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Steam & Excursion > AFT #1 at Wilmington Shops

Date: 02/23/21 07:36
AFT #1 at Wilmington Shops
Author: Tominde

The Freedom Train made it's first stop at Delaware Park (race track) in 1975, just after the miraculous rebuild of RDG 2101.  But here is a really neat story told by my friend Russel Fox about a problem found during that first stop.  Off to the PC Wilmington Shops home of the GG1 fleet and still Amtrak's main electric shop. Used by permission.  One minor clarification in the report.  Delaware Park is located on the B&O as stated ( in fact B&O ran Race Trains up until the early 70s).  But Delaware Park is also along the former PRR, now Amtrak NEC and there was a siding into the Park for their race trains..   The AFT came from Baltimore up the PC to Delaware Park.

As Russel shares the story on theFacebook page:=AZXDYQnwYJ_5pYCT9rH3l-spuVQcoF-dJiXbAWtSUrGakVSlA8eemLiFVmxEV1E89BpZQJuQnF1_GvWHwTZy06aoZX0z6EnHeiSNFyqc9XfmvIaWZIeVaFyX7D4gA-Rf_0WUNzga9dYGMcheqNs1zpP2&__tn__=-UC%2CP-R]Wilmington, DE Railroad History  The American Freedom Train locomotive (ex-Reading T-1 2101) developed a cracked rod at the beginning of the tour. Wilmington, DE was the first stop at Delaware Park on the B&O. The locomotive was taken over to the Wilmington Shops (Penn Central at that time) for repairs. A replacement rod was retrieved from T-1 2100 which was still at Striegel Supply in Baltimore, MD to get the locomotive back on the road in quick time. I was only 17 when I took these photos. I don't know how I knew about this because cell phones, personal computers and the internet had yet to be invented. LOL

AFT #1 at Wilmington Shops    More coming

Date: 02/23/21 07:40
Re: AFT #1 at Wilmington Shops
Author: Tominde

Check out the crack in the rod!!!   I was unaware of this even though I was around at the time.  Never her this story.

Date: 02/23/21 08:20
Re: AFT #1 at Wilmington Shops
Author: wcamp1472

It's preferable to do the dye-testing process on all the rods,
once they're removed from the engine...

Although, it's a bit of a mystery since 2101 was supposed
to be a 'zero-mileage' engine --- since maybe 1958?

Why wouldn't Reading Shop forces in '58 not have checked 
all the rods, during the heavy repairs conducted at that time
in 'rebuilding' 2101?...

Or, was the cracked rod swapped-out( in Reading Roundhouse)
from an active engine, during the "Rambles" years?

Benson related this to me, decades after the 2101 was caught
in the roundhouse fire, where it had been sheltered.


Date: 02/23/21 08:29
Re: AFT #1 at Wilmington Shops
Author: Tominde

So what rod is on 2100 today?

Date: 02/23/21 10:13
Re: AFT #1 at Wilmington Shops
Author: srfreer

In these photos, AFT #1 has a pronounced blue hue.  Was it really that blue? My recollection (from 1976) was....black.

Date: 02/23/21 11:47
Re: AFT #1 at Wilmington Shops
Author: ClubCar

Tominde Wrote:
> So what rod is on 2100 today?
Do not quote me, but I do believe that the bad rod was repaired and is now on the 2101 rusting away at the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum.  The 2100 has the good rod from the 2101 as was told to me by an ex-volunteer from the museum.  I do believe that Wes Camp and/or Ross Rowland can confirm this.
John in White Marsh, Maryland

Date: 02/23/21 13:39
Re: AFT #1 at Wilmington Shops
Author: Hillcrest

srfreer Wrote:
> In these photos, AFT #1 has a pronounced blue
> hue.  Was it really that blue? My recollection
> (from 1976) was....black.

I believe that was the initial AFT paint job just to get it out on the road, and was repainted a darker Navy-like blue later (Chicago?) after her first "tour" with the train...but I stand to be corrected of course.

