Tag Archives: #Reading COmpany

HO Camels in Coal Country

The wee Reading Company has had some new arrivals!

Thanks to my long-time friend and expert model railroader, Rich Reed, my model railroad now has a variety of new equipment.

Rich painted a Reading class I-8 2-8-0 camelback for me. This is an interim paint job while we search for the appropriate Reading Company decals. He also supplied as wedding gifts; a Reading I-10sa 2-8-0 (with conventional cab arrangement); a tiny Reading Company camelback 0-4-0 similar to the class A-4b No. 1187 that used to live at the Strasburg Rail Road, a selection of Reading Co. freight cars and some buildings and other small structures.

I made these photos the other night using my Lumix LX7 to feature some of the additions to my interpretation of coal country.

In the ‘real world,’ Penn Central and Reading Company camelback 2-8-0s missed each other by more than 20 years.
Look through the trees! That’s a camelback 0-4-0 coming down grade.
West Cressona Yard has a few new additions thanks to Rich Reed!
This Penn Central RS-3 and caboose was a gift to me from Ken Buck that predated my wee Reading Company by almost a decade. The models had been his father’s. Look above the caboose and you’ll see the sign that Rich made for me that advertised Bob Buck’s Tucker’s Hobbies of Warren, Massachusetts.

My RDCs now have a wee station to serve at Minersville.
Schuylkillhaven now has a movie theatre!

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HO Reading Co. Sept 2022.

I’ve been working on my scale Reading Company.

Since the last time I featured my scale railway, I’ve refined and expanded the scenery.

I made these photos using my Nikon Z6 working with a f2.8 70-200mm and high ISO settings.

In post processing I lightened shadows and cooled the color balance to more closely emulate daylight.

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Reading 2102 Revisited

In the 1960s my father, Richard Jay Solomon, made numerous photos of Reading Company’s famous Iron Horse Rambles. This included countless photos of Reading T-1 2102.

As I’ve previously recalled on Tracking the Light and in the pages of Trains Magazine, these photos were, in part, my inspiration for the HO-scale Reading Company that I’ve been building in my Finacé’s basement.

Early in the planning for the railroad Kris and I bought an HO model of 2102, and in February last year (2021), I ran one of my father’s famous photos of this engine, a picture that I featued in my book Locomotive, 20 years earlier (see below).

A week ago Friday (March 18, 2022), Kris & I visited Reading & Northern’s Port Clinton, PA offices and obtained permission to visit the 2102 and make photos. This was a privilege and a real thrill. It was the first time I’d seen this engine up close.

Later this year R&N plans to have this magnificent machine operating in excursion service on their railroad.

My father’s image of 2102 on an Iron Horse Ramble in the 1960s.
My HO scale recreation of 2102 seen at speed on our interpretation of the Reading Company.
My recent digital photography of Reading & Northern’s former Reading Company 2102 at Port Clinton, PA.

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Reading 2102 Revisited

In the 1960s my father, Richard Jay Solomon, made numerous photos of Reading Company’s famous Iron Horse Rambles. This included countless photos of Reading T-1 2102.

Reading Company 800

A week ago (March 17, 2022), Kris and I visited the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania at Strasburg, where we saw a variety of finely preserved locomotives and rolling stock.

Among the most interesting and unusual pieces on display was Reading Company 800, a perfect example of an overhead electric multiple unit car that once operated on suburban lines in the Philadelphia area.

Of the thousands of locomotives and railcars preserved across the United States, there are relatively few electric multiple units in their as-built condition, which is what makes this display so unusual.

I got a kick out of seeing this car again because it is a Reading Company car and thus relates to our model railroad enterprise in Kris’s basement (although we don’t delve into electrified territory on the wee pike.)

Photos exposed using my Nikon Z6 digital camera.

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CSX Q300 on the Reading

Ten years ago today (February 28, 2012), I made this photo of CSX Q300 on the old Reading Company at West Trenton, New Jersey.

My old Lumix LX3 was a little tricky to use when making action photos of trains. If the camera was in full ‘auto’ mode and I pressed on the shutter release the camera would hesitate for a moment.

