The Reading Railroad

February 24, 2018 |  by

The following titles are found in our selection of books covering The Reading Railroad.  As always, the purchase price includes all applicable taxes and free shipping anywhere in the Continental U.S. in our custom made shipping boxes.

Reading Diesels Volume 1: The First Generation by Dale W. Woodland 

          Reading Diesels Volume I by Dale W. Woodland.  Hardbound, copyright 1991.

“In Volume I the reader will become acquainted with the fascinating variety of diesel locomotives on the Reading between 1926 and 1961. The Reading had a variety unmatched by any other American railroad with units from AGEIR, Alco, EMD, Baldwin, and Fairbanks Morse. The reasons for the railroad’s switch from steam to diesel power will become obvious as the data accumulated by the Reading will show. This volume also chronicles the development of the diesel from yard switcher to road freight and road passenger service. A description of the tests performed on the Reading by demonstrator locomotives from each of the builders is also included. This book contains 215 color photographs, some of which were taken in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. Train operation and roster information will aid those interested in knowing the story of the Reading in the post-World War II era. Photographs and data about dispositions of units to other railroads are included. Finally, data containing locomotive assignments, dates of service, and retirements will aid model railroaders who are serious about duplicating the operations of the Reading.”

– From the dustjacket of Reading Diesels Volume I by Dale W. Woodland


OUR PRICE: $14.99 (includes free shipping in the Continental U.S. and all applicable sales tax).  Please note that this volume, though new old stock, may have some issues with condition.  We have found that the corners of the just jackets stick together and cause some minor losses when removing the books from their original packing cartons from the printer.  Additionally, some volumes contain pages that are stuck together and will need to be pulled apart, sometimes causing losses to pages.  Please consider this book a “reading copy” because of these issues.

 Reading Diesels Volume 2: The Second Generation by Dale W. Woodland

          Reading Diesels Volume II by Dale W. Woodland.  Hardbound, copyright 1995.

“This second volume of Reading Diesels describes the locomotives the Reading Railroad placed in service between 1962 and 1974. In addition, locomotives rebuilt by the Reading and the changes in locomotive classification and numbering introduced during these years are included. While the variety of locomotives in the second generation was less than that of the first, the new bright paint schemes were far more colorful. Studies are included that explain the rationale behind the switch to second generation locomotives. The Reading was the first railroad to purchase the EMD GP30, the first of the second generation diesel locomotives. In a less successful venture the reading also purchased the American Locomotive Company’s first C430 models and ceremoniously gave names to these two companies. A description of the Reading’s attempt to meet the challenges of declining passenger train ridership by acquiring a fleet of Budd Rail Diesel Cars in the 1960’s is examined. While many of the railroad’s locomotives shared features in common with locomotives from other railroads across the United States it had perhaps more than its share of locomotives with custom features. The unique drip strips, a feature which sets apart all Reading diesel locomotives, were applied to all second generation locomotives, continuing a practice that began when the Reading dieselized. An attempt has been made to update the existence and location of former Reading second generation diesels into the 1990’s. The book contains freight train symbols, schedules and locomotive tonnage ratings, as well as a look a what each locomotive was doing, and where it could be found, on June 30, 1969. This information should be especially useful for those modeling the Reading in this era. An interesting study made by the railroad of its six axle locomotives is included. The appendix of the book features and all-time diesel locomotive profile of Reading diesel locomotives from 1926 to 1976, a complete roster and a list of preserved Reading diesel locomotives.”

– From the dusjacket of Reading Diesels Volume II by Dale W. Woodland.


OUR PRICE: $30.00 (includes free shipping in the Continental U.S. and all applicable sales tax).

 The Reading Railroad: History of a Coal Age Empire Volume 1: The Nineteenth Century by James L. Holton 

          The Reading Railroad: History of a Coal Age Empire Volume I: The Nineteenth Century by James Holton.  Hardbound, copyright 1989. Massive, well-researched 356 page volume filled with all things Reading.

“This book is about more than just one pioneer regional railroad. In telling the story of the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad – which found itself transformed from a modest local enterprise into the dominant carrier of anthracite just as that mineral became the essential fuel for the Industrial Revolution – the Reading history reflects the trials and triumphs that marked the young country’s phenomenal industrial growth in the middle years of the last century.  The complex study of this relatively small railroad company that became one of the nation’s first conglomerates and the wealthiest corporation in the world will require two volumes. The books are divided, quite naturally, by the turn of this century.

This first volume covers the painful beginning of the enterprise as the impoverished company wins dominance of the powerful Schuylkill Canal, through the years of spectacular expansion and the turbulent period of the 1870s when the company’s management was embroiled in successive bitter and sometimes bloody battles with the militant Molly Maguire movement, newborn labor unions, the great Pennsylvania Railroad and other anthracite railroads, English investors and stubborn coal mine operators. In the final decades of the century, the Reading suffered three disastrous failures, but escaped absorption by the great trunk lines largely because of the protection of the greatest financier of the time, J. Pierpont Morgan.

