ½” cross-compound air compressors. The brakes are the Westinghouse No. 8 ET.
   The principal characteristics of these locomotives which will be numbered 2100 to 2119, inclusive, is as follows:

Valve gear – Walschaert
Superheater – Schmidt
Journals – Driving, Main – 12 ½” x 14”
Journals – Driving, all other – 11 ½” x 14”
Journals – Engine Truck – 7 ½” Roller
Journals – Trailer Truck – 7 ½” Roller
Journals – Tender Truck – 6 ½” Roller
Size of Cylinders – 27” x 32”
Size of Piston Valves – 13”

Tractive Effort – 68,000 lbs.
Booster Starting Effort – 11,100 lbs.
Total – 79,100 lbs.

Factor of Adhesion – 3.99
Steam Pressure – 240 lbs.
Tubes – Number – 291 50
Tubes – Outside Dia. – 2” 5 3/8”
Tubes – Length Between Sheets – 19’ 10 ¾”
Firebox – Inside Length – 10’ 6 3/8”
Firebox – Inside Width – 9’ 9 1/4”

Grate Area – 94.5 sq. ft.
Heating Surface Tubes 2” – 3,054 sq. ft.
Heating Surface Arch – 17 sq. ft.
Heating Surface Firebox – 327 sq. ft.
Heating Surface Syphons (4) – 121 sq. ft.
Heating Surface Superheater – 1,214 sq. ft.
Heating Surface Total – 4,920 sq. ft.

Size of Engine Truck – 36”
Drivers – 70”
Trailer Truck – 44”

Tender Capacity
26 Tons of Coal
19,000 Gallons of Water
Wheel Base – 37’ 8 ½”

Total Wheel Base
Engine and Tender – 96’ 6 ½”
Length Overall –
   Engine and Tender – 110’ 1 ½”

   Additional specialties applied as follows: Kind Sanders No. 35, automatic fire doors, ten sets of S.K.F. roller bearings and ten sets of Timken roller bearings applied to the tenders.


   Edna Model “A,” 30 point, 10 pumping units (8 feed) mechanical on right side to lubricate with oil, cylinders, valves, stoker, booster, flange oilers and crosshead guides.
    King Model 31, 24 pint, 8 pumping units, mechanical lubricators on the left side to lubricate with oil, engine truck center plate and pedestals, driving wheel pedestals and trailer truck radius bar set.
   Each Westinghouse air pump is equipped with a King Model No. 36 mechanical lubricator and the Worthington feed water heater hot pump is equipped with a Nathan type L.B.W. mechanical lubricator.

September 2020 Restoration Update

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Here is the mid-month update on what’s been accomplished by American Steam Railroad volunteers.

  • The forging and machining of the 560 staybolts has been completed by our great volunteers, who have given many hours and days to this project. The next process is to sand blast all of them to remove mill scale so they can be welded into the firebox. 
  • The water shut off valves from the tender to the locomotive have been inspected. The valve on the engineer’s side had a bent rod, which volunteers are fixing, along with replacing the filter screens that help keep sediment from flowing out of the tender and into the boiler. 
  • An inspection was made of the interior water space of the tender. We found that the baffles and walls to be in good shape. The floor has an accumulation of sediment that will need to be cleaned during a future work session. 
  • Currently $1,654 has been raised for the welding in of the staybolts. Only $2,873 is needed before we can have boiler contractors strike an arc and start the process. Click here to sponsor one today and you’ll get a shutout in our next monthly video update. 
  • Various items were taken out of long term storage including the tender doors, grate shaker bars and mounts, lubricator lines for the stoker, a dead weight gauge tester, along with other various items. 
  • A light oil was applied to the grease cellar parts to help prevent rust, along with grease reapplied to the main driving axles. 
  • The feed water pipe from the tender was brazed to fix freeze damage.