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Steamtown National Historic Site
IUCN Category V (Protected Landscape/Seascape)
Map of the United States showing the location of Steamtown NHS
Location Scranton, Pennsylvania, USA
Coordinates 41°24′39″N 75°40′17″W / 41.410730°N 75.671329°W / 41.410730; -75.671329Coordinates: 41°24′39″N 75°40′17″W / 41.410730°N 75.671329°W / 41.410730; -75.671329
Area 62.48 acres (25.3 ha)
Established October 30, 1986
Visitors 88,031 (in 2005)
Governing body National Park Service

Steamtown National Historic Site (NHS) is a railroad museum and heritage railroad located on 62.48 acres (25.3 ha)[1] in downtown Scranton, Pennsylvania, at the site of the former Scranton yards of the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad (DL&W). The museum is built around and incorporates a working replica turntable and roundhouse, which includes two original roundhouse sections built in 1902 and 1937.

Overview of Steamtown NHS

Contents

History

Established by an act of the United States Congress on October 30, 1986, Steamtown officially opened to the public in the summer of 1995, and celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2005. Congress established Steamtown to interpret the story of main line steam railroading between 1850 and 1950.

Much of the collection of steam (and a few diesel) locomotives and freight and passenger cars was originally part of Steamtown USA. That collection was originally assembled by the late F. Nelson Blount and was located in several places in the northeast United States before moving from Bellows Falls, Vermont, to Scranton in 1984. Blount's death in an airplane accident in 1967 had cut off the main financial support for Steamtown USA, but much of his original dream to have a museum in a working railroad yard with excursions on steam trains and a functional locomotive shop has been realized at Steamtown NHS.

Museum and collection

View of the turntable and museum / roundhouse

Steamtown NHS is located within a working railroad yard and incorporates the surviving elements of the DL&W Scranton roundhouse and locomotive repair shops. The new Visitor Center, Theater, Technology and History Museums are built in the style of and on the site of the missing portions of the original roundhouse, giving the impression of what the complete structure was like. (The 1902 roundhouse was originally a complete circle).

Visitors can see museum exhibits about the history and technology of steam railroads in the United States and Pennsylvania, as well as see many locomotives and freight and passenger cars on display. Some locomotives on display are open so that visitors can climb in and see the controls. A mail car, railroad executives' passenger car (with dining room and sleeping / lounge areas), a boxcar, two cabooses, and a recreated DL&W station with ticket window are also open to walk through. A steam locomotive with cutaway sections helps visitors understand the operation of steam engines better. Part of one of the 1865 roundhouse inspection pits uncovered in archaeological excavations is also preserved in situ, under glass.

Other exhibits include the history of early railroads, life on the railroad, the relationship between railroads in terms of business, labor, and government, and the history of the Lackawanna Railroad. There is a short film shown throughout the day in the theater.

Canadian National #3254 steam locomotive waiting to pull two passenger cars on a tour of the Steamtown NHS yard

The museum has a very interesting mix of rolling stock, with only a few pieces that are historically significant to the site. Some of those are a DL&W steam engine, caboose, boxcar, a former WWII troop sleeper that the DL&W converted to maintenance of way service, and numerous passenger cars. Former Oneida & Western/Rahway Valley 2-8-0 engine #15 was overhauled by the DL&W during the steam era. Other noteworthy pieces are the popular Union Pacific Big Boy #4012, CPR #2929 (a rare Jubilee 4-4-4) and Reading Company T-1 #2124. Other engines were owned by Steamtown NHS/Steamtown USA Foundation but have been traded or sold over the years. One of these includes Canadian Pacific 2816 the last remaining non-streamlined Canadian Pacific 4-6-4 Hudson. The engine has been restored to working order and hauls trips for its original owner, Canadian Pacific Railway.

Engines CPR #2317, CN #3254, and Baldwin #26 are considered operable, although as of winter 2007-8, Baldwin #26 not active. During the summer of 2008, CN#3254 was doing excursions, CPR#2317 was seen running but did not make any excursions during RailFest 2008. CN #3254 operated excursions during RailFest 2009 while CPR #2317 hauled the Scranton Limited. Baldwin #26 is entering the final stages of a long rebuild, slated to be completed in 2011. B&M #3713 is under restoration. When this is complete, this will be the first American engine at either Steamtown USA or Steamtown NHS to be restored to working order. Engines NKP #759, CN #47, Trap Rock #43, Rahway Valley #15 have operated at Steamtown before, but not since the move to Pennsylvania.

