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Steamtown's  Railfest  2010

Top:  Engineer "Shorty" McWilliams is congratulated by the Superintendent after his last run upon arrival at Winnipeg, Manitoba - 24 Jan 1927 Photographer unknown. Bottom:  Canadian Pacific number 2317 today at Steamtown in Scranton, Pennsylvania, USA - 4 Sep 2010 William Slim (Shorty's grandson).

 Link to top   Introduction   Photographs

 External link This is the fourth year Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton, Pennsylvania, has held Railfest. Railfest 2010 took place on the weekend of 4 and 5 September at their large railway complex located in downtown Scranton.
Several visiting diesel locomotives were displayed on the tracks radiating from the roundhouse turntable and a pair of Reading FP7A units arrived with a train from the east.
The main attraction, as far as the crowds were concerned, was the two operating steam locomotives, Canadian National 2-8-2 Mikado class S1b number 3254 and Canadian Pacific 4-6-2 Pacific class G3c number 2317. Both engines pulled passenger cars on a short trip within Scranton city limits known as the "Scranton Limited" with CN 3254 making one trip to Moscow and back on Sunday, 5 Sep 2010.
Steamtown is open daily except Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Years Day. Visiting hours are 10:00 to 16:00 January through March, 09:00 to 17:00 April to December. The current park entrance fee for 2010 is US$6.00 for all ages 17 and older. It includes admission to the railroad yard, History Museum, Roundhouse, Technology Museum, walking tours, and most theatre programs. The Scranton Limited fare is an additional US$3.00 and cab rides, when available, are US$30.00 with a minimum age of 16.

 Link to top   A Brief History of Steamtown

 External link Steamtown is based in Scranton, Pennsylvania, where the old railroad yard of the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western contains most of the structures constructed in the early 1900's. By the mid-1920's the DL&W was in decline as the demand for anthracite coal fell off. Diesel-electric locomotives arrived on the scene and by 1949 the steam locomotive repair shop was closed, replaced by a diesel shop in 1950. A merger with the Erie Railroad in 1960 caused more yard functions to be shut down as the newly formed Erie Lackawanna Railroad came into existence. In 1976 a takeover by Conrail put an end to operations in the Scranton yard. The turntable was removed in 1980. The yard sat idle until Steamtown USA arrived in 1984, which brings up the name F. Nelson Blount.
Francis Nelson Blount was born 21 May 1918 in Rhode Island. As an adult he became president of the multi-million dollar Blount Seafood Corporation. The assured income from this endeavor provided the funds for his many interests, one of which was steam locomotives. In 1950 he was trained as an engineer by the Boston & Maine Railroad. In 1956 he purchased the narrow gauge Edaville Railroad in South Carver, Massachusetts.
He then began to amass a collection of standard gauge steam locomotives which were stored at Walpole, New Hampshire, on land purchased from the Boston & Maine Railroad. Blount's intention was to create a State Railroad Museum but he was unable to gain support. Vermont was more promising so he acquired trackage in Bellows Falls.
28 Jun 1963 saw the incorporation of the non-profit "Steamtown Foundation for the Preservation of Steam and Railroad Americanna", known as Steamtown USA. As a non-profit organization Steamtown USA was able to add more historic railroad locomotives to its growing collection.
In 1967 F. Nelson Blount was killed in an aviation accident.
Operations of Steamtown continued following his death but by 1972 Steamtown was in trouble financially when steam powered excursions encountered operational problems.
A new director of operations, Don Ball Jr. took over the Foundation but lacking support from the local business community and the State of Vermont he began to search for a new location for Steamtown. Scranton, Pennsylvania, was selected in 1980 and by 1984 Steamtown USA began its move to Scranton.
At Scranton there was insufficient ridership to pay off the loans taken out to cover the move there, let alone daily business expenses. By 1986 bankruptcy stared Steamtown in the face with the possibility of having the collection liquidated to pay its debt.
At this time the National Park Service stepped up to the plate. Legislation creating the Steamtown National Historic Site and, most importantly, supporting funding was approved by Congress. This new Steamtown run by the Park Service offically opened on 1 Jul 1988.

 Link to top   Equipment at Steamtown   Photographs

There was an assortment of equipment at Steamtown for Railfair 2010. Most were part of Steamtown's collection but there were visiting diesel units on display as well. These ranged from older cab and hood units to Canadian Pacific's SD90MAC, to Norfolk Southern's experimental electric locomotive number 999, a prototype 1,500-horsepower switcher that relies solely on rechargeable batteries for power.

