Rail fans gathered in Muhlenberg Township early Saturday morning to watch the Reading & Northern T-1 #2102 steam locomotive depart the Reading Outer Station in its first Iron Horse Ramble excursion of the year.
The day trip begins as passengers board the train just outside of Reading. The train makes a brief stop in Port Clinton and then travels to Jim Thorpe. After a few hours of visiting local shops and restaurants, passengers board the train again to make the return trip.
Built in 1945 by The Reading Company at their Reading, Pennsylvania shops, #2102 is one of four surviving T-1 class locomotives. The locomotive had a busy career hauling heavy coal trains for the Reading until being retired – 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, Andy Muller, Jr. purchased the locomotive in 1986, operating it between Temple and South Hamburg. In 1991, the locomotive was placed into storage.
In 2016, work began on rebuilding the locomotive and bringing it back to service on the Reading & Northern. After 30 years being out of service and an extensive rebuild costing over 2.4 million dollars, the time has come for #2102 to make a triumphant return to the high iron.
Two more “Iron Horse Rambles” excursions have been planned for 2023, August 13th and September 2nd, with several classes of seating being offered. Tickets are available for sale on rbmnrr-passenger.com.