Originally constructed for the Reading Company in 1928 as a small freight engine numbered 2020, the locomotive underwent numerous restoration and operation attempts throughout its storied history.
While in service for the Reading, it was reconfigured from a smaller freight engine into a larger, more powerful Northern-type engine in an innovative response to war time restrictions on new locomotive construction. The Reading Company classified these locomotives as T-1s and renumbered them 2100 through 2129.
As such, 2100 became the first T-1 in service.
During a brief revival, Reading 2100 and other T-1s were enlisted in the Iron Horse Rambles. The Rambles were the Reading Company’s response to the immense public interest in experiencing steam locomotives, even though they had been retired only a few short years.
Used to power the Reading Company’s Reading Rambles from 1959-1964, the 2100 and other T-1s introduced a new generation to the significance of steam railroading in the United States until they were finally retired.
Rescued from a scrap yard in 1975, 2100 changed ownership on numerous occasions and ran infrequently in Maryland, Ohio, and later in Canada. After a fuel conversion, 2100 was transported to Tacoma, Washington where it operated in limited excursion service for a short line railroad until 2008.
Three other Reading Company T-1s exist on static display in Pennsylvania and Maryland.
2100 will remain privately owned until 2021, when the locomotive’s next federal inspection is scheduled.
A summary of the 2100’s life as provided by steamlocomotive.com:
- Originally built by Baldwin in 1923 as an I-10a 2-8-0 No. 2020
- Converted to T-1 Class in September, 1945 by the Reading Railroad
- Used on the Reading Rambles from 1959 through 1964
- Sold for scrap to Striegel Supply & Equipment in Baltimore, MD in 1965
- Purchased by Ross E. Rowland Jr in 1975 and used for parts for 2101 rebuild.
- Stored in Hagerstown, Maryland from 1975 – 1987.
- Sold to the “2100 Corporation” in 1987.
- Overhauled in 1988 at Hagerstown, MD at a cost of over $1,000,000) with plans to run it. However, no railroad was found that would agree to accommodate a locomotive that large.
- Broken in on the Winchester & Western after rebuilding and then stored until it was towed to the Wheeling and Lake Erie Rook Yard in Pittsburgh. Rods were installed and it ran to the W&LE shops in Brewster, OH.
- Stored at the W&LE shops in Brewster, OH until 198?
- Donated 2100 to the Portage Ohio Regional Transportation Authority which had plans to operate it on its lines. These plans did not work out and PORTA placed 2100 up for sale.
- Stored by PORTA at the Ohio Central Railroad shop in Coshocton until 1998
- Sold at auction on 1/16/98 to RailLink Ltd, of Edmonton, Alberta.
- On the last week of May, 1998, 2100 was steamed on test runs conducted at the Ohio Central Railroad.
- 2100 converted to oil, with no suitable location to run.
- June, 2005 2100 was sold to the Golden Pacific Railroad in Tacoma, WA.
- Following two unsuccessful seasons of operation, No. 2100 is moved to a storage site in Richland, Washington in 2008.
- American Steam Railroad signs lease for 2100 in 2014.
- 2100 is transported to rehabilitation site in Cleveland, Ohio in 2015.