On Eve of 100th Birthday, CNJ 0-6-0 to Power ‘Santa Trains’

The holiday excursions behind CNJ 0-6-0 113 on the Reading & Northern are scheduled for December 10 and 11. Photo by Daniel Smutek.

On Eve of 100th Birthday, CNJ 0-6-0 to Power ‘Santa Trains’

By Daniel Smutek

MINERSVILLE, Pa. 一 The only operating Central Railroad of New Jersey steam locomotive — and one of only two survivors — will be leading leading “Santa Trains” next month in Pennsylvania. The excursions come just weeks before the locomotive, Jersey Central 0-6-0 113, will turn 100 years old. 

The Alco-built 113 has been under the care of the nonprofit Railway Restoration Project 113 since 1986 and is used occasionally to lead excursion trains on the Reading & Northern out of the former Philadelphia & Reading station in Minersville, Pa. The excursions are scheduled for December 10 and 11. Trains will run at 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

The locomotive began life as a yard switcher on the CNJ in 1923. Like most CNJ steam locomotives (including 592, a 4-4-2 “Camelback” preserved at the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum in Maryland), 113 was built with a wide, Wooten-type firebox to burn anthracite coal. In 1953, the Philadelphia & Reading Coal & Iron Company purchased the locomotive for use at a colliery in Locust Summit, Pa. The 113 served there for seven years and became the last CNJ steam locomotive to operate in the steam era. After changing owners a few times, the late Robert Kimmel Sr. purchased it in 1986 and eventually moved it to its current home, where it was restored to operation.

To mark the locomotive’s 100th anniversary, the Railway Restoration Project 113 is putting out a commemorative calendar for 2023, featuring photos of the locomotive through the decades. The calendar can be purchased online or at the Minersville depot. 

This article was posted on: November 16, 2022