Cheers, Dave

Date: 02/23/21 14:21
Re: AFT #1 at Wilmington Shops
Author: towazy

That's is the original paint scheme as applied for day one.  The second was applied in Collinwood Shops (NYC) a few months into the tour. A third scheme was applied in the Birmingham Shops (Southern) while the 4449 was heading the AFT on the western legs.


Date: 02/23/21 14:25
Re: AFT #1 at Wilmington Shops
Author: wcamp1472

Re: John in White Marsh..., above.. 

Wes has no first-hand knowledge of the 2101 side-rod  
saga...But the story seems plausible... 

Functionally, you cannot 'repair' a broken siderod. 
Any such patching is good for 'display only'..... 

I've been fascinated with the RDG T-1 story ever since I first met 2100 
in the summer of 1964, at Riverside Engine Terminal, Baltimore. 
It was my first summer 'out' since getting an Honorable Discharge from 
4-years in USAF..( luckily, I missed the whole 'Nam Thing')* 

The night air was cool and crisp, the B&O hostlers were cleaning the fire 
and invited the 3 of us up-into the 2100's warm cab...   "Sit down," they said, "You're NOT 
gonna break anything in this cab!"  Wide-eyed we sat, entrallled, as they  
rocked the grates, hosed down the cab & floor, and prepared a fresh firebed. 

it was the eve of the "B&O Iron Horse Days"  ----- romping with two round trips  
a day ( Saturday & Sunday) between Baltimore  & Washington Union Station. 

I was hooked by Bill Howes. [ it was years later, before we met, face-to face] --- 
into a career of steam engines and railroading for me, in general ..   
All because of a memorable Baltimore night in the warm cab of 2100. 
Blame it on Bill...  ( He was a mentor , of sorts, to me ....lo, these many years..). 

Earlier that summer, Phil Imbro & I had made a trip to visit several steam  locations
in Penna:  (Reading,  Strasbutg, Orbisonia, Altoona & Reading again). 

Starting out at Reading Roundhouse, with 3 T-1s : 2100, 2101, 2102 + 1251... 
As eager fans, we went through a dozen rolls of slide film, crawling all over each of them .. 
..on one Saturday afternoon.. 

it was much later when we heard about the B&O 'fling'... 
1964 was last year of the Reading Rambles... 

Thanks for the memories... 


* USAF:  15 months of Digital Radar school in Biloxi, MS., 
Top Secret clearance, etc. 
3 years at Great Falls, Montana. (Malmstrom AFB).

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 02/24/21 02:48 by wcamp1472.

Date: 02/24/21 02:52
Re: AFT #1 at Wilmington Shops
Author: ClubCar

Thanks Wes for your comments.  I too rode the B&O "Iron Horse Days" trips from Baltimore over to Washington, D.C. and return with the 2100.  Even though I had always loved trains and barely remembered steam when I was a child, I fell in love with the Reading 2100 and was anxious for more steam trips when these Reading Engines were retired.  As for the 2101. it probably does have the defective side rod on it since it was restored cosmetically for display at the B&O R.R. Museum in Baltimore and not for operations.  The locomotive has been neglected now for many years, it is covered with rust and look terrible as with so many other displays in the front yard of the museum.  As we go forward, I am looking forward to when both the 2100 out in Ohio and the 2102 on the Reading & Northern are again under steam and operating.  There is nothing like live steam on a mainline locomotive.
John in White Marsh, Maryland

Date: 02/24/21 03:06
Re: AFT #1 at Wilmington Shops
Author: wcamp1472

Yes, John, I've been to the Museum, before the roof collapse, and mourned over
the forlorn 2101, rusting & peeling.

Haven't  been back since...

I don't understand their approach to displaying dilapidated artifacts.
It doesn't take much to clean the place up, a little.

There are ways to support and protect teams of volunteers, but you gotta 
put a little effort into the 'enterprise' with rules, training, investing in basic safety equipment
and people ID records & rosters.  A large part of the effort is in maintaiining an on-line volunteers'
news letter and people organizing-tools for work sessions.  
Small things like providing crew lunches are important.

Keep volunteers organized, professional and business-like.
Any repeat violators on the teams should be warned and banned, if need be.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/24/21 03:16 by wcamp1472.

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