Railway Preservation News

Reading cafe lounge # 1189 "King Coal"
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Author:  PLATFORMCAR [ Sun Feb 28, 2010 6:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Reading cafe lounge # 1189 "King Coal"

Thought some members of the group might find of interest some recent photographs I had the opportunity to take of Reading cafe - lounge "king coal" at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. Had the opportunity to recently tour the interior of the car, which is seldom seen. Car was Reading # 1189 built for service on the Reading's train the "King Coal" and was later assigned to the Crusader. Car was retired October 1, 1966 and bought by the state museum from the Reading Company in May of 1970

Now nearly 40 years later, interesting to take a look inside ( and out ) and wonder what the future holds. To my knowledge other than a rolled on coat of paint, not much has changed for this car since the ownership changed ( Reading to the State of Pennsylvania ) some 40 years ago.

Anyone know more besides the obvious current financial hardships the State of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Museum Commission is having ? Car is certainly worthy of a significant preservation effort.

Dean Levin

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Author:  PLATFORMCAR [ Sun Feb 28, 2010 6:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Reading cafe lounge # 1189 "King Coal"

interior views

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Author:  PLATFORMCAR [ Sun Feb 28, 2010 6:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Reading cafe lounge # 1189 "King Coal"

few more views

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Author:  robertjohndavis [ Sun Feb 28, 2010 8:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Reading cafe lounge # 1189 "King Coal"


Did you ask the staff about her future when they let you in to tour her? The museum is down to a small core of folks, so I doubt anyone here knows any more than they do. You might get a lot of supposition and rumor, but the truth is probably known only at the museum.

All the best,


Author:  eldiner [ Sun Feb 28, 2010 10:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Reading cafe lounge # 1189 "King Coal"

Great photos. I'm glad you were able to get in. When I asked a couple of years ago they wouldn't let me in saying they were afraid I might fall through the floor.

Author:  Higherspeedrailnow [ Sun Feb 28, 2010 10:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Reading cafe lounge # 1189 "King Coal"

I think the car should go to the Reading Company society. It needs care now. I wish you took detailed pictures of the drink stands and settees. I remember sitting in the car in Jersey City in the coach yard. Boy, those seats were comfortable. I would love to see them restored and reproduced. There is a sister car on the north side Philly accross from a newspaper office. It's land locked. But I'd sure like to see it saved. Anyone have recent photos or information on that one? I was on one Iron Horse Ramble. I wonder if I did ride this car after all.

Author:  Alexander D. Mitchell IV [ Mon Mar 01, 2010 12:24 am ]
Post subject:  Another Reading diner survives, if not serving food still...

Sister car 1186, across a street from the Philadelphia Inquirer building, 425 N. Broad St. or Broad and Noble Sts., Philadelphia, Pa.:

http://www.railroad.net/forums/viewtopi ... 30&t=56746

2002 photos:

Google Street View shows both earlier views and views after the most recent paint job:

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=425+North ... CAcQ8gEwAA

Hmmmmm. Does a certain "business car fleet" across town happen to need a diner, perchance? <:-)

Given the "it takes an act of God to get anything out of the RR Museum of Pa." philosophy, I would suggest investigating whether 1186 is a better candidate for preservation by the RCT&HS, or let some swapping go on here.........

Author:  PLATFORMCAR [ Mon Mar 01, 2010 1:01 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Reading cafe lounge # 1189 "King Coal"

a few more interior views of the "King Coal" .. showing some furnishings. In regard to the long term plans for this car, the person permitting me to see the car, did not know the plans for the car, however suspected it wasn't high as a restoration candidate.

Dean Levin

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Author:  Mike Tillger [ Mon Mar 01, 2010 6:18 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Reading cafe lounge # 1189 "King Coal"

The Reading Company Technical & Historical Society has been in communication with the PA Railroad Museum regarding the 1189 for quite some time. They tried to obtain the 1186 before the newest owner gutted the original interior walls, but were unsuccessful coming to terms with the owner.

