PENNSYRR.COM by Jerry Britton

Jerry Britton's PRR Middle Division in HO Scale

RDG XMReading HeraldThe Reading Company was a company that was involved in the railroad industry in southeast Pennsylvania and neighboring states from 1924 until 1976.

Commonly called the Reading Railroad and logotyped as Reading Lines, the Reading Company was a railroad holding company for the majority of its existence and was a (single) railroad during its later years. It was a successor to the Philadelphia and Reading Railway Company founded in 1833. Until the decline in anthracite loadings in the Coal Region after World War II, it was one of the most prosperous corporations in the United States.

Competition with the modern trucking industry that used the Interstate highway system for short distance transportation of goods, also known as short hauls, compounded the company's problems, forcing it into bankruptcy in the 1970s. Its railroad operations were merged into Conrail in 1976, but the corporation lasted into 2000, disposing of valuable real estate holdings.

Freight Equipment

Early Reading freight cars were mostly painted freight car brown, although some, such as flat cars and gondolas, and open hoppers were originally painted black. Covered hoppers were painted grey with black lettering. Each had a "Reading" roadname painted on them in white, along with the road number and other required information.
 MRRNP1016 100a  
Some open hoppers were painted with a logo stating "American's Largest Anthracite Company" along with the "Reading Lines" logo in a red box with white trim.
RDG HT  rdg htf 87994
Hoppers in stone service had an orange end panel. A blue end panel was found in hoppers that were exclusively used by the company. Cars in sand service had a white end panel.
 csm729621 285  
Circa ???: The "Speed Lettering" sceme is introduced.
The "Reading Lines" logo was later added to the side of the box cars.
RDG XM  rdgxmy111020
Later, freight cars were painted dark green, with yellow speed lettering for the "Reading" roadname.
Some cars, such as gondolas, had a yellow stripe also along the top of the car.
Another variation had box cars appear in solid green with a yellow stripe with pointed ends that included a green "Reading" roadname. The "Reading Lines" logo appeared on some of the cars of this era. 
Walthers boxcar reading 118096  rdgxmy111211
The roadname was eventually replaced with "RDG".
 acu5721RDG 100t img127 2014 01 31


Diesel Locomotives

Reading diesels were originally painted pullman green with the roadname on the side in yellow. The road number was on the side of the cab in addition to the number boards.
RDG AS616  tm802
Cab units (F3/F7/FA/FP7) were painted black with a green and yellow stripe with the word "Reading" in the stripe. The "Reading Lines" logo appears on the front of the cab on these units.
49065wl  Reading 284 at Spencer May 29 2014 with nose numberboard in place Larry Gross
About 1962 - The "green and yellow" or "Bee Line" diesel scheme had a green stripe along the bottom of the unit (just above walkways) and the rest of the cab painted yellow. The roofs were painted black. The road number was located on the end of the side opposite the cab and was in large, black numbers. The "Reading Lines" logo appeared on the side of the cab. Only the pilots had black and yellow barricade striping. 
 a64e5bfc04820ff10d6813cfcab0faf3 128fecd9496d08d69babeab05f29d478
The "Bee Line Service" logo was later added on the side of the units.
Reading  cbc97d2ba1c96af38139359ea3d067e5
About 1973 - The "green and black" (aka “Reading”) diesel scheme had the body of the locomotive painted solid green. Switchers had a black "Reading Lines" logo on the side of the unit and the road number was on the side of the cab in large, yellow numbers. Hood units had the location of the "Reading Lines" logo road number reversed (logo was on the side of the cab and number on the side of the unit). Both had yellow and black "barricade" striping on both ends.
RDG GP38  gp7614


Reading 4 wheel cabooses were painted red (including the roofs). Reading 8 wheel cabooses with wood roofs (classes NMa, NMb, NMn) were painted red with black roofs. Those with steel roofs were painted red with brown roofs. The "Reading" roadname and road number were painted on the side in white lettering. The cabooses had yellow trim. There is pictorial evidence of both wood and steel roof cabooses with red roofs. This was actually not unusual in later years. A July 1944 revision to caboose lettering diagrams added a stencil for the division to which the caboose was assigned. These codes were: BE (Bethlehem), EP (East Penn Jct), EA (Erie Avenue), G (Gordon), NB (Newberry Jct), PtR (Port Reading), R (Reading), RU (Rutherford), StC (St. Clair), SH (Shamokin), T (Tamaqua), WM (West Mifflin), and W (Wilmington).
RDG NMHRDG NMK  92936 09
Next, the cabooses were painted solid green with white "Reading" roadname and roadnumber on the side and white trim. At this time, the roadnumber was moved between the windows with the roadname below.
Finally, the cabooses were painted in the green and yellow scheme with yellow trim. Atlas offers their "Extended Vision Caboose" in this Reading livery which, according to The Reading Modeler webmaster Tom Jacobs, is both a correct model and paint scheme. This model of caboose arrived on the Reading circa 1970.