Steamtown National Historic Site
Steamtown National Historic Site occupies about 40 acres of the Scranton railroad yard of the former Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad, one of the earliest rail lines in northeastern Pennsylvania. At the heart of the park is the large collection of standard-gauge steam locomotives and freight and passenger cars that New England seafood processor F. Nelson Blount assembed in the 1950s and 1960s. In 1984, 17 years after Blount's untimely death, the Steamtown Foundation for the Preservation of Steam and Railroad Americana, Inc., brought the collection to Scranton, where is occupied the former DL and W yard. When Steamtown National Historic Site was created, the yard and the collection became part of the National Park System.
The Steamtown Collection consists of locomotives, freight cars, passenger cars, and maintenance-of-way equipment from several historic railroads. The locomotives range in size from a tiny industrial switcher engine built in 1937 by the H.K. Porter Company for the Bullard Company, to a huge Union Pacific Big Boy build in 1941 by the American Locomotive Company (Alco). The oldest locomotive is a freight engine built by Alco in 1903 for the Chicago Union Transfer Railway Company.
A Special History Study of the locomotive collection at Steamtown National Historic Site was prepared for the National Park Service by Gordon Chappell, an National Park Service historian. This document contains the results of many months of research conducted in 1987 and 1988 for preparation of a Scope of Collections Statement for Steamtown National Historic Site. During the course of that project, the author accumulated a wealth of important raw data that contributed to a determination of which rolling stock should be acquired from the Steamtown Foundation for preservation at the park.
I certainly did not expect a historic train site to be this entertaining. Railfest (a 2 day annual event) delighted my inner child with the opportunity to interact with heavy machinery and ride a motorized miniature rail car. Really appreciated the freedom to explore the rail yard at free will. In the end I was overwhelmed and in need of a second visit to see it all. Another great place on the East Coast to reap the benefits of being a National Parks Service pass member.
It is really the LD&W National Museum. The claim is they are preserving the history of steam locomotives. In their shop sit a GP and An F3B which are being restored. Meanwhile a half dozen or more irreplaceable steam locomotives sit out in the weather.. Without even a rattle can of paint on them. So disappointed after my first ever visit this week.
Plan to spend at least 2-3 hours here. The museum is new and very nicely designed, appealing to young and old alike. There are train rides throughout the day on Sundays in the summer, as well as several dozen huge engines inside and out that you can walk right up to. The old wheel house roundabout has been well preserved; the Pullman sleeper car and mail car were highlights.
Great National Park telling a story of our nation's history. Incredible the amount of work that goes into maintaining a steam locomotive! It's a story that this park keeps alive. Definitely worth the visit for anyone interested in transportation, industrial, economic, or mechanical history.
Loved the history, Lori was our guide she was the best! It would be nice to take a train ride from Jim Thorpe to Scranton. Amazing history! Thank you for all the hard work you put into restoring those grand engines.