Commonly called the Reading Railroad and logotyped as Reading Lines, the Reading Company was a railroad holding company for the majority of its existence and was a (single) railroad during its later years. It was a successor to the Philadelphia and Reading Railway Company founded in 1833. Until the decline in anthracite loadings in the Coal Region after World War II, it was one of the most prosperous corporations in the United States.
Competition with the modern trucking industry that used the Interstate highway system for short distance transportation of goods, also known as short hauls, compounded the company’s problems, forcing it into bankruptcy in the 1970s. Its railroad operations were merged into Conrail in 1976, but the corporation lasted into 2000, disposing of valuable real estate holdings.