The following engines have visited the site before: NYS&W #142, BM&R #425, a Lowville & Beaver River Shay, former Reading Company T-1 #2102 (not operable) and MILW #261.

Demonstrations, tours, and excursions

A Steamtown excursion crosses Tunkhannock Viaduct.

Steamtown NHS offers a variety of demonstrations, tours, and excursions that show how railroads functioned in the age of steam. Park rangers give guided tours of the locomotive shop (where you can see work being done on the steam engines in the original roundhouse area), talks on the history of Steamtown, the Union Pacific Big Boy locomotive on display, and demonstrations of the turntable on a regular basis. The Scranton yard occupies about 40 acres (16 ha).

Several working locomotives take visitors on short excursions through the Scranton yard in the spring, summer, and fall. Most are on passenger coaches, but there are also caboose and hand car rides offered. These rides are included in the admission, although reservations may be required.

Longer excursions are scheduled with separate tickets. These include a ride on a Pullman coach and longer trips to several nearby towns, including the Lackawanna River valley and Carbondale, Tobyhanna and Moscow, Pennsylvania. On rare occasions, excursions are run to the Delaware Water Gap, East Stroudsburg, Cresco, or on the Canadian Pacific Railway to Binghamton, NY.

Steamtown also plays host to RailCamp[1], a program put on by the National Park Service and National Railway Historical Society to train future railroad employees and fans of the industry in railroad operation and preservation.

Restoration Projects

Boston and Maine Railroad No. 3713

Whyte System Type: 4-6-2 Pacific Class: P-4a, Series 3710-3714 Builder: Lima Locomotive Works Date Built: December 1934 Builder's Number: 7625

Cylinders (diameter x stroke in inches): 23 x 28 Boiler Pressure (in lbs. per square inch): 260 Diameter of Drive Wheels (in inches): 80 Tractive Effort (in lbs.): 40,900; with booster, 52,800

Tender Capacity: Coal (in tons): 18 Water (in gallons): 12,000 Weight on Drivers (in lbs.): 209,800

Slated to be done 2015.

Delaware, Lackawanna & Western R.R. No. 565

Whyte System Type: 2-6-0 Mogul Class: 10c Builder: American Locomotive Company (Schenectady Works) Date Built: 1908 Builder's Number: 45528

Cylinders (diameter x stroke in inches): 20-1/2 x 26 Boiler Pressure (in lbs. per square inch): 200 Diameter of Drive Wheels (in inches): 63 Tractive Effort (in lbs.): 29,484

Tender Capacity: Coal (in tons): 10 Water (in gallons): 6500 Weight on Drivers (in lbs.): 140,000; Total Weight: 161,000

This is a Cosmetic Restore only Slated to be done by 2013. She then will be placed in the 1902 Roundhouse on Display. [2]

Baldwin Locomotive Works (Eddystone) No. 26

Whyte System Type: 0-6-0 Switch engine Class:

Builder: Baldwin Locomotive Works Date Built: March 1929 Builder's Number: 60733

Cylinders (diameter x stroke in inches): 20 x 24 Boiler Pressure (in lbs. per square inch): 180 Diameter of Drive Wheels (in inches): 50 Tractive Effort (in lbs.): 29,375

Tender Capacity: Coal (in tons): Water (in gallons): Weight on Drivers (in lbs.): 124,000

Slated to be done 2011

Nearby attractions

The Electric City Trolley Museum is located at the other end of the Steamtown parking lot and offers trolley excursions. The museum takes its name from Scranton's status as the first city in the United States to have a completely electric streetcar system in 1886, earning it the nickname, "The Electric City."[2]

There is a walkway over the rail yard to the Mall at Steamtown, but this closes when Steamtown NHS does.

Also within walking distance is the 1908 Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad Station, now a Radisson hotel. The station has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1977, as are several other sites associated with railroads in Scranton.

See also

External links

References

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