The last of the Reading Camelbacks. Sitting on a storage track behind the Strasburg Railroad Shops is what's left of the last of the fabled Reading Camelbacks. Reading #1187 is an A4 Class Switcher, built by the Baldwin Locomotive Company in 1903 for what was then the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad Company. She served that line until 1946 and then changed hands at least three times over the next 16 years, finally becoming property of the Strasburg Railroad back in 1962. She was the second steam locomotive to be acquired by the reborn tourist line. Unfortunately, she had too little tractive effort to pull the line's increasingly popular tourist trains and was taken out of service in 1967. She was probably the last Camelback type to operate in the US.
When I made my first visit to the Strasburg Railroad in 1972, she was displayed at the East Strasburg Station and was still theoretically operable. Eventually however, she was loaded to the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, where she was stored outdoors for about the next 30 years, deteriorating considerably. Back in 2004, the Strasburg brought her back onto their property with an eye toward a possible operating restoration. At the time, she looked like this photo. Unfortunately, after stripping her for inspection and doing some initial assessments, it was decided that the economics of restoration just didn't make sense. She's been stored on the deadline ever since. Hopefully, some day, she'll at least get a cosmetic restoration, and perhaps some shelter from the elements, so that future enthusiasts can enjoy this rare piece of railroad history.