RDG/SRC A4b Camelback
The A4 was an 0-4-0 Mother Hubbard type Camelback built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1901-1903 for the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad. A total of 24 were produced, #1187-1200, #1240, and #1246-1250. Built original at an A4a, they weighed in at 98,200 lbs, and carried a 4 wheel sloping-back tender. From 1906-1907, they were upgraded with larger tenders with (2) 4 wheel trucks, and they also had their boiler pressure increased to 200 psi, increasing their weight to 108,000 lbs, resulting in a re-classification to A4b. Saddled on 50″ drivers, and producing 20,900 lbs of tractive effort, the A4b’s were ideal as yard switchers. They lacked the steaming capacity for extended running, so the constantly back and forth, starting and stopping allowed them to build pressure back up after a quick push or pull. All of the A4b’s were equipped with wide Wooten fireboxes, allowing them to burn the Reading’s precious Anthracite coal. From coupler to coupler, the A4b measures 48′ 10″, not much longer than a typical freight car.
All but (1) of the A4b’s were scrapped by the early 1950s.
In 1946, #1187 was sold to the E&G Brooke Iron Company in Birdsboro, PA. She would spend 15 years there shifting cars renumbered as their #4. When talks of retiring #4 arose, word got around and Strasburg Railroad seized the opportunity and purchase a fully functional steam locomotive to add to their growing roster. On November 8th, 1962, #4 embarked under steam for her new home. Not without issue, #4 arrived at Strasburg’s Leaman Place Junction well after dark, passing the PRR’s Broadway Limited. She had made an unscheduled stop in Lancaster to repair a broken spring which had bent the engine’s running board. Upon reaching Strasburg’s rails, she became the only steam locomotive before or since to arrive under it’s own power. After being overhauled over the winter and spring, she made her official debut as Strasburg #4 on July 4th, 1963. She run for just 6 weeks before being reassigned to yard duty once again. She was found to be rather difficult to fire when hauling the heavier trains. Her lack of steam capacity which made her ideal for switching, actually hampered her performance when tasked with running a heavy train for a steady 4.5 miles. She would remain the Strasburg’s yard switcher until May of 1967, when her flue time expired, and she was retired for good.
Since the early 2000’s, #4 was renumber and re-lettered to Reading 1187, and has resided outside in the Strasburg’s yard. She hasn’t fared well sitting outside for 5 decades.
On July 15th, 2020, #1187 was sold at auction to the Age of Steam Roundhouse in Sugarcreek, OH.
RDG/SRC A4b Camelback Megapack includes: (6) Engines, (6) Tenders, (2) President’s Cars, (2) Cabooses and (6) Hoppers
Locomotive variations include:
RDG V1: Rectangular number plate #1187-1199
RDG V2: Round number plate #1240 and #1246-1250
E&G 4: E&G Brooke Plant #4 appearance
SRC 4 V1: #4 1962 SRC appearance
SRC 4 V2: #4’s 1963-1967 SRC appearance
RDG 1187 Rusty: #1187 current rusty appearance
President’s Car variations:
RDG #10 Presidents Car: P&R Lettering, Pullman Green
SRC Paradise Car: SRC Lettering, Two-tone Yellow/Cream
NMn Caboose Variations:
NMn V1: Red with Black undercarriage
NMn V2: Red with Brown undercarriage
HTj Hopper Variations:
Clean, Dirty1, Dirty2, Dirty3, Dirty4 and Dirty5
*Automatically assigns a random variation
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