Former Reading T-1 #2102 at Port Clinton. The big Northern seen here on the Port Clinton Turntable is none other than former Reading Company T-1 #2102. Originally built in 1923 by the Baldwin Locomotive Works as a big 2-8-0, this engine, and some 29 others were completely rebuilt by the Reading Company Shops in the mid-1940s as 4-8-4 Northerns. Weighing in at about 200 tons, and boasting 68,000 lbs ot tractive effort, the redesigned T-1s were used almost exclusively as heavy freight hogs on mixed freights and coal trains. For 10 years, they operated all over the Reading System and also on the Western Maryland. Retired in 1957, a small number of these engines survived to be used in excursion service in the late 1950s and early 60s. Four T-1s survive today at museums and tourist railroads. This particular one, the 2102, is owned by the Reading, Blue Mountain and Northern Railroad Company and was used in the late 1980s and early 90s in excursion service there. Out of service now for about a quarter century, the 2102 has been stored in the Port Clinton Engine House, awaiting her next assignment. Over the past few years, she has been pulled out periodically for special events, including this appearance in 2010, when the National Railway Historical Society Convention was in Pennsylvania.
In January of 2016, Reading & Northern owner Andrew Muller gave his shop crews an assignment to strip the locomotive down and evaluate her for a possible operating restoration. This process has begun, but it will be some time before the boiler can be stripped, cleaned and surveyed with ultrasound. Only then will the true condition of the engine be known, and only then can a full scope of work be developed. Perhaps some day in the next few years, this great beast will once again polish the rails in the Keystone State.