There were other titans of that era who also were deeply involved in the Reading’s affairs, some as allies, others as would-be suitors, and some as enemies: Andrew Carnegie, William K. Vanderbilt, Jay Gould, George B. Roberts, John D. Rockefeller, John Wannamaker and Chauncy Depew. The Reading also produced its own cast of colorful corporate characters, especially Frank B. Gowen and A.A. McLeod, presidents who were responsible for some of the company’s most spectacular excesses, as well as notable achievements.

The author – a product of a multi-generational Reading Railroad family – has drawn on a lifetime’s abiding interest in the “comp’ny”, as well as a half a century of experience as a nationally respected journalist to complete the first comprehensive history of the company. It is written in a vivid prose style that captures the drama and dynamics of the days when coal was king, and the Reading was its master.

Throughout the book, the author pays particular attention to the men of the Reading- the brass hats as well as the hoggers and tallow pots – to give the story of the Reading a human dimension seldom found in railroad books. At the same time, the Reading’s superb motive power fleet, largely the product of its own shops in Reading, receives generous attention, befitting the acclaim its innovative ideas won in the railroad world.

The colorful text is supplemented with 272 illustrations, plus 12 color plates, and 40 maps. Three of the color plates are paintings by the author.”

~From the dusjacket of The Reading Railroad: History of a Coal Age Empire Volume I: The Nineteenth Century by James Holton.

OUR PRICE: $32.50 (includes free shipping in the Continental U.S. and all applicable sales tax).


The Reading Railroad: History of a Coal Age Empire Volume II: The Twentieth Century by James L. Holton


PLEASE NOTE:  The Reading Railroad: History of a Coal Age Empire Volume II: The Twentieth Century is no longer available in the standard hardbound with dustjacket.   The Reading Railroad: History of a Coal Age Empire Volume II: The Twentieth Century by James Holton is still available in a very limited edition format that incorporates gilded lettering on a leather bound cover and binding, housed in a matching slipcase. Garrigues House published a total of 50 of these volumes, each signed and numbered by the author.   We are down to approximately 3 copies each of this extremely limited edition of The Reading Railroad: History of a Coal Age Empire Volume II: The Nineteenth Century and The Reading Railroad: History of a Coal Age Empire Volume II: The Twentieth Century.  Please call us if you would like to purchase either Volume I or Volume II in this slipcover edition.

          “The Reading, one of the pioneer rail carriers in the United States, won national distinction for its innovative development of steam power – including some of the most powerful freight engines and fastest passenger locomotives on American rails – before the end of the nineteenth century. It also suffered through some of the most turbulent and violent episodes of that era as it became the major fuel pipeline for the industrial revolution. Those first 75 years of the company’s existence have been colorfully reported in Volume 1 of the Reading Railroad history, along with the adventures and personal stories of the fascinating cast of characters who controlled or were attracted to the company because of its monopoly over anthracite coal.

          In Volume 2, the author picks up the story of the Reading as it entered the twentieth century under the attack from the newly born American labor movement as well as a hostile Federal government which led to a historic confrontation between the president of the company and the President of the United States. A running battle with its arch-rival, the Pennsylvania Railroad, and sweeping technological and social changes in the country, prompted a new Reading management, under the prodding of J. Pierpont Morgan, to fundamentally restructure its operations. After a long court battle, the government forced the dissolution of the company’s Coal & Iron subsidiary.

          No longer a national leader in creating new motive power technology, the Reading won the attention of the industry by its conservative equipment policies, especially the rebuilding of older locomotives into remarkably efficient modern power. Financially, the Reading remained solvent through the depression of the 1930s, even electrifying most of its extensive Philadelphia commuter lines. As in the First War, the Reading played a vital strategic role in supporting the World War II effort.

          But, even as tonnage and passenger miles rose from that crisis, the handwriting was on the wall and, like the rest of the railroad industry in the northeast, the post-war Reading was facing a battle for its very survival. The political machinations, misjudgments and ironies which attended that grueling struggle and the eventual collapse and restructuring of railroading throughout the region are related, in many aspects, for the first time.

          As in Volume 1, the author – the product of four generations of Reading railroaders – dwells on the human side of the Reading story, illuminating the ups and downs of the historic railroad through the experiences of the men who ran it, from the company board room as well as in the engine cabs and interlocking towers.

         In addition to seven chronological chapters, there are separate chapters dealing with the Coal & Iron Co., the Reading Shops, the New Jersey Central RR and the major facilities on the Reading. The 452 pages of text are supplemented with 483 photos, 26 in color, plus 31 maps, charts, and other graphics.”

~ From the dust jacket of The Reading Railroad: History of a Coal Age Empire Volume II: The Twentieth Century by James Holton.

OUR PRICE: $125.00 (includes free shipping in the Continental U.S. and all applicable sales tax).  Sorry – we are completely sold out of the print run and do not intend to reprint this volume.  Our thanks to our customers, who made this volume so successful.

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