The trick was to use the manual setting and then ‘queue-up’ the camera by presssing the shutter release halfway in preparation for making a photo. In this way the camera shutter would release almost instantaneously when pressed the remainder of the way, thus allowing for a composition with full-frame view of a moving train, such as this one.

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Reading Vista from the Vista Cruiser.

In August 1981, my family and I were on a loosely mapped vacation in Pennsylvania.

On the second day of our trip, we were driving from Hazelton to Strasburg to visit the famous Strasburg Rail Road.

Fast forward 41 years: yesterday, if you’d asked me if I’d ever photographed Conrail running freight on the old Reading Company, I’d have been hard pressed to come up with an answer.

And, yet here is a Conrail caboose crossing PA 501 near Prescott, PA exposed on the move from the rear window of our 1969 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser!

Leica 3A with 50mm Summitar lens-Kodak 5063 (Tri-X) processed in Microdol-X developer.

I scanned the negative a little while ago. Unsure as to the location, I enlarged the photo. Thinking back, I recalled a train crossing over us enroute, but as a teenager wasn’t good with my Pennsylvania geography. Looking a the photo, I noticed the Route 501 sign, which gave me the needed clue.

A quick Google search placed this location near Prescott (where 501 ducks under the former Reading Company Crossline route). Looking a Google Earth, I’ve nearly confirmed the location.

Ironically, the next few frames on the roll show static cabooses at Strasburg’s The Red Caboose caboose-themed motel. Ironic, because in 1981, cabooses (of all colors) were still common on most America freight trains.

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Merry Christmas from Tracking the Light!

It’s been several months since I last featured photos showing the progress to the HO Scale Reading Company Kris and I have been building in her basement.

I’ve been working on scenery, using lots of plaster and foam board. To demonstrate my progress I made these views using my Lumix LX7.

I still have a lot of work to do on the scenery, and it is by no means complete, but it sure beats the open timber frame appearance that the model railway exhibited in my earlier photos.

Lumix LX7 photo.

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Anthracite Country Construction in HO.

Working from period photos, including color slides that my father exposed in the 1950s-1960s, and my own images from recent years, I’ve planned an HO model railroad that is set in Pennsylvania’s anthracite country.

I’ve been scouring old topographical maps, perusing more old photos, reviewing books, and using Google Earth to adapt a prototype from the former Reading Company main line and Mine Hill Branches. I’m incorporating \elements of Pennsylvania Railroad’s Schuylkill Branch, the disused Schuylkill Canal, local highways and towns added in for color and historical context. I’m planning a coal mine (or two), a yard, engine house, and several bridges among other scale infrastructure, and if space and time permits maybe hints of the old Lehigh Valley and trolley lines that also once populated the area.

Barrys Gold Blend is fuel for my railroad building.
Using a level, ruler, square, clamps, wood, glue and screws, I’ve been shaping the foundations for a world yet unseen.

From these visions, my girlfriend Kris Sabbatino and I are building this model in her basement in New Hampshire. With a view to a four-dimensional model, I’m intent on a degree of realism and tuned to learn as much about the real railroad as I can in the process of modeling it. And yet, I am hoping the final execution will retain the mystique  that attracted us to this railroad in the first place. I’d like it to have a dream-like quality; real yet surreal, an alternate vision of yesteryear. After all the model is but a wee fantasy world.

I’m still erecting the bench-work that is the foundation for the railroad. It will be a while before I can lay track and wire it up, and then we can begin dressing the layout with scenery and tiny structures.

More to follow in the coming months, including more photos of the prototype!

Thanks to Kris who made some of the photos using her new FujiFilm XT4. Special thanks to Doug Scott who generously donated HO scale buildings and rolling stock that go the project rolling forward!

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Minersville Station

A minor station on the former Reading Company will be a significant focus of the model railroad I’m building with Kris Sabbatino.

On a visit with Pat Yough in December 2015, I exposed this unusual angle of the oddly angled Minersville Station using my FujiFilm XT1 with 12mm Zeiss Touit.

This is one of the few photos I found in my collection that shows the rarely pictured east face of the building, which sits at the junction of two lines.

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