Steamtown National Historic Site, Scranton, PA

CN 2-8-2 3254 on the turntable.

Steamtown National Historic Site is located at the site of the former Delaware, Lackawanna & Western main rail yard in downtown Scranton, PA. Most of the steam locomotives at Steamtown were originally collected by Nelson F. Blount who preserved them at several locations including Steamtown U.S.A. which was located in Bellows Falls, VT. Mr. Blount began his steam locomotive collection in a Boston & Maine yard in North Walpole, NH.

After Mr. Blount's death in 1967, the Steamtown Foundation continued to operate Steamtown. Steamtown began to experience financial trouble. It was decided that the main problem was its location -- isolated from any major population center. In 1984, Steamtown U.S.A. was moved to Scranton, PA. Despite the move, Steamtown continued to struggle financially and went bankrupt in 1986. At that point Congress created the Steamtown National Historic Site and the National Park Service acquired the collection.

I visited Steamtown during the summer of 1993 while much of it was still under construction.

Baldwin 0-6-0 26

Baldwin 0-6-0 26 (operational)

Baldwin 26 is one of three operation steam locomotives at Steamtown. In 1993 it was used to power a short train ride from the main grounds to the roundhouse and back. This locomotive was built in 1929 by Baldwin and was retained by Baldwin for switching duties at the Eddystone plant. In 1948 it was sold to Jackson Iron & Steel in Jackson, OH. It recently underwent a complete overhaul.

Canadian National 4-6-4T Baltic Tank 47

CNR 4-6-4 Baltic Tank 47. 1993 Wes Barris photo.

Number 47 (formerly GTW 1542), a class X-10a 4-6-4T was displayed near the park entrance in 1993. 47 was used in commuter service in the Montreal area. Dimensionally, 47 is closer to that of a ten-wheeler (4-6-0) rather than a Hudson. But, since it is a tank locomotive, the wheels under the tender are included in the wheel arrangement.

47 was in pretty good shape when it came to Steamtown. It had operated for about five weeks in 1961 before being taken out of service by a boiler inspector.

Canadian National 2-8-2 Mikado 3254

CNR 2-8-2 Mikado 3254. 1993 Wes Barris photo.

Canadian National 3254 was built in 1917 by the Canadian Locomotive Company. It was retired in 1958 and put in storage. It was purchased by Willis Barron of Ashland, PA in 1961 for operation on a Reading Railroad branch. However, that branch of the Reading was abandoned before 3254 was ready. The Gettysburg Railroad purchased 3254 from Mr. Barron in 1982 and moved it to Gettysburg. 3254 turned out to be too heavy for the Gettysburg Railroad. It was acquired from the Gettysburg Railroad in 1987 in a trade for Canadian Pacific 4-6-2 1278.

Steamtown lettered 3254 as Lackawanna 1271.

Canadian National 2-8-2 Mikado 3377

CNR 2-8-2 Mikado 3377. 1993 Wes Barris photo.

3377 (formerly 2977), a class S-1-d 2-8-2 Mikado was built in 1919 by the Canadian Locomotive Company. It has relatively low mileage and is reportedly in good condition.

Canadian National 4-6-2 Pacific 5288

CNR 4-6-2 Pacific 5288. 1993 Wes Barris photo.

Number 5288 (formerly 516), a class J-7-b 4-6-2 built in 1918 by the Montreal Locomotive Works. It is very similar in dimensions to a USRA Pacific.

Canadian Pacific 4-4-4 Jubilee 2929

CPR 4-4-4 Jubilee 2929. 1993 Wes Barris photo.

2929 is a unique locomotive. It was built in 1938 by the Canadian Locomotive Company. It represents one of two classes of 4-4-4 locomotives. It has 75" drivers and is semi-streamlined and was used on lightweight streamlined passenger trains. 2929 is an F-1-a class 4-4-4. Interestingly, the other class, F-2-a, had the main rods connected to the first set of drivers. 3003, one of the member of the F-2-a class, held the speed record of 112.5 mph in 1936.

2929 was sold to Nelson Blount in 1959.

Canadian Pacific 4-6-2 Pacific 2317

CPR 4-6-2 Pacific. 2000 photo courtesy Stefano Curtarolo.

Canadian Pacific 2317 was built in 1923 by the Montreal Locomotive Works. It served on the CPR pulling heavyweight passenger trains on main line runs. 2317 was retired and put in storage in 1959. 2317 was acquired by Nelson Blount for his Steamtown USA collection in Bellows Falls, VT in 1965. In 1978 it was restored to operational condition.

Photos

  • 2317 (1993 Wes Barris photo)

Canadian Pacific 4-6-4 Hudson 2816

CPR 4-6-4 Hudson. 1993 Wes Barris photo.

2816 was built in 1930 by the Montreal Locomotive Works. The 4-6-4 design allowed for a mechanical stoker and larger firebox. This allowed for long distance passenger trains. Nelson Blount acquired the 2816 in 1964.

In the early 2000s 2816 was moved to Canada. Today, 2816 is stored operational at the Ogden Shops in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

EJ Lavino & PSE&G Yard Locomotives

EJ Lavino 0-6-0 & Fireless Locomotive. 1993 Wes Barris photo.

