Strasburg Township in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Reading Observation No. 1
Build Date: 1937
Retirement Date: 1982
Number Built: 2
Weight: 97,000 lbs.
Length: 85 ft.
PHMC Cat No. RR78.52
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
(Banner at bottom of marker):
The Crusader was the first stainless steel streamlined passenger train in the Northeast.
Erected by Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Railroads & Streetcars. A significant historical month for this entry is December 1903.
Location. 39° 58.944′ N, 76° 9.729′ W. Marker is in Strasburg Township, Pennsylvania, in Lancaster County. Marker can be reached from Gap Road (Pennsylvania Route 741) east of Bishop Road, on the right when traveling east. Was located in the outdoor display lot for the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 300 Gap Road, Ronks PA 17572, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Strasburg Rail Road (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); History of Railroad Pump Cars (approx. 0.2 miles away); 37 East Main Street (approx. Ύ mile away); 33 East Main Street (approx. Ύ mile away); Original Head Race & Water Turbine (approx. 1.9 miles away); Neff's Mill Bridge (1875) (approx. Leaman Place Bridge (1893) (approx. 3½ miles away); The Willows Covered Bridge (approx. 3.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Strasburg Township.
More about this marker. On the left is a photo of showing that, The smooth lines and 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.)
Credits. This page was last revised on January 3, 2021. It was originally submitted on June 14, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 818 times since then and 29 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on June 14, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.