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Reading & Blue Mountain No. 425

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Reading & Blue Mountain No. 425 is a type of 4-6-2 steam locomotive built in 1928 by the Baldwin Locomotive Works for the Gulf, Mobile, and Northern Railroad. The locomotive has gone through numerous railroads, numbers and paint schemes over the years.

It originally was a freight locomotive used on various shortlines, but was eventually used to haul passenger excursions on the Reading and Blue Mountain Railroad after being purchased and preserved in 1983.

As Quickly after a retirement, it was purchased by Paulson Spence as part of his Louisiana Eastern Railroad The engine was renumbered to #4, and later to #2, as part of a large collection of steam engines hauling freight. It was purchased in 1962 by Malcolm Ottinger and became the main power of the Valley Forge Scenic Railroad of Kimberton, PA, where it was also regained its original number. In the 1970s, it was Leased to Brian Woodcock and moved to the Wilmington & Western Railroad, though it never operated on the line.

In 1983, it was sold to Andrew J. Muller, Jr. to power tourist trains on the newly formed Blue Mountain and Reading Railroad based out of Temple, PA. The engine made many runs on this 26 miles shortline, as well as a few trips on the mainline.  The high-stepping Pacific was later joined by Reading No. 2102 in 1987.

The idea came to Mr. Muller to paint 425 in dark blue by former Reading Company Engineer Charles W. Kachel. The locomotive was a featured guest at the Steamtown National Historic Site Grand Opening in July 1995, and made a number of excursions out of Scranton. The locomotive returned to Port Clinton in late 1996. 425's last excursion was the Tamaqua Fall Fest on October 13, 1996. From 1997 - 2008 is when steam operations took an extended break.

The Blue Mountain & Reading became much larger with the purchase of nearly 300 miles of former Conrail trackage throughout the early 1990s. The railroad was renamed to Reading, Blue Mountain and Northern (often shortened to Reading & Northern). In 1995 both names officially Merged. Having more track gave 425 and 2102 a large amount of new areas to roam, and the engines became based out of the railroad's own headquarters of Port Clinton. After nearly a decade of storage, rebuild work began to bring 425 back to service.  Following two years of restoration, the Pacific made its first operation under steam in December 2007 in a partially repainted appearance. Another test run was done on May 11, 2008 where the engine debuted in a new lighter blue color and an above-centered headlight. It made its return to excursion service in June 2008 on a round trip from Port Clinton to Jim Thorpe, a run it would make often. The RBMN's new star made many trips to Jim Thorpe and other locations over the next three years, with employee runs, tourist trains on the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway, and a featured attraction of the 2010 NRHS Convention Since then, the locomotive has received various different paintschemes, various different bell, whistle, and headlight mounts, as well as undergoing several overhauls.

TriviaEdit

The engine was featured in films such as Lots and Lots of Trains, The Blue Mountain & Reading Story, and Choo Choo Trains: Up Close and very Personal.

In 1996 it hauled the Springtime Special from Tobyhanna to Scranton and return while double headed Canadian Pacific #2317.

In 1987 it hauled the Reading Railroad Steam Spectacular while double headed with Reading Railroad No. 2102.

In 1995 it hauled the Ashland Special.

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