STSH Visits Steamtown

In August, 2009 I got the chance to visit the Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton, Pennsylvania. I also visited the neighboring Electric City Trolley Museum, but "Electric City Trolley Museum" wouldn't have fit well as a short title for this webpage, sorry trolley people.

Unfortunatly the day I showed up, Steamtown wasn't running any steam trains (though I did get to ride behind a vintage diesel) and the Electric City Trolley Museum wasn't running any trolleys, but I still had a great time. Here are some photos from my trip there.

I had seen very few steam locomotives in my life before coming to Steamtown. A mothballed old wreck used as a gate guardian at a station on my local commuter railroad is the only example I can clearly remember seeing before my Steamtown visit. Needless to say, the Union Pacific Big Boy left quite an impression. It's a shame none of these locomotives will ever run again.

This locomotive was one of the first I saw at Steamtown, and was being repainted as I took this picture.
Minutes after this picture was taken it started raining cats and dogs. I hope their work wasn't ruined.

An old oil car outside the Oil Exhibit. 

This is the diminutive and creatively named Engine No. 2.
I've seen several sources (a television show, and an online pamphlet) claim that this was the smallest steam locomotive ever built to the standard gauge.
I'm pretty sure that the engine "Gazelle" of the Kent and East Sussex Railway is significantly smaller than this, and also standard gauge.

I'm sure the claim of No. 2 being one of the smallest engines ever built seems more credible given that it's posed beside one of the largest engines ever built.

This was my first time seeing a turntable in person.

The turntable well is quite deep. It would make a decent swimming pool.

The trackbed on the turntable's platform. I rode on that train at the end of the tracks by the way.

A post office car. Sorry for the poor lighting, but with the flash on it was actually even worse.

Some mail bags and a sorting table inside the post office car.

Mailbags and hooks.

Two old coaches.

Diesel 426 of the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad. What a lovely machine.

An engine in the sidings in Scranton Yard awaiting restoration. With it's big diamond shaped funnel it looks like something from a cowboy film.

A tank engine.

Another tank engine.

A cut-away steam locomotive with a view of all its internal workings.

I rode behind Diesel 514 on a short excursion around the yard. It has a nice loud roar when it picks up speed.
A "proper train" consisting of a locomotive pulling unpowered coaches are becoming increasingly rare on my local commuter railroad.

After a lifetime of admiring steam locomotives through tv and the internet, this was the first live steam locomotive I've ever been in the presence of.

It was an awesome feeling.

I talked to a fireman who was working in the cab. He said that this engine will be withdrawn for upkeep for a while.

Shame I never got to ride behind it or see it move.

A catalog of bridges for railroad directors to choose from.


There is absolutely no way these photographs can demonstrate how gigantic this engine is. I was never even able to capture the entire machine in one picture.

Electric City Trolley Museum

After reliving the history of steam railroading at Steamtown, we (that is, me and my parents) crossed the parking lot and relived the history of the electric railways at the Electric City Trolley Museum. It's kind of ironic how the street railways have been electric since early last century while the "big railroads" are still in the process of electrification.

I never even saw a trolley car before today, and what I learned was great research for my work-in-progress novel The Motorman.

We came to the museum on Wednesday, but sadly the trolley cars restored by the museum only run on Thursday through Sunday, by motormen (and women) from Philadelphia where trolleys are still part of the transit network.

A little Birney safety car that was put on display. This was the first tram car I've ever been on. I wish I could have felt it moving.

Food will win the war! I think this was inside the Birney car.

The controls of the Birney car.

Interurban Car 46. This interurban trolley car looks nearly the size of a full sized railroad coach.

Some beautiful electrical equipment in a signalbox.

More pretty electrical equipment.

The interior of the interurban car. The seats were a little shaggy, I bet it's still being restored.
I would almost not have even thought of this as being a trolley car, it's so huge compared to the average streetcar.

PCC trolley cars! I especially love the third from the left, which is in New Jersey Transit livery, as seen HERE.
These trolleys were the standard passenger stock on the Newark Light Rail Network which is very local to me.
Sadly I never knew about the PCC trolleys in Newark until they were retired in 2001. :(

A tribute to the Motormen of America's electric railways. They were tough guys.

Beautiful ceramic and glassware made to insulate electrical equipment.
These pieces are now rare and highly desired collectables.

It's me! :D :D
Yeah, that locomotive is GIGANTIC! :O

Motorman for a moment. :D

I had a great time at Steamtown and the Electric City Trolley Museum, and though I never got to ride a trolley or a steam train, I'll hopefully get my chance soon enough.


Watch Video From my Visit on YouTube

Steamtown National Historic Site

Electric City Trolley Museum

These Photos and More on my Flickr Account

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