After looking at the photos, you might be asking, “Hey, where is the paint and lettering?” Well, this isn’t a production model. Instead, Broadway Limited Imports sent us a pre-production sample of its N scale Reading Co. class T-1 4-8-4 steam locomotive. The model, scheduled for release this fall, features a dual-mode Paragon4 sound decoder, a built-in capacitor pack, and a smoke unit.
The Reading Co. T-1 fleet has a long, storied history. The 30 full-size units, numbered 2100 through 2129, were built between 1945 and 1947. The Northerns weren’t new locomotives, though. Instead, they were built around lengthened boilers from the railroad’s class I-10sa 2-8-0 Consolidations. The 4-8-4s were mainly used in fast freight service. The T-1s were retired in 1957.
A small group of Northerns received a new lease on life when Reading Co. launched its Iron Horse Rambles steam excursion program, which ran from 1959 to 1965. The initial locomotives earmarked for the program were 2100, 2101, 2123, and 2124. In 1962, the 2124 was retired and replaced by the 2102. The 2123, used as a parts source, was scrapped in 1966.
All four units from the Iron Horse Rambles program were saved. The 2102 is in service on the Reading, Blue Mountain & Northern. The American Steam Railroad Preservation Association is working on getting the 2100 under steam again. The 2101 and 2124 are on static display at the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore and at the Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton, Penn., respectively.
Broadway Limited Imports will be offering the 4-8-4 in three versions. The sample we received follows the lines of an in-service Reading Co. class T-1. For the most part the dimensions match or are within scale inches of drawings published in Steam Locomotives of the Reading and P&R Railroads by Edward H. Wiswesser, P.E. (Greenberg Publishing Co. Inc, 1988).
There were a few minor dimensional discrepancies. The diameter of the drivers is a scale 4” too small (66” vs. 70” on the prototype). The distance between the center of the front wheel on the pilot truck and the rear wheel on the tender truck is a scale 1’-6” too long. This can be chalked up to the connector between the locomotive and tender. The distance over the coupler pulling faces is a scale 4’-5” too long. The connector, and model couplers being slightly oversized, account for this difference.
The engine has a die-cast metal boiler; numerous plastic details, including the cab, smokebox front, pilot, and walkways; etched-metal details; and a turned brass bell. Formed-wire parts include the uncoupling lever, handrails (mounted on plastic stanchions), and grab irons on the back of the cab. The cab is fitted with clear plastic window glazing, and the backhead has cast details. A light-emitting-diode (LED) headlight is located below the bell on the smokebox front.
The smooth-side, all-welded tender has a die-cast metal body and underbody. The coal load, handrail stanchions, ladders, and footboards are plastic. The handrails, grab irons, and uncoupling lever are formed metal. An LED backup light is located at top center to the left of the ladder.
The underbody is connected to the body with four screws. Above the front truck is the motherboard and sound decoder. A downward-facing speaker is located in a plastic housing above the rear truck. Slats in the underbody allow the sounds to pass through. The on/off switch for the smoke unit is located between the trucks.
The tender rides on screw-mounted plastic Commonwealth-style trucks with roller bearing journal detail. The metal wheel stubs are mounted on plastic axles. The coupler is body mounted.
Our sample had a Union Pacific Big Boy sound set and a placeholder chuff timer. The production models will have T-1 sounds and the correct chuff timer.
Broadway Limited will also offer the T-1 detailed and decorated as Chessie System Steam Special No. 2101 and Delaware & Hudson Centennial No. 302. The Chessie model will be painted in the vibrant blue, yellow, and vermillion scheme and have “flying” number boards and a pilot-mounted name plate. The D&H version will be fitted with “elephant ear” smoke deflectors and wear number 302.
See it in action
We hope you enjoyed reading “Sneak peek: Broadway Limited Imports T-1 4-8-4.” Click here to see a video of the Northern in action on our Milwaukee, Racine & Troy State Line Route layout.
Broadway Limited Imports
9 East Tower Circle
Ormond Beach, FL 32174
Road names: Reading Co. (in-service and Iron Horse Rambles schemes, three road numbers each); 1976 American Freedom Train; Chessie System Steam Special; Delaware & Hudson Centennial; and Reading, Blue Mountain & Northern. Fantasy schemes: Christmas, Conrail Steam Excursion, and Independence Day. One number per paint scheme unless noted. Also available painted black but unlettered.
Era: 1945 to present (varies depending on paint scheme).