Mike Tillger

Author:  PLATFORMCAR [ Mon Mar 01, 2010 12:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Reading cafe lounge # 1189 "King Coal"

thought some of the members on the forum would like to see a few recent photographs of the Reading car in Philadelphia, perhaps from the opposite end. I believe ( from memory ) that this car sits on what was the old Reading Spring Garden Street Branch, which has been out of service for I bet over 30 years. The car sat for years as a business called the "steak and bagel train", and likely catered to Philadelphia Inquirer employees from across the street.

Thought some members would like to see some current photographs showing the conditions where the car is located.

Dean Levin

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Author:  Doug Debs 2472 [ Mon Mar 01, 2010 1:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Reading cafe lounge # 1189 "King Coal"

Restoration of this much interior water damage, inside-the-walls structural rot, and inside-the-roof damage is a daunting responsability. Golden Gate Railroad Museum's heavyweight lounge car Southern Pacific 2979 (built 1914; converted to Art Deco interior 1940 by S.P. sacramento Shops) was in far better structural and cosmetic condition than the "King Coal" - almost no structural steel damage except at the very ends, only two very minor interior leaks, interior paint and walls in good condition, etc. But we've still spent $80k+ on pneumatic needle guns, steel, welding rod, paint, carpet, upholstery, roof coating, Satdco diesel generator, new air conditioner, etc, etc.. See http://www.ggrm.org for details.

- Doug Debs

Author:  Tom Parkins [ Mon Mar 01, 2010 1:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Reading cafe lounge # 1189 "King Coal"

Hypothetical I guess: If a group from the RCTHS approached RMP and said we would like restore King Coal and you can display it Strasburg, would that be possible or even thinkable. Would RCTHS think of restoring Reading equipment not in their possession, and would RMP let an outside organization restore equipment at RMP?

In a situation like this, I see that the move of the car could easily eat up valuable $$$$. How important is it that equipment gets restored even if you don't "own" it?

Tom P

Author:  Alexander D. Mitchell IV [ Mon Mar 01, 2010 3:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Reading cafe lounge # 1189 "King Coal"

There's yet another possibility/option out there.

Supposing that the damage to 1189 is simply too great (as in, you'd be effectively building a new car), then grab and relocate the 1186 to Strasburg, dismantle the interior of 1189 and install it in 1186, use whatever needs to come off of 1189 to restore 1186, and either scrap 1189 or turn 1189 over to RCT&HS for rebuild to a more useful operating (but authentically-fashioned) diner. Use the interior parts of 1189 as a prototype to replicate the replacement interior, but while in restoration/rebuild make necessary upgrades like 480V HEP, improved safety and kitchen appliances, etc. Reupholster the chairs, etc, as needed and do it again for replica chairs for the operating car.

Presto: Strasburg gets a more intact historical relic and a diner to show off; RCT&HS gets a car that can operate as a premium-service car on Lehigh Gorge Scenic or other excursions. Or that can be upgraded and leased as needed to Norfolk Southern, AAPRRCO members, etc.

Sigh. I know. Cubic dollars, and all. But if you had told me that RCT&HS would be rebuilding their diesels to the extent they have, I'd have called you insane. I wouldn't suggest it if I didn't think there was a chance for it to actually happen.

Author:  Mike Tillger [ Mon Mar 01, 2010 3:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Reading cafe lounge # 1189 "King Coal"

Stop and think about what you just posted. Don't you think if they have the ability to do the work to their locomotives, they have the ability to restore the 1189? Why would you even suggest to do twice the work? The carbody and roof of the 1186 is not much better than the 1189.

My 2 cents,
Mike Tillger

Author:  eldiner [ Mon Mar 01, 2010 4:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Reading cafe lounge # 1189 "King Coal"

At the moment I estimate the total cost to restore our Erie Lackawanna (Erie) heavyweight diner to full operating (but non Amtrak certified) condition to be around $350,000 based on what we have spent so far and what is left to be done, and our car was on rails and interchangable. The only way we have raised the money we have is by appealing to the unique character of the dining car and the attraction of dinner in the diner. Someone would have to take this on within a group and focus on nothing else. We can all look and say it would be neat, but you need to find the right person to spearhead the project. Right now it would be getting buy in from RRMPA or the owner of 1186, then launch an intensive fund raising campaign, then finally doing the work. In our case at least we were able to buy the car early on and focus on raising money and the work.


After (or during as the interior is a work in progress):

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