Reading Railroad T-1 #2124 . Exiting the Perkasie Tunnel . South Portal . Watercolor . 18" x 24"
... the Sellersville Tunnel under Landis Ridge, as it was called, since the borough of Perkasie did not yet exist when the rail passage was bored through... was built by the North Pennsylvania Railroad in the years 1853 through 1857. The North Pennsylvania was acquired by the Philadelphia & Reading Railway Company in 1879... which extended the line north, connecting Philadelpha to the Bethlehem Steel Corporation. 1879 is also the year in which the Borough of Perkasie was incorporated and the bore became known as the Perkasie Tunnel. This tunnel, still in use by the East Penn Railroad (EPRY), is a fairly pure example of an early American rail tunnel, in that it has never been enlarged or substantially altered... although about 18 feet of roof was removed from the north portal, the south portal remains as built... and the original double track was replaced by a centered single track. It is a curved. 2,125 (originally 2,142') foot tunnel with one ventilation chimney shaft located near the center. The remnant of a siding to the south, still leads to the former Mt. Alto Coal Yard and follows the curve west to Moyer's Mill... and had reached the Shelly & Fenstermacher train barn, before it and a large portion of uptown Perkasie burned to the ground in 1988.
The Reading Railroad (RDG) T-1 is a Baldwin I-10a 2-8-0 "Consolidation" steam locomotive converted by the Reading into a 4-8-4 "Northern". This was accomplished with boiler and smokebox extensions as well as firebox modifications, upgraded bearings and of course new leading and trailing trucks. These engines were developed primarily for heavy freight and used all over the system. T-1's remained in service until 1955. However, they are now known mainly as the power ahead of the Reading Lines' "Iron Horse Rambles" passenger excursions, that ran from 1959 until 1963. Of the thirty T-1's built between 1945 and 1947, four have been preserved. #2100 is in Cleveland, Ohio and #2101, which pulled the "American Freedom Train" in 1975-76, is at the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. #2102 is owned and being rebuilt by the Reading Blue Mountain and Northern (RBMN), at Port Clinton, PA and is hoped to be operational and pulling excursions again... some day... and #2124... (illustrated) is at the Steamtown National Historic Site in Pennsylvania, which is where I last saw her.