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RDG 31187 GHo

In the 1950's, Bethlehem Steel constructed 700 65-foot mill gondolas as members of class GHo, numbered 31000-31699. This car retains its original paint, note the white bars above the reporting marks. Judging by the appearance of the speed lettering, it looks as though someone deliberatly attempted to remove lettering from the car. This was common in the early days of Conrail, as employees of the predecessor railroads would remain loyal to their original copies. Thus, a Reading car which may have ended up in a Penn Central shop could have been subject to this type of treatment. Some crews would also carry paint thinner with them to remove the paintouts over their favorite railroad's logo. This frequently happened with the PRR keystone logo on locomotives.

ca. 1988, Temple, PA
Photo credit: Josh Musser

RDG 31187

RDG 31274 GHo

Another example of class GHo, RDG 31274 passes through Belt Line Junction. The reporting marks have been restenciled and much of the speed lettering is nearly faded away.

ca. 1988, Reading, PA (Belt Line Junction)
Photo credit: Josh Musser

RDG 31274

RDG 38012 GHu

This gondola is fresh out of the paint shop in Reading in the speed lettering scheme. It is painted dark green with yellow numbers and interior. Note the unlettered banner boxcar in the background. Class GHu consisted of 100 cars numbered 38000-38099.

Date unknown, Reading, PA
Photo credit: Collection of Josh Musser

RDG 38012

RDG 38802 GHy

Reading received a final group of 300 class GHy gondolas in 1975 numbered 38800-39099. This group was delivered in Reading green paint with basic "RDG" reporting marks. The 200 cars constructed in 1970 and 1972 were delivered with speed lettering. RDG 38802 was photographed on a section of the Belt Line near Birdsboro known as the "turkey path". Note that Conrail has painted out the original capacity with their standard freight car red paint.

Birdsboro, PA
Photo credit: Josh Musser

RDG 38802

RDG 38977 GHy

A large number of GHy gondolas in RDG paint could be found on Conrail into the 1990's, usually looking very worn from the years of weathering and the rough life of a typical gondola. Often times, it was a struggle just to read the car number. The GHy class was constructed by Bethlehem Steel at their plant in Johnstown, Pa. RDG 38977 was caught with a load of scrap moving through Wyomissing Junction.

ca. 1988, Wyomissing, PA
Photo credit: Josh Musser

RDG 38977

RDG 39052 GHy

An interesting observation on this car is that the end number also is written in sans-serif gothic lettering. The other cars above have the standard Roman serif end numbers. The car has just passed over the former Pennsylvania Railroad Rockville Bridge near Harrisburg.

ca. 1990, Harrisburg, PA (Rockville)
Photo credit: Josh Musser

RDG 39052

RDG 99160 GMt

RDG 99160 was built in 1970 by U.S. Railway Manufacturing Co. of Blue Island, Illinois, as a member of class GMt consisting of 50 cars 99150-99199. This car was photographed at the National Rolling Mills plant in Frazer, Pa., along the Chester Valley Branch. The coils of steel have been loaded but the covers used to protect the steel during transport have not yet been put into place. Today, the mill has closed and most of the Chester Valley Branch has been ripped up. This was the only time I was able to catch a coil steel car in RDG paint.

ca. 1990, Frazer, PA
Photo credit: Josh Musser

RDG 99160

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