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Firsts

1791

Reading predecessor Schuylkill and Susquehanna Navigation Co. incorporated, giving Reading the distinction of having the earliest corporate roots of a railroad in the United States.

1832

The first locomotive built by Matthias Baldwin, named Old Ironsides, entered service on the Philadelphia, Germantown and Norristown Railroad on November 23. The PG&N later became Reading's Norristown Branch.

1833

The first regular transportation of anthracite coal by steam power on the Little Schuylkill Railroad.

1835

The first tank cars designed to carry water and crude oil used on the inclined planes of the Danville and Pottsville Railroad.

1837

1,932-foot Black Rock Tunnel opened on the Main Line near Phoenixville, Pa. At the time, it was the longest tunnel in the United States and the third tunnel to be constructed.

1838

First regular steam passenger service in the interior of Pennsylvania. The first run was made on May 1 and daily schedules commenced on July 16.

1842

The Reading opened the 93-mile Main Line from Pottsville to Port Richmond on May 17, becoming the first all-rail link between the coal regions of Pennsylvania and the Delaware River.

1843

First iron coal car conceived and built for the Reading

1844

First railroad in the United States to transport one million tons in a year

1845

First iron railroad bridge in the United States.

1847

The first ten-wheel locomotive in the United States. The 4-6-0 Chesapeake was built by the Norris Locomotive Works.

1861

First armored railcar designed by P&R engineer Rufus Wilder for the Civil War defense of Washington, D.C.

1869

First railroad in the United States to operate its own fleet of ocean-going coal vessels.

1871

Reading is the largest corporation in the world, having a gross valuation of $170 million dollars.

1878

The first camelback locomotive. P&R #412 was sent to France for the Paris Exhibition of 1878 where it was altered due to tight clearances on the Northern Railway of France.

1883

The first passenger station in the world to be lighted by electricity. Meters were installed at the Sunbury, Pa. station on April 10.

1884

The first use of the famous "Stop, Look and Listen" slogan at grade crossings.

1891

First railroad in the United States to achieve a "mile-a-minute" run in regular passenger service on the New York Division.

1898

First use of the black diamond Reading logo.

1926

The second railroad in the United States to purchase a diesel locomotive, class OE-1 boxcab #50.

1945

First railroad to use space radio for traffic control. Service installed on an experimental basis at Wayne Junction.

1962

First production GP30 diesel locomotive enters service on the Reading with the arrival of #5513 from General Motors Electro Motive Division.

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