Reading 2101

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Reading 2101
Plymouth, MI C&O Jul 1977 10-36.jpg
Reading 2101 in Chessie System livery pulling the "Chessie Steam Special" in 1977.
Type and origin
Power type Steam
Builder Baldwin Locomotive Works
Build date 1923
Rebuilder Reading Company
Rebuild date September 1945
Configuration New: 2-8-0,
Rebuilt: 4-8-4
Gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Driver diameter 70 in (1,778 mm)
Length 110 ft 6 in (33.68 m)
Weight on drivers 278,200 lb (126,200 kilograms; 126.2 metric tons)
Locomotive weight 441,300 lb (200,200 kilograms; 200.2 metric tons)
Locomotive and tender
combined weight
809,000 lb (367,000 kilograms; 367 metric tons)
Fuel type Coal
Fuel capacity 52,000 lb (24,000 kilograms; 24 metric tons)
Water capacity 19,000 US gallons (72,000 l; 16,000 imp gal)
Boiler pressure 240 lbf/in2 (1.65 MPa)
Firegrate area 94.5 sq ft (8.78 m2)
Cylinders Two, outside
Cylinder size 27 in × 32 in (686 mm × 813 mm)
Performance figures
Tractive effort Loco: 68,000 lbf (302.5 kN),
Booster 11,100 lbf (49.4 kN)
Factor of
Operator(s) Reading Company
Class New: I-10a
Rebuilt: T-1
Number in class 20
Nicknames American Freedom Train #1 George S. Cashman
Retired 1956 (revenue) 1979 (excursion)
Restored 1975
Disposition Static display at the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Museum

Reading 2101 is a 4-8-4 steam locomotive originally operated by the Reading Company. In 1975, the locomotive was the first to pull the American Freedom Train, which began touring the continental United States on April 1.

History 1923 to 1974[edit]

Reading 2101 is a T1 class 4-8-4 steam locomotive that was one of 30 4-8-4s that were converted from 30 I-10sa 2-8-0 Consolidation locomotives from 1945 through 1947 by the Reading Railroad when management wanted faster and more powerful locomotives, but had no spare cash to order completely new ones. Starting in 1945 the Reading took 30 of its 2-8-0s and converted them with a little help from Baldwin Locomotive Works into 30 new 4-8-4 locomotives that were numbered 2100-2129 and classified as class "T1". 2101 was originally built by Baldwin in 1923 as I-10a 2-8-0 #2021 and was converted to Reading 2101 in 1945. For its entire service life, 2101 pulled many freight and passenger trains from 1945 to 1956 when nearly all steam on the Reading was sent to scrap, except for five T1's 2100, 2101, 2102, 2123 and 2124. 2101 was cared for in the Reading's Roundhouse from 1959 to 1964 as a standby locomotive for the famous "Iron Horse Rambles". Oct 17, 1964 saw the 50th and last Ramble excursion when rising operational costs and deteriorating track forced the end of these special fan trips.

The 1975–76 American Freedom Train to Present Day[edit]

In 1975, the country was gearing up for America's Bicentennial and plans were underway for The American Freedom Train which would travel across the country stopping in dozens of cities and pulled by steam locomotives. Led by Ross Rowland, a nationwide search was carried out to search for locomotives in restorable condition to pull the train. Southern Pacific 4449 and Reading 2101 were selected for the trip. (A group of dedicated preservationists in Ft. Worth also rebuilt a steam locomotive that would pull the train in Texas, Texas and Pacific 610) 2101 was pulled from the scrapyard and restored to operating condition in only 30 days in the same building where she was constructed from a 2-8-0 nearly 30 years earlier—and painted as "American Freedom Train #1". 2101 pulled the eastern section of the trip before giving it to the 4449 in Chicago for the western section. On the return trip east, 2101 again took charge of the train at Birmingham, AL and pulled the train through much of New England, handing the train back to the 4449 at the Pentagon. Less than two years later, 2101 was repainted into a bright yellow and orange livery and pulled many excursions arranged by Ross Rowland on the Chessie System as the "Chessie Steam Special" before becoming victim to a 1979 roundhouse fire in Kentucky. While most damage was cosmetic, she was damaged to such an extent that she would need a complete overhaul to be in service after the fire. It was then decided that 2101 was to be traded to the B&O Museum for Chesapeake & Ohio 614 where it would haul the 1981 Chessie Safety Express from Baltimore to Hagerstown and return. Since then she has been cosmetically restored as "American Freedom Train #1" and is on static display. Upon restoration after the fire, her tender was swapped for the tender belonging to 2100. When locomotive 2100 was restored, the 2101 tender was also restored and converted to oil. The 2100 loco and 2101 tender were stored together in Richland, Washington until April 2015 when they were shipped to Cleveland Ohio for restoration to operating condition.


External links[edit]

Media related to Reading 2101 at Wikimedia Commons