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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Strasburg in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Reading Observation No. 1

1937

 
 
Reading Observation No. 1 Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 19, 2008
1. Reading Observation No. 1 Marker
Inscription. Builder: Budd Company, Red Lion, PA
Build Date: 1937
Retirement Date: 1982
Number Built: 2
Weight: 97,000 lbs.
Length: 85 ft.
PHMC Cat No. RR78.52

The Crusader:
As the nation pulled itself out of the Great Depression, the Reading Company launched a new premier passenger service from Philadelphia to Jersey City. In search of a name for the new streamliner, the Reading held a contest among Philadelphia school children, paying the winner $250 (equivalent to nearly $3,000 in 2005). The Crusader debuted on December 12, 1937 to a great fanfare.

Sleek and elegant, the train was designed for passenger comfort and operating efficiency. The five-car train included a diner in the center, and an observation coach at each end, thereby eliminating the time-consuming need to turn the whole train around at each terminal. Two of the Reading's G3a class Pacific-type steam locomotives were clad in a matching cloak of stainless steel to complete the train.

The Crusader continued to make its twice-daily run until 1968, when the train was retired in favor of more cost-effective Diesel Cars. The entire train was sold to Canadian National, where it remained in service until the early 1980's. Car No. 1, one of the two observations, was purchased by Friends of the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in 1983 and moved
Reading Observation No. 1 and Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 19, 2008
2. Reading Observation No. 1 and Marker
The stainless steel shines even today.
to Strasburg.

(Banner at bottom of marker):
The Crusader was the first stainless steel streamlined passenger train in the Northeast.
 
Erected by Pennsylvania Railroad Museum.
 
Location. 39° 58.944′ N, 76° 9.729′ W. Marker is near Strasburg, Pennsylvania, in Lancaster County. Marker can be reached from Gap Road / Strasburg Road (Pennsylvania Route 741), on the right when traveling east. Click for map. Located in the outdoor display lot for the Pennsylvania Railroad Museum. Marker is in this post office area: Strasburg PA 17579, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Monongahela Railway No. 67 (here, next to this marker); Pennsylvania Railroad No. 6755 (within shouting distance of this marker); Pennsylvania Railroad No. 3750 (within shouting distance of this marker); Lehigh Valley No. 40 (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Pittsburgh and Lake Erie No. 508 (about 300 feet away); Pennsylvania Railroad No. 460 (about 300 feet away); Pennsylvania Railroad No. 7688 (about 300 feet away); Strasburg Rail Road (about 400 feet away). Click for a list of all markers in Strasburg.
 
More about this marker. On the left is a photo of showing that, The smooth lines and
Interior of Car No.1 image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, September 19, 2008
3. Interior of Car No.1
shine of stainless steel represented the most modern of styles when the Crusader debuted in 1937.
In the lower center, No. 1 brings up the markers as the Crusader crosses the Schuylkill River. And on the lower right, The Crusader's interior offered first class accommodations for commuters including plush seating and fresh cut flowers.
 
Also see . . .
1. Pennsylvania Railroad Museum. (Submitted on June 14, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
2. The Crusader. Wikipedia article about the train. (Submitted on June 14, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
 
Categories. Railroads & Streetcars
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 660 times since then and 49 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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