Railfanning Reading, Pa.
Check out the Aerial View of Reading courtesy of Phil Banks!
This page was last updated on Wednesday, July 14, 2010 11:49:52 AM
Officials from Norfolk Southern have asked me to make it crystal clear that all railfanning should be conducted from public property! Trespassing on railroad property is illegal, dangerous, and will not be tolerated! They have also asked me to provide their link for their Operation Lifesaver website to promote safety and awareness when around the railroad.
The appearance of a railfanning hotspot on this website DOES NOT indicate that I am condoning that you visit that hotspot. Some of the locations are NS property and are thus off limits. These hotspots are included for the sake of completeness. Hotspots that are on NS property will be indicated with the skull and crossbones. User discretion is advised!
Reading, Pa is a hotspot on the NS east-west mainline between New York/Philadelphia and Harrisburg, boasting traffic to the tune of over 50 trains on peak days. At Reading, the Harrisburg line (Philadelphia - Harrisburg) converges with the Reading Line (Allentown - Reading) at CP Valley Jct. (See map courtesy of Craig Hobschaidt) or check out the NS Harrisburg Division timetable from 2001.
At Reading yard, trains from the south headed to Allentown (39g and 34m) set off blocks for Conway which are later assembled into 11a (Reading to Pittsburgh). Trains headed south from Allentown (35a) set off blocks for Reading and pick up blocks for Edgemoor transferred by the Pittsburgh to Reading train 10a. Various locals working the Reading area also assemble blocks for Conway, Allentown, and Edgemoor.
The best times for viewing trains in the Reading area varies depending on what location your at. In general, CP Wyomissing Jct has good train density in the early morning and late afternoon/evening. In the early afternoon, CP Belt is fairly active as 34m and 39g usually are leaving the Reading yard for Allentown.
CP Belt has 6 extra "scheduled" NS trains from the Reading line that do not run past CP Wyomissing Jct plus 2 Reading and Northern trains and CP Wyomissing Jct has 13 extra "scheduled" trains that go south on the Harrisburg line that do not pass CP Belt. Fortunately, most of these trains run at different times of day so knowing what location to be at will allow you not to miss much of the action.
On average, you will see one loaded and one empty coal train per day going either east or south, one loaded and one empty steel slab train (60 series train), and at least one loaded or empty stone train past CP Wyomissing Jct. In the summer when most track maintenance occurs, it is not uncommon to see more than one stone train per day originating from either Dyers or Annville. Here is the train schedule for the Reading area which I have assembled and is maintained faithfully by Mark McCabe! 10-12-06. Thanks Mark!!!
So sit back as your tour guide takes you through the various railfanning hotspots in Reading, Pa. Please
The goal of this website is to maximize your railfanning experience while visiting Reading, Pa by:
1. Reviewing the various hotspots in Reading, Pa
2. Detailing what traffic you would expect to see by each hotspot
3. Giving you explicit photo opportunity tips for each hotspot
4. Linking you to other valuable websites to keep you updated on the latest NS info you need
There are four scanner frequencies being used by NS in the Reading area and one by the Reading and Northern. These frequencies are:
160.860 - Used from Blandon west to Harrisburg and Pottstown west to Reading. This frequency is under the domain of the Harrisburg East Dispatcher
161.070 - Used from Blandon East and is under the domain of the Lehigh Line Dispatcher
160.980 - Used by the Reading yard under the domain of the Spring St. Yardmaster
160.800 - Pottstown East under the domain of the Main Line Dispatcher
161.310 - Reading and Northern
Frustrated with the performance of your current scanner and it's limited range? I have come up with a scanner system that has a range of over 30 miles. Check out how you can build such a system!
Hot Box/Dragging Equipment/High Car Detectors
Milepost 46.9 - Monocacy
Milepost 57.0 - CP Titus (single track to Reading Yard)
Runner CP Belt - Entering Reading Yard (all 3 tracks)
Milepost 60.9 - Main at Wyomissing Jct going to Yard
Milepost 0.8 - CP Blandon
Milepost 64.6 - Sinking Spring
Milepost 79.8 - Myerstown
Thanks to Craig Hobschaidt we have a very good idea of the volume of traffic in the Reading area and the approximate times in which certain trains will be seen. Craig has done a masterful job of collecting this data from his scanner using what he calls RailScan. What I have attempted to do is condense this information at each location to give you a good idea what trains you will see and when you will see them. These are contained at links under each location below. The complete Reading area freight schedule is extensively reviewed and as up to date as possible.
When reviewing the schedule there are a few trains that run infrequently and thus I will note them for clarity sake (information gathered by our local train schedule "expert" Craig Hobschaidt). Intermodal trains 23T, 24K, and 28A run infrequently and should not be considered as "scheduled" although they are scheduled trains. The only slab trains that usually run are 66Z, 67Z, 68J, and 69J. The remainder are on the schedule but run once in a blue moon.
Craig has posted the latest statistics collected by Railscan for all trains running through Reading. Please check out these statistics Craig has masterfully and laboriously collected because this is the most accurate data we have on trains running through Reading.
If you have any addition or corrections on any of the train schedules you see here please so we can keep the schedules as accurate and complete as possible.
The overall ratings are ranked from 1 to 4 with four being the best and one being the worst. Each hotspot is assessed based on three criteria, namely, train density, accessibility, and photo opportunities.
The site is organized according to location. We will be starting east at CP Blandon and work our way west to CP Wyomissing Jct (See map). We will then proceed south from CP Wyomissing Jct towards Philadelphia ending at CP Titus and the Turkey Path.
Photo Copyright does not necessarily indicate the photographer, only the rights to the image.