The Alphabet Route
Prototype Painting Information
Reading steam power was painted black with dulux gold lettering. The road number
was on the rear of the tender, the front of the boiler and the side of the cab.
The word "Reading" was on the side of the tender. Passenger locomotives (G classes
and T1) had a box around the word Reading on the tender. The T1 class were "spruced
up" with white wheels, more striping for the Rambles in the 1960's. When The
Crusader was streamlined, the locomotive had silver and blue paint.
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. 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.
The "green and black" 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.
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. The "Bee Line Service" logo was later added on the side of
Reading passenger cars were originally painted pullman green with dulux gold
lettering. "Reading Company" appeared across the top of the car and the car
name or number appeared centered under the windows. A two-tone scheme followed
where a brighter green was painted along the windows with the darker, Pullman
green both above and below it. Lettering was identical in the two schemes.
Express cars used entirely in passenger service were also painted Pullman green
with dulux gold lettering. When the Crusader was streamlined, it was painted
silver and blue.
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.
Each had a "Reading" roadname painted on them in white, along with the road number
and other required information. Open hoppers were painted solid black with first
a block "Reading" roadname, then "Reading" in speed lettering. 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.
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.
Covered hoppers were painted grey with black lettering. The "Reading Lines"
logo was later added to the side of the box cars.
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. The roadname on open hoppers was replaced with "RDG".
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. The roadname was eventually
replaced with "RDG".
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
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.
Reading MOW equipment was usually painted in the same scheme as the freight
equipment. However, there were some exceptions. A grey scheme with black
lettering appeared on some pieces, as well as a yellow scheme with green
lettering. Passenger cars converted to MOW duty were also repainted in the
green and yellow scheme.