Reader Railroad #11 while operating on a Kentucky Central Railway excursion.

Reader Railroad 2-6-2 #11 is a Prairie type steam locomotive.


The 2-6-2 #11 was built in 1925 by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for the Caddo & Choctaw Railroad.  In 1943, it was sold to the Reader Railroad in Arkansas, and was eventually rebuilt while serving this railroad. While also serving the railroad, she lost her original tender when a truck collided into it. A larger tender replaced the destroyed one.

Later yearsEdit

When the Reader Railroad's operations started going downhill in the late 1960's, they were reformed as a tourist railroad. The 2-6-2 #11 was used as one of the prime locomotives for these excursions. In 1974, the railroad sold the locomotive to Frank Pollock, and in 1985, the locomotive went to the Hartwell Railroad in Georgia. The Hartwell Railroad used #11 for their own scenic steam excursions, and during this time, the 2-6-2 was repainted into a Southern Railway inspired green and gold leaf paint scheme. 

Ultimately, a sudden death of one of the locomotive's owners at that time led to financial difficulties, and the Hartwell's steam-powered trips were cancelled. After these events, the 2-6-2 #11 was sold to the Kentucky Central Chapter NRHS in the late 1980's. This group intended to use the locomotive on steam powered trips through Kentucy's scenic Bluegrass region on the TTI (TransKentucky Transportation). While in the process of being loaded onto a flatbed trailer to Kentucky, it was decided to disconnect the 2-6-2 from it's tender. The loading work was done on a slight grade, and when the locomotive was disconnected it's tender rolled down the grade, and overturned a few miles down the tracks. The tender recieved a large dent on the back of the fireman's side, but this was not repaired and the locomotive was loaded onto it's trailer and went to Kentucky. - This sodenote published by Greg Pridgeon, Inman, SC.

A side note: The engine was given an extensive overhaul and put back into operation after Frank's death, and operated in 1987-88 On Hartwell before being sold to Kentucky Central NRHS. It operated under rhe umbrella of Hart County Senic Railway during this time. I can verify this as I was on the crew that did the overhaul, and fireman on the engine during this time. It was overhauled by an all volunteer crew led by Robert Franzen, who had worked under Pollock. The engine was repainted again during this overhaul, with a black jacket and white trim, and Frank Pollocks name under engineers window, in memoradium. I was greatly honered to be giving the enginners seat on its final trip on Hartwell under steam, from Hartwell to Airline Ga., Where it was loaded for its trip to Kentucky. I was also present during the accident evolving the tender during its move to Kentucky. I was there as an employee of Hartwell Railway to provide diesel service to the crew moving the engine if needed. They refused the service to pull the tender back from the locomotive, and belived they could chock the tender after letting it roll back a few feet... obviously they miscalculated the mass of the tender. Another factoid, The locomotive was sent back to Airline on its first attempt to go to Kentucky, by GA. D.O.T. The trailer it was loaded on was overweight per axle, despite having permits for total weight. It was reloaded on a larger trailer and sent on its way.

After arriving to Kentucky in 1989, 2-6-2 #11 was put to work as the Kentucky Central Chapter intended to use her for; hauling steam excursions. These trips that the #11 ran originated from Paris, Kentucky, and ran to Carlisle, Kentucky, and sometimes Maysville, Kentucky. In 1993, these trips - and #11's career - ended, as the TTI Railroad was taken over by CSX Transportation. CSX started requiring $200m coverage for all passenger operations on its system and this requirement put the Kentucky Central Railway operation, the New Georgia Railroad and 18 other passenger operations on the CSX system out of business. The Kentucky Central #11 had her last run in October 1993 which was a round trip between Paris and Maysville, KY. Bill Johnson, engineer and Daryl Granis, fireman, dropped the final fire in #11 following that trip. The #11 was stored on a siding, and slowly rusted away until 2009, when it was donated to the City of Nicholasville in Kentucky, and was soon relocated to the Riney-B Park in Nicholasville, Kentucky. 


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