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Steamtown ride and the Electric City Trolley Museum ride 6/03/2023

by Chris Guenzler

Elizabeth and I arose and following our regular morning preparations, we went to Perkins Family Restaurant for an excellent breakfest. I then drove us down to the Steamtown grounds and we paid to ride the 10:30 train and had plenty of time to look around the property.

Canadian National 4-6-4T 47, nee Grand Trunk 1542, built by Montreal Locomotive Works in 1914. It was one of six tank engines built for the Grand Trunk Railway and were designed for commuter services between the suburbs and centre of major Canadian cities, in this case, Montreal. It was renumbered 47 soon after the GTR was consolidated into Canadian National in 1923. At the time, the wheel arrangement was given the name "Baltic Tank", as the the 4-6-4 main line locomotive did not appear until 1927.

47 was retired some time before 1959, the year it was bought by F. Nelson Blount for $2,000. It steamed briefly on the Monadnock, Steamtown & Northern Railroad in New Hampshire, but it was found to have no official papers (they were burned in a CNR roundhouse fire). The fire was therefore dropped for good on 26th August 1961.

Nickel Plate Road PA1 190 built by American Locomtive Company in 1948. For the first time in more than four decades, this engine was going to return to home rails and be restored for main line passenger excursions. This is because Genessee Valley Transportation Company agreed to purchase Doyle McCormack's locomotive in March and it made the trek from Portland, Oregon to Scranton, Pennsylvania.

For Alco, the PA locomotive was their signature contribution to the booming streamliner passenger train equipment market following World War II. NKP 190 started life as Santa Fe 62L, one of twenty-eight such A-units ordered by the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe from Alco's Schenectady plant. After two decades in passenger service for the Santa Fe, the 62L and three sister units were put on the path to long-term preservation when the Santa Fe sold them to the Delaware & Hudson Railroad, where the PA 62L was given road number 18.

This engine had only arrived at Steamtown on May 19th and we were very pleased to be able to see it in person. I put my right hand on the PA1 and told it "Doyle still loves this engine!" This had been a request of Doyle when I chatted with him at the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society/Southern Pacific History Centre convention in Sparks, Nevada last month.

Grand Trunk Western 4-8-2 6039 built by Baldwin in 1925. Fitted with feedwater heaters, power reverse gear and automatic or mechanical stokers, they were the first locomotives on the GTW to feature both Vanderbilt tenders and enclosed, all-weather cabs. Although designed for passenger service, the Grand Trunk Western soon put them to work on fast freight trains. In the late 1950s, 6039 was leased to the Central Vermont Railway. It was bought by Blount in 1959 for $7,425.

Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 759 built by Lima in 1944. In May 1958, 759 was the last steam locomotive the NKP overhauled and it was retired soon after. F. Nelson Blount bought 759 in 1962 for his collection in Bellows Falls. Ross Rowland, Jr., then carried out repairs and on 17th August 1968, it made several trial runs. Two weeks later, it began an excursion career that lasted until 1973. Briefly fired up at Steamtown in 1977, work was to begin on reflueing, but sponsorship fell through and the locomotive has stood cold ever since.

Canadian Pacific 2317 built by Montreal Locomotive Works in 1923. Outshopped in 1923, 2317 was the eighteenth G-3 built and seventh in the G-3-c subclass. Eight more were built to complete the fifteen G-3-c roster. 2317 retired in 1959 and was bought by F. Nelson Blount in 1965.

Delaware Lackawanna and Western 2-6-0 565 built by American Locotive Company in 1908. It worked for the Lackawanna for twenty-eight years and then in 1936, was sold to the Dansville & Mount Morris Railroad, a nine-mile shortline operating between Dansville and Groveland, New York. It worked for the D&MM until 1961, at which time the company acquired a diesel, and the steam locomotive was sold to William Whitehead for the Black River & Western Railroad, a small tourist line operating between Ringoes and Flemington, New Jersey. It was acquired by the museum in 1985.

Canadian National 2-8-2 3254, nee Canadian Government Railways 2854, built by Canadian Locomotive Company in 1917.

