The Alphabet Route

Reading Company


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 the units.

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 (Wilmington).

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.


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Last modified: April 09 2009.

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