RDG, Hamburg, Pennsylvania, 1941
Hamburg, PA, May 3, 1941. Donald W. Furler photo, Center for Railroad Photography and Art.

One Railfan’s Journals

Four journal books from an anonymous railfan apparently based in Hamburg, PA in the 1950’s give insight into customers, consists, and trains of the Reading in that area and era.

This individual generated notes for two distinct periods: 1953-1954 and 1958-1959.  The earlier notes are all centered on Hamburg, PA, while the later period shows increasing sophistication and travel.  Perhaps it was a teenager who got access to a vehicle?  If anyone knows whose journals these were, I’d love to give them credit for it.  Otherwise, gratitude that someone made the effort to take these notes for future generations will have to suffice .

RDG Hamburg Train Movements 1953-1954
A fairly thorough documentation of trains at Hamburg.  Passenger trains are identified by number, but only a few freight trains are identified by symbol.

RDG Hamburg Freight Carloads 1954
Several months of data collecting of all inbound carloads to Hamburg customers.  The first couple months include summaries for each customer, reporting marks, etc.  This is useful for deciphering the customers in the later months which are only identified by abbreviation.

RDG Passenger Train Consists 1958-1959
Thorough consists of many passenger trains during the period.

RDG Freight Train OSes 1958 – 1959
Notes about the freight trains this individual saw during this period.  Many were seen in the Reading area and most are identified by symbol.  Also helpful are totals for each type of freight car on each train.  The writing is getting smaller and smaller as this person tries to document more and more information.

Freight Schedules

RDG Condensed Symbol Freight Trains 11-1-1950

Dispatcher Sheets

RDG East Penn Wilmington Columbia 8-4-1962
RDG Philadelphia Harrisburg & Pittsburgh 8-7-1966 – courtesy of Glenn Fisher
RDG Philadelphia Harrisburg & Pittsburgh 8-10-1966 – courtesy of Glenn Fisher
RDG Philadelphia Harrisburg & Pittsburgh 8-11-1966 – courtesy of Glenn Fisher
RDG Philadelphia Harrisburg & Pittsburgh 8-12-1966 – courtesy of Glenn Fisher
RDG Philadelphia Harrisburg & Pittsburgh 8-14-1966 – courtesy of Glenn Fisher
RDG Philadelphia Harrisburg & Pittsburgh 8-16-1966 – courtesy of Glenn Fisher


Reading Dispatch Eastbound Billing Instructions 1894
This contains lists of customers at several different cities on the Philadelphia & Reading, including Philadelphia.

RDG Oaks Inbound Carloads 1952
RDG Oaks Outbound Carloads Oct 1952
These shipments are dominated by the B.F. Goodrich plant located at Oaks, PA.

Other Resources

Several freight schedules and a Freight Shippers Guide are available at

A 1942 Reading – Jersey Central freight schedule is available at The Alphabet Route among other information.

Freight Train Symbol Book 17 dated 5-26-1912 was reprinted in Reading Company Technical and Historical Society’s The Bee Line 2013 number 4 issue.

A 1953 freight schedule was reprinted in 1999 that can sometimes be found.

Rails Unlimited has a 1954 Freight Shippers Guide available for purchase.