Lackawanna F3A 664 is really Central of New Jersey F3A 57 painted as Lackawanna and was built by Electro-Motive Division in 1947.

Lehigh Valley business car 353 built by Pullman in 1916. The all-steel, heavyweight car with a mahogany-painted interior represented the pinnacle of technology and luxury for its time. It was the equivalent of today's large corporate business jet. 353 traveled around the nation, entertaining the railroad's customers, friends and officers in a grand style. The car served at the personal convenience and the pleasure of the railroad's Chief Executive Officer for sixty years, until the Lehigh Valley was absorbed into Conrail in 1976. The car was never owned by any other railroad, which is quite unusual for a Business Car. Throughout those sixty years, the car received extraordinary care and was typically housed inside the company's Sayre, Pennsylvania facility when not in use.

The car was sold to Mr. Dick Horstmann in 1976 who operated it extensively and continued the quality care and maintenance the car had always received. Its most recent owner, DL&W Corporation, purchased the car in September 1996. The car was donated to the National Park Service collection by DLW Corporation in 2015. The 1997 restoration returned the car to its steam-era appearance. Mr. Rob Mangels led the restoration effort and Ms. Michele Blair did the beautiful mahogany finish. The effort began in September 1996 and was completed in August 1997. The car received a full mechanical update and was qualified to run on Amtrak movements at speeds up to 100 miles per hour. It was one of the oldest cars moving on Amtrak. The exterior in Cornell Red matches the color the car was repainted in 1939, when all Lehigh Valley mainline passenger equipment was repainted. Except for some minor equipment modernization details, the exterior appearance is as it looked in the 1930's, after its upgrading to include air conditioning. The interior of the car has been restored to the way it would have appeared from the mid-1920's to the late 1940's, the last 20-plus years of the steam era. All interior walls remain as originally constructed, having never been modified – again, quite rare for such a car. The faux painting of the walls matches the original treatment. When constructed in 1916 all-steel cars were a relatively new phenomenon and viewed as a major technological and safety advance. Therefore, the LV 353 was built by Pullman Standard Company in all-steel, but the beautiful simulated-mahogany interior was made possible by the Pullman Company's accomplished artists. Ms. Blair faithfully restored this original look.

Museum scene.

Snag Chalfont & Company 0-6-0 8 built by Baldwin in 1923. It worked switching iron ore to the company's Etna blast furnaces, as well as pipes, tubing and steel sheeting to connections with the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and Pennsylvania Railroad. Some time in the 1950's, it was sold to Duquesne Slag Products in Pittsburgh where it hauled slag for concrete, ballast, road building materials, roofing and other industrial products. In 1963, it was sold to the Penn View Mountain tourist railroad in Blairsville but by 1975, it had become too worn out to operate. It was sold again and in the early 1990's, was donated to the Steamtown collection.

Delaware Lackawanna and Western box car 43651 built by the railroad in 1922. It was acquired by Norton Abrasive Company by the late 1950's and then sold to Railroad Museum of New England in 1980 or 1981. As part of an equipment exchange, Steamtown acquired the car in 1993, with delivery in 1995 and was restored by Steamtown in 1999.

Rutland Railroad caboose 28 built by the railroad in 1928. This caboose was assigned to runs between Rutland, Vermont and Ogdensburg, New York then later downgraded to bunk house use at Bellows Falls. It was donated by the railroad to Nelson Blount in Riverside, Vermont in 1961 and restored by Steamtown in 1995.

Illinois Central 2-8-0 790 built by American Locomotive Company (Cooke) in 1903. Designed to haul freight trains, 641 was probably better utilised by the Illinois Central than it would have been if it continued working in Chicago's Union Station transfer yard. 641 hauled freight in Tennessee for most of its life and was rebuilt in 1920 with a superheater and possibly replacement boiler and firebox. It was renumbered 790 in 1940 and remained on the Illinois Central roster until near the end of steam. In 1959, the steam engine was sold to Louis S. Keller of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, who planned to use it on railfan excursions between Cedar Rapids and Manchester, Iowa, although the excursions never eventuated. In 1965, 790 was sold to David de Camp, who moved it to Lake Placid, New York, hoping to operate it there. However, it never steamed again and was sold to Blount in 1966. It is the only Chicago Union Transfer locomotive to have survived.

