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Written by Conductor

Reading GP7 #632.

The Reading rostered a total of 44 EMD GP-7 locomotives.  These 1500 horsepower "road switchers" entered into service between July, 1952 and October, 1953 as noted in the table below.  The majority of the units lasted until late 1974, when they were retired due to the Reading's acquisition of their GP39-2 and MP-15 locomotives.  Two units left the roster prior to 1974:  #663 was the more famous of the two - she was the one that rolled into the tunrtable pit at the Saucon Creek Engine House, while #612 was a victim of the fire at the Gettysburg Freight House in 1966. Reading 1500 HP GP-7 Locomotive #608, seen at Bethlehem Engine Terminal.

The image at left is representative of the as-delievered appearance of units #600 through #636, which were intended for freight service and equipped with dynamic brakes.  Units #660 through #666 were acquired for secondary passenger service, and were not equipped with dynamic brakes, and thus their long hoods had a smooth appearance, as can be seen in the photo of #665 below.  Due to their passenger service role, these locomotives were equipped with steam generators.  During their service on mainline freight, the GP-7s could be found most often working between Allentown, Bethlehem, Rutherford and Darby Creek.  It was rare to see them assigned to Newberry or Jersey City runs, or on the Bethlehem Branch.  The passenger GP-7s were most often seen on Philadelphia-Reading and Allentown-Harrisburg trains, as well as some of the Philadelphia-area branch lines.  Once the Budd RDCs came on the scene iin 1962, the passenger Geeps were assigned to Saucon Creek and the nearby Bethlehem Steel plant.  As the second-generation diesels came on line in the mid-1960s, the GP-7s were relegated to branch line and yard service, with most of the units eventually being retired/sold in 1974 as noted above.

The following table shows the various in-service dates for the GP-7 locomotives:

Reading Passenger GP7 #665.

Road No. Built Date
600 8/52
601-603 7/52
604-608 8/52
609-624 5/53
625-636 10/53
660-666 6/52






MODELING NOTES:  These two photos show the GP-7s in their as-delivered Pullman Green paint scheme; however, the units have obviously been in service for some time - note how the paint has faded, and how some areas along the body are more weathered than others.  Also, it's the details that make the difference.  In these two images, note details such as the curved "L" grab iron on the short hood of #665, the yellow painted roller bearing caps, the spark arrestors on #608, and the fact that only one grab iron on the short hood of #608 is painted yellow.  Small things like this, as well as additional details like the MU and air hoses, can really make your model stand out.

Today's Image

Did You Know?

June 20-23, 1972
The Reading is devastated by Hurricane Agnes; washouts and damage across the system require significant effort to repair, and also hasten the abandonment of marginal branches.


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