On my way home from the family vacation a few weeks ago, I took a little excursion up to Scranton PA and visited Steamtown National Historic Site. Steamtown is an interesting story. Once called Steamtown USA with its home in Bellows Falls, Vermont, it started with one individuals, Nelson Blount, PRIVATE collection of steam engines and rolling stock and eventually wound up a National Park Service site in Scranton PA. It is unique in that its the only Nation Park of its type in the US; a park not devoted to preserving beautiful landscapes or mountain sides, its all about preserving a part of Americana that connected two halves of a country and slowly died the victim of advancing technologies.
Now housed in the heart of Scranton, PA at the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad yard and round house, the park still services and restores these old iron horses. A fine example is this 4-8-8-4 Big Boy
Only 25 of these 4000 class 4-8-8-4 were built by Alco for the Unions Pacific Rail Road. The UP 4012 is one of only 8 still in existence today and is a beautiful sample of Steam’s hay day on the rails. It’s amazing to me that this monster found its way to one mans private collection but thank god it did.
Steam is not the only thing at Steamtown. This EMD F3, built sometime between 1945 and 1949 by General Motors’ Electro-Motive Division is one of 20 A units bought by the DL&W RR. It has been beautifully restored and is used occasionally for excursion trips.
The greatest thing about a rail museum is it provides for all sort of interesting photography.
It was a very hot day but very fun trip back to a time where Steam was king of the railways and train travel was romantic and glamorous. If you happen to be in Northeaster part of PA I strongly suggest you stop in and take a look around. Its an extremely educational location ; very well done by the US Park Services.