Track workers display.

Delaware Lackawanna and Western two bay hopper car 81178 built by the railroad in 1910. It was purchased in 1992 from a Carbondale scrap and salvage firm.

Museum scene.

Erie Lackawanna caboose C191 built by the railroad in 1945.

At 10:15, we walked over to where the train was boarding. After a young child yelled "All Aboard", we boarded the first car behind the engine, Central Railroad of New Jersey suburban coach 1026 built by American Car and Foundry in 1923. I took the window seat for our first steam train ride at Steamtown. The rules were that every one must be seated as the train moved. We started foward before we reversed toward the mainline.

Delaware Lackawnna and Western caboose 889 built by the railroad in 1952.

Long Island Railroad rotary snowplough 193 built in 1898 and for worked for sixty-nine years until its retirement in 1967. We reached the mainline and headed foward.

Delaware and Lackawanna C420 414, ex. Southern Railroad Company of New Jersey 414, exx. Delaware and Hudson 414, nee Lehigh Valley 414, built by American Locomotive Company in 1964.

Delaware and Lackawanna 2452 C425, ex. British Columbia Railway 802, nee Erie Lackawanna 2452, built by American Locomotive Company in 1964.

Delaware Lackawnna and Western Scanton station built in 1907 and is a Radisson Hotel where I stayed at the 2010 National Railway Historical Society convention which was in Scranton. In the early 1900s, Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad president William Truesdale approved a plan to replace the railroad's Scranton station, an old brick structure located on Lackawanna Avenue near Franklin Avenue. The new station, to be built about seven blocks east at 700 Lackawanna Avenue, would be a far grander structure that would also house the railroad's offices, with the exception of the executive offices in New York City. The railroad commissioned New York architect Kenneth MacKenzie Murchison, who executed the design in the French Renaissance style.

Constructed of brick and steel at a cost of around $600,000, it has concrete floors and partitions. The exterior is faced with Indiana limestone and it has an eight-foot bronze clock on the façade. The main entrance leading to the former waiting room is furnished in Formosa, a soft, pinkish-yellow Italian marble. Its Grand Lobby, two-and-a-half stories tall, has an ornamented mosaic tile floor, a barrel-vaulted Tiffany stained-glass ceiling, rare Siena marble walls, and 36 unique Grueby Faience tile murals. The tiles are styled after the work of American artist Clark Greenwood Voorhees, and represent scenes along the DL&W's Phoebe Snow main line from Hoboken to Buffalo. A tall radio antenna was installed after a while on the roof; the railroad was a pioneer in the use of wireless communications between trains and terminals. The building, which was originally five stories tall, had a sixth added for office space by 1923. The last train, the Erie Lackawanna's Lake Cities, left the station on January 6, 1970. The building was shuttered and neglected, its windows cracking. The marbled lobby was used to store old timetables and railroad ledgers.

The Electric City is Scranton's nickname.

Part of the University of Scranton. The train stopped and I gave Elizabeth the window seat and I rode on the other side on the way back.

Delaware, Lackawnna and Western locomotive erecting shops.

The old Delaware, Lackawnna and Western station tower.

More view of the Delaware, Lackawnna and Western locomotive erecting shops.

Scenes on the way back to Steamtown.

Maine Central 2-8-0 519 built by American Locomotive Company in 1913. It worked the entire MEC system until retired in 1950 and stored at the railroad's Waterville roundhouse. In 1960, the steam engine appeared in "Sunrise at Campobello", filmed at Eastport, Maine, about future President F. D. Roosevelt contracting polio at his Summer retreat island. During filming, it had a coal fire over half its grate to produce smoke during a departure scene from Eastport but was, in fact, being moved by an MEC 44 ton switcher. The train sounds were mixed in post production.

519 stayed with the MEC until 1963, when it was sold to F. Nelson Blount.

The caboose shop train came out near the mainline but did not go there, instead reversed to its loading area.

