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Meet The Reading Modeler Crew!

Tom Jacobs - ConductorTom Jacobs is the Reading Modeler Webmaster

Tom is descended from several generations of Reading Company employes, and has had a keen interest in trains since childhood. From 1998-2002, Tom served as President of the Reading Company Technical & Historical Society, a Pennsylvania non-profit corporation dedicated to preserving the history and heritage of the Reading Company.

Tom has been interested in (some would say obsessed with) trains since his early childhood in the 1970s, when he first began riding the RDC cars from Reading to Philadelphia with his grandmother. The fascination resurfaced again as a teenager in the mid-80s when living on Kutztown Road outside of Reading and the Blandon Low Grade caved in near Temple. The "Hill Track," the original East Penn line to Allentown, suddenly came to life again for several weeks, and what had been a few trains per month suddenly became several trains a day. Years later, after Tom's son Nathan was born, his fascination with Thomas the Tank Engine led to the purchase of an HO train set, which led to my joining the Reading Company Technical & Historical Society, which led to many exciting adventures in railroading, both model and prototype!

Darrell Hensley - EngineerDarrell Hensley is the Reading Modeler site Engineer

Darrell Hensley is a freelance web designer and has returned to model railroading after an absence of several years, having made a foray into N scale with a tabletop layout in the 1990s. A former employee of Dana Corporation's Parish Frame Plant in Reading, PA, Darrell has chosen the Pennsylvania as "his" railroad; however, Tom does not hold this against him, since the West Reading Branch layout they're building together is located in Darrell's basement.

It was Darrell's input that led to inclusion of the Pennsylvania Railroad in the track plan, in order to focus on the interaction between the two railroads along Reading's riverfront. He enjoys bringing a bit of personal history back to life through building a detailed model of the Dana plant in Reading (which you can see in the Photo Album), including many small details recollected from his time working there. Even though he's been away from the hobby for several years, he's jumped back in with both feet, and has taken a liking to (and shown a natural talent for) scratchbuilding structures to match the prototype. Darrell's interest in electronics has been a great help in getting the  locomotive fleet and DCC system up and running, along with lighting and wiring the layout.  In addition to his modeling activities, Darrell is also the "engineer" that keeps The Reading Modeler up and running!

John Caples is a Reading Modeler Contributing EditorJohn Caples - Contributing Editor

John Caples spent his early years along the Reading Main Line in the Birdsboro - Pottstown area in the 1970s. Although he moved to Missouri some time ago, the Reading still holds him firmly in its grasp, as he models the Reading of his childhood:  Second-generation diesels hauling banner and "RDG" boxcars.

John also enjoys researching and kitbashing the Reading's MOW equipment, including his thoroughly researched and documented Continuous Welded Rail (CWR) train, which has been turned into a series of articles for the website. John also provided the source material for our Wayside Sign decals, and continues to assist with our research into ongoing decal projects.

John W. Hall is a Reading Modeler Contributing EditorJohn W. Hall - Contributing Editor

John Hall grew up in the suburbs of Wilmington, Delaware, a city that was served by the Pennsylvania, the Baltimore & Ohio and the Reading Railroads. His father had an interest in the Pennsylvania Railroad, but he had a fondness for the Reading. A visit to the Reading Company enginehouse in Wilmington on February 9, 1964 secured his interest in the Reading for life.

That was the day he was invited into the cab of an ALCO road switcher and was given the opportunity to run the engine a short distance through the yard. Two of the Reading Rail Rambles ventured into the Diamond State during the early sixties as well.

John has been a model railroader for most of his life. He made the switch to "S" scale in the early 1980’s and is currently building a 25’ x 45’ "S" scale layout depicting the Wilmington & Northern branch of the Reading. Photos of some of the "S" scale models he has built appear on this web site. John has always had a strong interest in maintenance of way equipment, but his interest in collecting freight car data began when he was doing research for the first of many decals he produced for Reading freight cars during the 1980s and 1990s. In 1990 he purchased a Kalamazoo model 23-B motor car (speeder) that was once owned by the Reading. He restored it back to its original condition and put about 1000 miles on it, with runs on a few ex-Reading branch lines, as well as several other lines in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Jersey, Virginia and West Virginia.

John joined the Reading Company Technical & Historical Society in 1980. He has written a number of articles for the BEE LINE and published a 280 page hardback book entitled READING COMPANY CABOOSES in August 2001. READING COMPANY CABOOSES includes data covering the Reading’s four wheel bobbers, the Reading’s "standard" design caboose, also known as the Northeastern caboose, as well as the wide vision cabooses of the seventies. John and his wife Jacki currently live in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania with their Jack Russell Terrier named KAOS, two horses and a handful of chickens. They have two grown daughters.





Today's Image

Did You Know?

October 8, 1958
The diesel facilities and shop at Newberry Junction are destroyed by fire, and are rebuilt the following year.


Operations Information

Click Here!A variety of Reading Company operations related documents, etc. that may be of use in your modeling efforts.

Operations Paperwork

Click Here!A variety of Reading Company operations paperwork, such as train orders, clearance forms, etc. that will help you operate your Reading layout in a prototypical manner.

Timetables, Rulebooks, Etc.

Click Here!Public Timetables, Employe Timetables, and Rulebooks that provide much useful operational information.

Modeling Goodies

Click Here!Signs, billboards, and other FREE goodies for your use.  We ask only that you help spread the word about The Reading Modeler!

Rolling Stock Reference

Click Here!Downloadable reference documents on the various classes of Reading Company Freight and Passenger rolling stock.

Thanks for Your Support!

If you find the content on The Reading Modeler valuable, won't you please consider supporting our efforts? Your donation will help to offset operating costs and acquire new material to share on the site. Thank you!