901 West Pratt St., Baltimore, MD 21223
Detailed Information

Name: RDG No. 2101, American Freedom Train (AFT) No.1
Railroad of Record: Reading Railroad
Type of Locomotive: 4-8-4 Northern (originally 2-8-0)
Class:  T-1
Date Built: 1923
Manufactured by: Baldwin Locomotive Works
Date Rebuilt: September 1945 as 4-8-4

Locomotive Weight: 221 tons
Driver Diameter: 70 inches
Cylinders: 27 x 32 inches
Tractive Effort: 68,000 lbs,  78,100 lbs (with booster)

Paint Scheme: Blue paint with red and white trim (1975 & repainted after 1979   fire)
Yellow/blue/vermilion paint: traditional Chessie paint scheme   (1977)

In 1923, the Baldwin Locomotive Works built a class I-10a for the Reading Railroad. Originally numbered No. 2101, the locomotive had an oversized Wootten firebox for the burning of anthracite  coal and carried 96 inch diameter boiler. Along with other 2-8-0s during World War II, it was rebuilt as T-1 class 4-8-4.

The new and improved 4-8-4s emerged from the Reading, Pennsylvania shops in September of 1945. For ten years, the No. 2101 served the Reading Railroad and was removed from service in 1955. The Reading Railroad decided that the No. 2101 could still be used, so they kept it in storage. From 1959-1964, the No. 2101 was stored as a spare locomotive for the Reading Railroad's excursion program, "Iron Horse Rambles," but never saw active service. In 1967, the No. 2101 officially retired from the Reading Railroad and was sold to a scrap dealer.

After a decade of deterioration in a Baltimore scrap yard, New York broker, Ross Rowland, purchased the No. 2101 for the Eastern leg of his American Freedom Train. The American Freedom Train was a steam-powered event that toured the nation to celebrate the Bicentennial of the United States. Mr. Rowland and his team of volunteers used the Riverside Roundhouse to restore the No. 2101 to get ready for the event. The No. 2101 was renamed the AFT No.1 and ran its leg of the Freedom Train from  April 1, 1975 to September 1976.

Once again in 1977, the AFT No.1 was called to duty for the Sesquicentennial of the chartering of the B&O. The AFT No.1, now called the Chessie Steam Special, was outfitted with an  auxiliary water tender and matching set of 19 passenger cars. The celebration began on May 7, 1977 and set off for a two-year system wide tour of the Chessie System.

On March 7, 1979, fire struck the roundhouse in Silver Grove, Kentucky where the AFT No.1 was stored. After the fire, the AFT No. 1 was sent to Hagerstown, Maryland for cosmetic repairs and a replacement tender and was donated to the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum.


View full album here.


Connect with us: Follow us on Twitter  Become a Fan on Facebook  Watch videos on YouTube

© 5/18/2021 Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum™. All Rights Reserved.