Rahway Valley 2-8-0 15, nee Oneida and Western 20, built by Baldwin in 1915. In 1937, it was sold to the Rahway Valley Railway at Kenilworth, New Jersey and re-numbered 15. The Rahway Valley was a New Jersey shortline that operated from 1897 until 1992. During the first few decades of the 20th century, it was one of the most successful shortline railroads in US history. 15 joined three other Consolidations at the Rahway and worked until 1951. The Rahway bought its first diesel in 1951 and 15 worked relief when the diesel needed repair until 1953.

F. Nelson Blount bought 15 in 1959, initially for display at the new Pleasure Island Park in Wakefield, Massachusetts. After moving to North Walpole, MA, Blount had the steam engine overhauled and put back into service on his tourist Monadnock, Steamtown & Northern Railroad. The locomotive steamed from 1962 to 1967 so reliably that it came to be called the "Faithful Fifteen". Taken out of service because its flue licence had expired, it returned briefly to service in 1973 but, after blowing a flue on another excursion, it was retired for good.

Nickel Plate Road GP9 514 built by Electro-Motive Division in 1959.

Reading Railroad 4-8-4 2124 built by Reading Shops in 1947. The first twenty T-1s were designed to haul freight, largely coal traffic, the last ten to haul passenger trains but, except for a few troop trains, mainly hauled freight. They worked until 1956 when all steam was retired on the Reading Railroad. The company kept only four steam locomotives: T-1s 2100, 2101, 2102 and 2124. In 1959, 2124 re-entered active service on the first of the "Iron Horse Rambles", also known as the "Reading Rambles", on 16th October, hauling sixteen passenger cars full of railfans from Wayne Junction to Shamokin. 2124 made a brief appearance in the opening scenes of the film "From the Terrace" with Joanne Woodward and Myrna Loy, shot at Jersey City, New Jersey. The Reading Company ran fifty-one "Iron Horse Rambles" excursions from 1959 to 1964, also utilising T-1s 2100 and 2102. The last excursion ran on 17th October 1964. However, 2124 was taken out of service after a trip in October 1961 and was then sold to F. Nelson Blount in 1962 and joined the Steamtown collection.

Reversing back to Steamtown. After the trip, a few pictures of our engine.

Baldwin Locomotive Works 0-6-0 26 built by Baldwin in 1929. In 1948 it was sold to Jackson Iron & Steel Company 26 at Jackson, Ohio; they renumbered it 3. In 1979 it was sold to Jerry Jacobson who in 1983 moved it to Grand Rapids, Ohio then moved to Bellevue, Ohio the same year. In 1986, it was transfered to Steamtown Foundation at Scranton.

Nickel Plate Road GP9 514.

Central Railroad of New Jersey suburban coach 1026 built by American Car and Foundry in 1923.

Central Railroad of New Jersey baggage-coach 303 built by Pressed Steel in 1926.

Museum scenes.

Brooks Scanlon 2-6-2 1 built by Baldwin in 1916 for the Carpenter-O'Brien Lumber Company to work at the company's Eastport, Florida, saw mill. Carpenter-O'Brien was one of the many concerns milling the extensive native pine stands in the South at the turn of the 20th Century, and even owned a ship, the S.S. "William J. O'Brien", which hauled two million board feet of lumber per trip to its yard on Staten Island. In 1917, the Florida mill and timber holdings were sold to the Brooks-Scanlon Corporation.

The Brooks-Scanlon Corporation started out in 1896 operating saw mills in Minnesota. In 1910, when the lumber stands were exhausted there, the company moved to Oregon where it had purchased two large tracts of Ponderosa pine in 1905. At that time, it also bought stands of timber in Louisiana. By 1917, however, it was apparent that the Louisiana plant would eventually run out of timber, which finally happened in 1923. So, the company bought out Carpenter-O'Brien's Eastport mill and, in the process, acquired 1.

It is not known if this steam engine was used to haul logs to the mill from the woods, to switch in the Eastport yard or both but, in 1929, the mill was closed. At some point, ownership of 1 then passed to either the Lee Cypress Company or, still later, to the Lee Tidewater Cypress Company, switching at a mill in Perry, Florida. In 1962, the company was dissolved, probably because the lumber had been completely milled out and its five surviving locomotives, including 1, were sold to F. Nelson Blount. 1 never steamed again.

