Steamtown U.S.A. Bellows Falls, Vermont

B&M Rail Yard, North Walpole, NH
Before there was Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton, PA, there was Steamtown U.S.A. in Bellows Falls, VT. Steamtown U.S.A. was owned and operated by Nelson Blount and the Bellows Falls location was not the first.

Mr. Blount bought the narrow gauge Edaville Railroad in South Carver, MA in 1955. His first standard gauge locomotive was the Boston & Maine 1455. As he began to collect other standard gauge steam locomotives, it became apparent that he would need a location serviced by standard gauge tracks. So, in 1960 Mr. Blount purchased a Boston & Maine rail yard in North Walpole, NH and moved all of his equipment there. [photo] [Google Maps view Steamtown U.S.A. location in Walpole, NH]

In 1964 Nelson Blount obtained Rutland trackage rights between North Walpole, NH and Westmoreland, NH. Once again, Mr. Blount moved his steam collection from the Boston and Maine rail yard in North Walpole, NH to a new site roughly two miles north in Bellows Falls, VT. This latest location was at the former site of a proposed Rutland yard in Riverside, just north of North Walpole and Bellows Falls, VT. Tracks fanning out from a turntable provided an excellent place to display his collection of steam locomotives. Over the years, excursion trains were run out of four different locations: Sunapee, NH, Keene, NH, North Walpole, NH, and Bellows Valls, VT. For a more complete description of Steamtown U.S.A.'s early history, see this page. [Google Maps view of Steamtown U.S.A. location at Riverside, Bellows Falls, VT]

Tragedy struck in 1967 when Nelson Blount was killed when his private plane crashed into a tree in Marlborough, NH. Nelson was only 49. This event took a lot of steam out of Steamtown U.S.A. Most of the operational steam locomotives were either sold or fell into disrepair. Then, in 1970, Vermont passed air quality regulations which prohibited steam operations. Diesel locomotives were then used on Steamtown U.S.A. excursions and ridership fell dramatically. Despite the air quality regulations, the Steamtown Foundation again began operating with a steam locomotive. By 1983, Steamtown U.S.A. again had many (six) operating steam locomotives.

Despite the resurrection of steam locomotives, Steamtown U.S.A. was in financial trouble. It was determined that the main problem was its location -- isolated from any major population center. In 1984, Steamtown U.S.A. was moved to Scranton, PA. Still losing money, the Steamtown Foundation went bankrupt in 1986. Congress created the Steamtown National Historic Site and the National Park Service acquired the collection. [Google Maps view of Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton, PA]

If it were not for Mr. Nelson Blount amassing the incredible collection of steam locomotives he did, we would not have many of the operating locomotives and museums we do have today.

The following photographs show the collection when it was displayed at Riverside, just north of Bellows Falls, VT.

Russ White Photo
From left to right (last four locomotives)
  • Norwood & St. Lawrence Mogul (2-6-0) No. 210 (currently at Steamtown)
  • Canadian Pacific Railways class F1a Jubalee (4-4-4) No. 2929 (currently at Steamtown)
  • Bullard Machine 0-4-0T No. 2 (currently at Steamtown) Another tank locomotive is parked behind No. 2 but I don't know which one it is. It is possibly NH Trap Rock 0-4-0T No. 43 (currently at Steamtown)
  • British Rails (formerly SR) "Repton" 4-4-0 No. 926 (currently at North Yorkshire Moors Railway, Grosmont, N. Yorkshire, UK)
    Note: At one time, there was another English or Irish tank locomotive at Steamtown. It too was returned to the UK. Steamtown provided a "safe haven" for both until they could be returned and restored.
  • Larger photo

