MINERSVILLE, Pa. — A largely overlooked steam locomotive in Pennsylvania’s anthracite coal region is Central Railroad of New Jersey 0-6-0 switcher No. 113 (American Locomotive Co., 1923), owned and operated by the nonprofit Railway Restoration Project 113 of Minersville, Pa. The engine runs only a few times a year, mostly for Santa Claus trains, pulling coaches of host railroad Reading & Northern, widely known for its own steam program. CNJ retired No. 113 about 1953 and sold it to Philadelphia & Reading Coal & Iron Co. for use at a colliery at Locust Summit, Pa., where it ran until 1960. It was rescued by Robert Kimmel Sr., who, with his son, RRP-113 President Robert E. Kimmel Jr., restored it to operation in 2013.
No. 113 is a large and heavy switcher, weighing 197,000 pounds, almost as much as nearby Strasburg Rail Road’s 2-10-0 engine No. 90 (Baldwin Locomotive Works, 1924) at 212,000 pounds. This year’s holiday trains traveled ex-Reading R&N tracks between Minersville, where the engine is based at an ex-Reading station, and Schuylkill Haven, where the headquarters of R&N’s passenger department is situated in another ex-Reading station. Pulling eight R&N coaches, a baggage car, and a caboose, the engine ran three trips on Saturday, Dec. 10, and three more on Sunday, Dec. 11.