Canadian Pacific 4-4-4 2929 built by Canadian Locomotive Company in 1938. When the first F-2-a was outshopped in 1936, the name "Jubilee" was given to the wheel arrangement to mark the 50th anniversary of Canadian Pacific's inauguration of its transcontinental service in 1886.

The fast, local intercity services for which the Fs were designed never developed, however, and the locomotives were assigned to work on local passenger services on the prairies and in eastern Canada instead. 2929 continued in service until 1958 and was bought by F. Nelson Blount the following year.

Nickel Plate Road 4-6-0 44 built by American Locomotive Company/Brooks in 1905 and is oldest surviving Nickel Plate Road locomotive.

Reading Railroad FP7 902 built by Electro-Motive Division in 1950.

Norwood and St. Lawrence Railroad 2-6-0 21 built by American Locomotive Company in 1923. The Norwood & St Lawrence's 7½ mile Norwood to Raymondville, New York line opened in 1901. In 1909, it absorbed the Raymondville & Waddington Railroad, and soon completed its 18 mile line to Waddington on the St. Lawrence River. At Waddington, a ferry connected across the river to Morrisburg, Ontario. The railroad also interchanged traffic to the south and west with the New York Central Railroad at Norwood, and to the east with the Rutland Railroad. With paper mills in Raymondville, Norwood and Norfolk, hauling paper pulp became one of the most important functions of the line. In 1920, the St. Regis Paper Co., bought all three paper mills, as well as the Norwood & St. Lawrence. In 1956, the last of the paper mills closed and the railroad bought a small diesel locomotive. Late that year, 210 was shipped to Abe Cooper-Watertown Corporation scrapyard in Watertown, New York. Five years later, it was bought by F. Nelson Blount.

I walked over to the Electric City Trolley Museum and bought Elizabeth and I tickets for the noon trolley ride then returned for the next steam train departure.

The 11:30 steam train came out reversing then went forward as we did earlier. A few minutes, later they returned.

The steam train returned to Steamtown.

Electric City Trolley Ride

The Electric City Trolley Museum is a collaborative effort among many different partners. Working together, they have created a premier electric railway museum in Scranton. Back in 1887, Scranton was the first city in Pennsylvania with a successful pioneer trolley line and became known as the Electric City. This museum's collection provides a highly representative picture of the electric railway history of eastern Pennsylvania, from Philadelphia to Northeast Pennsylvania. The museum was created by the Lackawanna Heritage Valley Authority. Lackawanna County manages the day-to-day operations. The facility itself is located on the Steamtown National Historic Site and is on a long-term lease from the National Park Service.

Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company 80 built by J.G. Brill to Philadelphia and West Chester Traction in 1932. Car 80 was one of ten lightweight "Master Unit" style cars delivered. These cars addressed mounting competition from the automobile by introducing sleek lines, contemporary automotive styling features and cushioned leather seats to the Red Arrow service. Car 80 endured in service until retired and sold in 1982 by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority. It has been returned to its early all-reddish-brown PSTC paint scheme and continues to operate at the Electric City museum.

Information about the car in which we are riding.

Interior of the car.

Now sit back, relax and enjoy the ride on the Electric City Trolley. Trolley excursions are sold at the Trolley Museum building and are not available on the car. The trolley excursion boarding area is between the Trolley Museum building and the main Steamtown facilities. The scenic route follows a portion of the former Lackawanna & Wyoming Valley (Laurel Line) Railroad right-of-way as it parallels Roaring Brook proceeds past the Historic Iron Furnaces and continues through the Crown Avenue Tunnel, at 4,747 feet long, one of the longest interurban tunnels ever built. An additional extension to the Lackawanna County Stadium at Montage was completed on July 14, 2006.


The trip to south end of the line at the ballpark. Now to see what they have in this trolley barn.