On the left is one of three surviving E.J. Lavino & Co.'s 0-6-0Ts It originally was owned and operated by the Poland Spring Railroad as their #2.

On the right is a 1923 H.K. Porter fireless locomotive built for the Public Service Electric & Gas Company of New Jersey. 6816 is a fireless locomotive. It was used at the Newark, NJ coal burning electricity generating plant where a steam supply was readily available for recharging the locomotive.

Grand Trunk Western 4-8-2 Mountain 6039

GTW 4-8-2 6039. 1993 photo courtesy Dave Smith.

6039 was built in 1925 by Baldwin. Toward the end of its career, in the 1950s, the GTW leased the 6039 to the Central Vermont Railway where it finished out its years of service. Nelson Blount purchased the 6039 from the Canadian National Railway in 1959. It was moved from St. Albans, VT to the Pleasure Island amusement park in Wakefield, MA and placed on display. From there it was later moved to Steamtown USA in Bellows Falls.

Notice the Boxpok drivers which were added in the 1940s.

Maine Central 2-8-0 Consolidation 519

MEC 2-8-0 Consolidation 519. 1993 Wes Barris photo.

This is a hand-fired class W-1 consolidation. It was built in 1913 by ALCO. It is known has a high-boilered locomotive allowing a wider firebox to sit above the driving wheels. Nelson Blount bought it in 1963.

519 is one of only two surviving Maine Central steam locomotives. Notice that it is missing its main rod.

Meadow River Lumber 3-truck Shay

Meadow River Lumber Shay. 1993 Wes Barris photo.

This is former Meadow River Lumber Company three-truck Shay number 1. I'm not sure what I think of that balloon smoke stack.

New York, Chicago & St. Louis 2-8-4 Berkshire 759

Nickel Plate 2-8-4 Berkshire. 1993 photo courtesy Dave Smith.

759 was built in 1944 by Lima. After serving on the Nickel Plate in 1958 she was sent to Conneaut, OH to be overhauled. That overhaul was never completed. In 1962 759 was acquired by Nelson Blount for his Steamtown USA collection in Bellow Falls, VT. Ross Rowland acquired 759 and restored it to operating condition in 1968. 759 then operating in excursion service including the 1969 "Gold Spike Special".

In 1973, in preparation for excursion duty on the Delaware & Hudson, 759 was stored in a D&H roundhouse in Rouses Point, NY. Negotiations for the excursion broke down and during the winter the D&H pulled 759 out of the roundhouse without draining water out of the locomotive. The cold weather caused water to freeze inside various pipes, connections, and fittings causing them to break. Steamtown sued the D&H for their negligence.

In 1975, 759 was dead-headed back to Bellows Falls. In 1977 Steamtown planned to repair 759 for excursion service once again. However, as repairs were being made, during a pressurized hydro test, one of its flues burst. Steamtown ordered a completely new set of flues. By this time the proposed excursions did not materialize so 759 remained in storage with its flues removed. Today, 759 remains in very good condition but still needing a major overhaul.

Reading T-1 4-8-4 Northern 2124

Reading T-1 4-8-4 Northern 2124. 1993 Wes Barris photo.

Reading 2124 certainly has an interesting history. It was built in 1947 in the Reading Company Shops using parts from a Baldwin-built 2-8-0 which was originally built in the 1920s. All of Readings 4-8-4 Northerns were rebuilt from earlier 2-8-0s by Reading. The 2-8-0 boilers were extended with very large smokeboxes. Many components were created new for the 4-8-4s. However, the 2-8-0s cylinders and large wootten fireboxes were used unchanged.

After retirement the 2124 was one of three (the first) locomotives to power the famous "Reading Rambles" in 1959 and into the 1960s. The other locomotives used were 2100 and 2102. 2124 was retired from use on the "Reading Rambles" and sent to Steamtown USA in 1963.

Photos

Union Pacific 4-8-8-4 Big Boy 4012

UP Big Boy 4012. 1993 Wes Barris photo.

UP 4012 was built in 1941 and retired in 1962 with over a million miles. It was donated by the UP to Nelson Blount and sent to Steamtown USAs North Walpole location. Later it (and the rest of the collection were moved to Bellows Falls. When the steam locomotive collection was moved to Scranton, 4012 was too heavy to cross a bridge to the new Steamtown site. As a result, 4012 sat on display for 10 years in the rear of the Lackawanna Station Hotel in downtown Scranton. In 1993 once the bridge between the hotel and Steamtown was replaced, 4012 was moved into the yard joining the other locomotives.

Photos

  • UP 4012 (Photo courtesy Michael Hahn)
  • UP 4012 (1998 photo courtesy Richard Duley)

The Yard

CN 3254 & UP 4012. 1993 Wes Barris photo.
CN 5288, CP 2816, CP 1293. 1993 Wes Barris photo.

In 1993, the public was not allowed in the "yard" where about half of the collection of steam locomotives were kept.

One photo shows CN Class S-1-b Mikado 3254 under steam and the rear of UP Big Boy 4012 centipede tender.

The other photo shows (from left to right) Canadian National 4-6-2 5288, Canadian Pacific 4-6-4 2816, the rear of a snow plow, a passenger car, and Canadian Pacific 4-6-2 1293.

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