Russ White Photo
From left to right (first three locomotives)
  • Grand Trunk Western class U-1-c Mountain (4-8-2) No. 6039 (currently at Steamtown)
  • Canadian National Railways class S-1-d Mikado (2-8-2) No. 3377(2977) (currently at Steamtown)
  • Lowville & Beaver River Consolidation (2-8-0) No. 1923 (currently at Steamtown)
  • (Mostly obscured) Canadian National Railways class X-10a Hudson (4-6-4T) tank locomotive No. 47 (currently at Steamtown)
  • (Mostly obscured) Canadian Pacific Railways class H-1b Hudson (4-6-4) 2816 (currently at BC Rail Steam Shop)
  • (Mostly obscured) Canadian Pacific Railways class G3c Pacific (4-6-2) 2317 (currently at Steamtown)
  • (Almost impossible to see) Norwood & St. Lawrence Mogul (2-6-0) No. 210 (currently at Steamtown)
  • Canadian Pacific Railways class F1a Jubalee (4-4-4) No. 2929 (currently at Steamtown)
  • Take a close look at the locomotive in the distance far to the right in this photo. It is Norfolk & Western 1218 prior to its return to excursion service on the Norfolk Southern. When Nelson Blount got 1218 from Union Carbide in the 1960s, the 1202 and 1208 were stripped of parts and scrapped. those parts were used to make 1218 complete.
  • Larger photo

Carl H Sturner Photo
Canadian Pacific Railways "Fast Passenger Service" locomotives at Steamtown (from left to right)
  • Canadian Pacific Railways class F1a Jubalee (4-4-4) No. 2929 (currently at Steamtown)
  • Canadian Pacific Railways class G3c Pacific (4-6-2) No. 2317 (currently operational at Steamtown)
  • Canadian Pacific Railways class H1b Hudson (4-6-4) No. 2816 (currently at the Province of BC, N. Vancouver, BC)
  • Larger photo

1983 Riverside / Bellows Falls Photos (Courtesy Warren Small)

More Photos From Bellows Falls and Earlier

Former Steamtown Locomotives: Where They Are Today

Over the years many locomotives have come and gone from Steamtown. The photos above contain a few of these locomotives. The list below shows many former Steamtown locomotives and where they are today.

Locomotives from Bellows Falls that are located in Scranton today

  • Bullard Machine Company 0-4-0T #1
  • EJ Lavino Steel Corp 0-6-0T #3
  • Meadow River 2-Truck Shay #1
  • Groveton Paper 2-4-2T #7
  • Brooks Scanlon 2-6-2 #1
  • Rahway Valley 2-8-0 #15
  • New Haven Trap Rock 0-4-0T #43
  • Nickel Plate 4-6-0 #44
  • Canadian National 4-6-4T #47
  • Norwood and St. Lowrence 2-6-0 #210
  • Maine Central 2-8-0 #519
  • Nickel Plate 2-8-4 #759
  • Illinois Central 2-8-0 #790
  • Lowville and Beaver River 2-8-0 #1923
  • Reading 4-8-4 #2124
  • Canadian Pacific 4-6-2 #2317
  • Canadian Pacific 4-4-4 #2929
  • Canadian National 2-8-2 #3377
  • Boston & Maine 4-6-2 #3713
  • Union Pacific 4-8-8-4 #4012
  • Grand Trunk Western 4-8-2 #6039

Locomotives that were not moved to Scranton

  • Tralee and Dingle Railway 2-6-2T #5 was returned to Tralee, Ireland in 1988
  • Eastern Gas & Fuel Co. Baldwin 0-6-0 #4 was sold to the Gorham Historical Society. It was restored as Grand Trunk #7531 (which it never was) and put on display at the Gorham Depot. Photo
  • Simon Wrecking Co. Porter 0-6-0T #2 was sold to a private owner in Newbury, MA. An overhaul of the locomotive was aborted. It was stored in salvage yard for some time. It was finally purchased by the Valley Railroad in Essex, CT. Bellows Falls Photo | Photo
  • Simon Wrecking Co. Alco-Cooke 0-4-0T #6 was reported in L&RP as becoming property of Clark's Trading Post in NH. Curiously, the old Steamtown USA brochure lists their Simon 0-4-0T as being a 1925 Baldwin numbered 1. However, the original documentation that Simon Wrecking provided to Steamtown USA back in 1968 says it is a Baldwin numbered 6. Steamtown USA researchers determined that it was actually an Alco-Cooke and the current owner concurs with this. Bellows Falls Photo
  • Bevier & Southern Railroad Brooks 2-6-0 #109 (was IC Railroad #560, then #3719, then #3706) was sold to Dave Conrad and resold to the IRM. Current photo
  • Canadian National 4-6-0 #1551 (sister to 1395) traded to the owner of the Ohio Central Railroad in exchange for Baldwin Locomotive Works 0-6-0 #26.
  • Cavan & Lietrim Ry (Ireland) 3' gauge 2-6-2T was donated by owner Edgar Mead to preservation society in Ireland and returned home.
  • Canadian National 2-6-0 #96 was sent from Bellows Falls to Scranton but never made it. It went only as far as Binghamton, NY when it was traded to a private owner from Canada in deal to get DL&W #565. 96 was later sold to the Ohio Central Railroad. It is currently stored and in pretty rough shape.
  • Canadian National 2-6-0 #89 ownership passed to Blount's Green Mountain Railroad (it was never Steamtown property) along with CPR 4-6-2s 1246 and 1293. The ownership of #1246 and #1293 went to the Steamtown Foundation and #89 was sold to the Strasburg Railroad in 1972. 1293 now operates on the Ohio Central Railroad. 1246 is now located at the Railroad Museum of New England, Waterville, CT.
  • N&W 1218 was traded to Norfolk Southern for two diesels in 1985.