Philadelphia Suburban Transportation Company 76 built by J.G. Brill Company in 1926. This is a "Center Door" car originally built for the PSTC predecessor company, the Philadelphia and West Chester Traction Company. It was the highest-numbered car of a 32-car fleet of such cars bought in three orders, starting in 1919. These crowd-swallowing trolleys roamed the "Red Arrow Lines" system from 69th Street Terminal in Upper Darby to suburban terminals in West Chester, Ardmore, Media and Sharon Hill. As more modern cars arrived over the years, the remaining large, heavy Center Door cars were relegated to rush-hour "tripper" service, school trips and winter operation to keep the lines clear of snow. Car 76 was retired in 1976 but runs today at the Electric City Trolley Museum.

Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company C-127 built by J.G. Brill in 1923. C-127 was the highest-numbered of ten double-truck snow sweeper trolleys included. Streetcar company franchises often required the companies to clear the streets of snow. Large rotating brooms of bamboo shoots would sweep snow from the track, while a side-mounted plough blade cleared the adjacent roadway lane. The 1923 PRT sweepers used recycled motors, controllers and other parts from retired streetcars. SEPTA disposed of these snow sweepers in 1974.

Reading Transit and Light Company 102 built by J.G. Brill Company in 1918 and represents a fleet of 21 similar "semi-convertible" trolleys ordered by the Reading, Pennsylvania system in 1916 and 1918. These suburban cars were the final evolution of the classic side-of-the-road trolleys that served a connected network of trolley companies that once stretched from Philadelphia, Trenton and Wilmington westward past Carlisle. Car 102 operated on all three RT&L divisions - Lebanon, Norristown and Reading - traveling the rails from the Wissahickon section of Philadelphia all the way to Palmyra. Car 102 was retired in 1947 but its carbody was soon bought and conserved by Paul Rhoads and family. Honoured as the first car to be rolled into the Electric City museum building, car 102 now sits on trolley trucks retrieved from Georgia and awaits its turn for full restoration.

Trolley Cars of Scranton display boards. Elizabeth took the rear seat so she could take her photographs and I enjoyed the cool air coming into the windows on the trip back. This concludes our coverage of the Electric City Trolley Museum. We had visited the museum itself late last month so did not need to return there and had purchased souvenirs at that time also.

We left Scranton and I drove us south then west to our next station of the trip.

Reading Railroad Bloomsburg station built in 1910. From here I drove us to Danville.

Reading Railroad Danville station built in 1876, now home to a carpet store. This station was built as the Philadelphia and Reading Centennial station for the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia and was moved to Danville in 1881.

Elizabeth navigated us to Northumblerland for two stations.

Pennsylvania Railroad Northumberland station built in 1910 which is the Front Street Station Restaurant. Two railroad pasenger cars make up this station.

Delaware Lackawanna and Western m.u. motor unit 2560 built by Pullman/General Electric in 1910 masquerading as Pennsylvania Railroad 1910 ""Susquehannock" at the Front Street Depot Restaurant.

Delaware Lackawanna and Western m.u. motor unit 3549 built by Pullman/General Electric in 1930 masquerading as Pennsylvania Railroad 3549. In 1910 this building was completed, opening the way for a flourishing Pennsylvania Railroad passenger train service that brought eighteen trains to town each day. The station closed in 1958 and remained closed until Jay Seidel purchased the building in 1981 and restored it for his restaurant. Front Street Station opened for business on August 1, 1983.

We drove over to the freight house.

Delaware Lackawanna and Western freight house built in 1911.

This building houses the six shortline railroads that serve the area: Juniata Valley Railroad Company, Lycoming Valley Railroad Company, Nittany and Bald Eagle Railroad Company, North Shore Railroad Company, ShamokinValley Railroad Company, Union County Industrial Railroad Company.

After that we returned to the Front Street Station Restaurant where we had an excellent dinner during a heavy rainstorm and a northbound empty Norfolk Southern coal train passed through while we dined. Fortified, we drove to Sunbury and found the Reading station.

Reading Railroad Sunbury station built circa 1870. It was the first railroad station in the world to use electric lights.

We drove south and found a covered bank to change drivers. Elizabeth, my loving wife, drove us through the rain then through the last light of day to Chambersburg and the Quality Inn for the night.