 Link to top   Museum Exhibits   Photographs

 Internal link The 1902 Roundhouse & Technology Museum is comprised of six sections Section A contains a full size steam locomotive switcher with its parts cut away so visitors may view the inner parts. Section B holds the "Generating and Using Steam" exhibit. In Section C be sure to examine the "backhead" of a steam locomotive. Section D features the "Whistle Game" to amuse children. Section E presents "Architecture and Engineering" with its focus on the Nicholson Viaduct, still today's largest reinforced concrete railway bridge. Finally, Section F screens a 15 minute video on the disasters of railroading.

 Link to top   The "Scranton Limited"   Photographs

The "Scranton Limited" operated both Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday it was pulled by Canadian Pacific 2317 and on Sunday Canadian National 3254.
The train, consisting of one steam locomotive and two coaches departed from the roundhouse turntable track. It would back up through the yard to the bridge over the Lackawanna River then reverse and run past the Steamtown Mall beneath the overhead pedestrian walkway towards the Unversity of Scranton at the top of a grade, a distance of about 1 1/3 miles. It would reverse once more and return to the turntable track.
Trains departed at 10:30, 11:30, 13:30, 14:15, and finally 15:00.

 Link to top   The "Whistle Stop Excursion"   Photographs

 External link On Saturday, 4 Sep 2010, the Whistle Stop Excursion ran from East Stroudsburg to Scranton and return plus Cresco to Scranton and return. Reading Railroad FP7A diesel electric units, on temporary loan to Steamtown, powered the special "Whistle Stop" excursion, from Cresco to Steamtown. The excursion boarded passengers at two stations, East Stroudsburg and Cresco, for a run on the former Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad's historic Pocono Mainline. The return-trip departed Steamtown at 16:00 hours. Ticket prices were:
From East Stroudsburg return - $51 for adults 17 to 61, $46 for seniors 62 and older, and $30 for children ages 6-16. Children 5 and younger required a no-charge ticket. Limited First Class seating aboard Lehigh Valley car number 353 was $100 for all ages.
From Cresco return - $46 for adults 17 to 61, $40 for seniors 62 and older, and $25 for children ages 6-16. Children 5 and younger required a no-charge ticket. Limited First Class seating aboard Lehigh Valley car number 353 was $100 for all ages.

 Link to top   Moscow Depot Photo Run-by   Photographs

In addition to the two trains above there was a special trip from Steamtown to Moscow and back led by CN 3254. The trip left Scranton on Sunday at 13:00. CN 3254 de-trained its passengers at Moscow depot then backed up for a photo run-by before running around its cars for the return journey to Steamtown. CN 3254 ran backwards all the way from Moscow to Scranton during the return trip.

 Link to top   News Articles

28 Sep 2009 - Batteries ARE Included
1 Sep 2010 - On the Right Track
3 Sep 2010 - Stimulus Funding Abates Restores Asbestos-Ridden Train Displays
5 Sep 2010 - When America Ran on Steam

 Link to top   Bibliography

McKnight, R. Patrick
Steamtown National Historic Site
R.L. Ruehrwein Publisher 1082 St. Moritz Lawrenceburg Indiana USA 47025
8 1/2 x 11 inches - 21.5 x 28 centimetres
33 pages 75 photos 0 drawings 2 maps
This colorful publication tells the story of the impact of railroading on America, the history of the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad and its yards in Scranton plus the formation of the national historic site. Includes dozens of historic photos and illustrations of how Steamtown has helped preserve this important piece of industrial and social history.

United States National Park Service
Steamtown National Historic Site Comprehensive Management Plan
University of Michigan Library Michigan USA
5 x 8 inches - 12.75 x 20.5 centimetres
32 pages ? photos ? drawings ? maps
This volume is produced from digital images created through the University of Michigan University Library's large-scale digitization efforts.

Reed, Chris
Railroad Equipment Close-Up:  Steamtown
Dataview Publishing
? x ? inches - ? x ? centimetres
41 pages 41 photos ? drawings ? maps
Includes the Union Pacific Big Boy number 4012, GTW number 6039, Rahway Valley number 15, Rolling stock, snowplows, tank cars, cabin cars, and flat cars. Ideal for the superdetailer, scratchbuilder, and steam enthusiast. Also available in CD form.

Sweeney, Alan
Journey Along the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad
Tribute Books
5.8 x 8.7 inches - 14.5 x 22.25 centimetres
340 pages ? photos ? drawings ? maps
With the arrival of the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad, numerous stations throughout the Pocono regions served those temporarily fleeing the confines of city life. A multitude of boarding homes, hotels, inns, and resorts provided travelers with a wide variety of accommodations and activities. This work is a representation of the author's 10 year endeavor to collect postcards depicting the Pocono Mountains.
 Link to top   Associated Web Sites

Steamtown National Historic Site
Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Historical Society
DL&W Project 565
DL&W Project 565 on Facebook
Canadian Pacific Railway
Canadian National