Locomotives that were sold or traded before the NPS takeover

  • London & Southwestern British 0-4-4T #53 sold in 1986 and returned home.
  • Southern RY (of England) British "Schools" class 3-cylinder 4-4-0 #926 "Repton" was used a few times at Scranton during the Summer of 1986. It was later sold and returned home to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway in Grosmont, N. Yorkshire, UK.
    I had a opportunity to ride behind her at the North Yorkshire Moors Railway in 1997. That day I believe we had at least 8 BR standard coaches and she hauled them like a trooper only slipped a couple of times. When this loco ran in the states it was notorious for slipping and could barely pull two coaches. When operated at Scranton it was always run with the "pup" (their SW9). The folks in Britain I talked to indicated all they did was re-profile the drivers, but I would think the spring rigging must have been adjusted as well. The Repton is a great steamer and I was happy to see here back in her native habitat.
  • Canadian Pacific 4-6-2 #1278 was traded with cash to the Gettysburg Railroad for Canadian National 2-8-2 #3254 in 1986. 1278 is now at the Age of Steam Roundhouse.
  • Canadian Pacific 4-6-0 #1098 was sold to George Hart and restored in Jim Thorpe, PA. It was operated by Rail Tours Inc. during Sep-Oct 1994 and then stored. The latest information indicates that they are looking for a new "steam person".

Locomotives sold at final Steamtown USA auction in 1988

  • Canadian Pacific 4-6-2 #1246 was sold to the Connecticut Valley Railway Museum (now Railroad Museum of New England).
  • Canadian National 4-6-0 #1395 (sister of 1551) was sold to a private owner in Coopersville, MI. Currently 1395 is at the Coopersville & Marne Railway.
  • Massachusetts Electric 0-4-0T #1 was sold to a private owner. It is now in an industrial park in Oaks, PA.
  • New Haven Trap Rock 0-4-0T #38 (sister #43 still in collection) was sold. Today, #38 is being restored and is kept inside a building in Branford, CT. It was recently inspected and is looking good.
  • An unusual (vertical boilered) 1877 Belgian 0-4-0T, the "Prince of Liege" was sold to a private owner and at last report was displayed near a railroad station in Great Bend, PA.

Other Former Steamtown USA Locomotives

  • Hasard Coal 0-4-0RT #3364 is now at the Depot House Restaurant, Susquehanna, PA
  • German Federal 0-8-0T #81.004 is now back in Kassel, Hessen, Germany
  • French National 0-4-4-0T #104 is now back in Tournon, France
  • Southern Pacific 4-6-0 #314 is now at the Galveston Railroad Museum, Galveston, TX
  • Maine Central 2-8-0 #501 is now at the Conway Scenic Railroad, North Conway, NH
  • Union Pacific 4-4-0 #737 was once offered in trade for DL&W Camelback #952 at the Museum of Transportation in St. Louis. It was later sent to the Nevada State Railroad Museum. From there it went to Portola. It is now located at the Double T in Stevenson, CA.
  • Canadian National 4-6-2 #5288 is now at the TVRM Grand Junction Station, Chattanooga, TN
  • Canadian Pacific Railway 4-6-4 2816 was acquired by the Canadian Pacific Railway.


All material Copyright ©
Wes Barris