"Pulling out of the Yard" by U.S. National Park Service , public domain
The romantic image that steam railroading evokes is reflected in George Inness’s painting entitled “The Lackawanna Val ley “ (above), showing Scranton and the Dela ware, Lackawanna and Western railroad yard in IKS 5. Right: a 1920rail pass and the corporate seal of the Leggett's Gap Railroad, a forerunner ofthe DL&W. Note the original spelling of the rail line's name. /k Steamtown, engineers not only help to maintain their engines in top condi tion, hut demonstrate for visitors the knowledge and skill it took to operate a steam locomotive. Welcome to Steamtown You are about to experience a part of American railroading that hasn't existed for nearly half a century—the era of the steam locomotive. Steamtown National Historic Site was established on October 30.1986, to further pub lic understanding and apprecia tion of the role steam railroading played in the development of the United States. It is the only place in the National Park System where the story of steam rail roading, and the people who made it possible, is told. Steamtown occupies about 40 acres of the Scranton railroad yard of the Delaware, Lackawan na and Western Railroad, one of the earliest rail lines in northeast ern Pennsylvania. At the heart of the park is the large collection of standard-gauge steam locomo tives and freight and passenger cars that New England seafood processor F. Nelson Blount assem bled in the 1950s and 1960s. In 1984, 17 years after Blount's un timely death, the Steamtown Foundation for the Preservation of Steam and Railroad Americana, Inc., brought the collection to Scranton, where it occupied the former DL&W yard. When Steam town National Historic Site was created, the yard and the collec tion became part of the National Park System. The Steamtown Collection con sists of locomotives, freight cars, passenger cars, and maintenanceof-way equipment from several historic railroads. The locomo tives range in size from a tiny in dustrial switcher engine built in 1937 by the H.K. Porter Company for the Bullard Company, to a huge Union Pacific Big Boy built in 1941 by the American Locomo tive Company (Alco). The oldest locomotive is a freight engine built by Alco in 1903 for the Chi cago Union Transfer Railway Company. Steamtown National Historic Site preserves and interprets the lega cy of steam-era railroading. Expe rience this era through tours of the railroad yards and the build ings. Ride in a restored railroad car or caboose. Watch Living His tory characters depict life in the era of steam. Lectures in the the ater and the film Steel and Steam highlight related subjects and provide glimpses into railroading's past. We encourage you to explore and contemplate the site at your leisure. A conductor and his passengers, 1930s. The park includes the following points of interest, keyed to the il lustration above. Other points are labeled on the illustration. 1 Visitor Center Begin your visit here for orientation to the park, its facilities, and its attractions. 2 History Museum Exhibits here highlight the people and the his tory of steam railroading in the United States and include displays on early railroads, life on the rail road, and the relationship be tween the railroad and labor, busi ness, and government. A timeline presents key moments in the his tory of railroading and the DL&W from the early 19th to the mid20th century. 3 Roundhouse This remaining portion of the 1902/1937 round house has been rehabilitated and is used to store, maintain, and dis play engines from the Steamtown collection. A raised walkway af fords opportunities to view work in progress on the locomotives. 4 Turntable This 90-foot-long turntable, used for turning en gines toward the roundhouse, is the type used here after 1900. 5 1902 Roundhouse Section This three-bay portion remains from the second roundhouse, built on this site in 1902. 6 Technology Museum This muse um offers a look at the technolog ical changes and advances in rail roads through the years. Included are exhibits on steam locomotive design, railroad architecture, track design and engineering, signals, communications, and railroad safety. A model of the DL&W’s Scranton yard is located on the second floor. Tours and Excursions Park rang ers offer tours of the site, round house, and locomotive repair shops. On certain days, rail excur sions are offered, including a main line train ride to one of several destinations. Check at the visitor center for schedules. Fees are charged for visiting the site, excur sions, and certain other programs. For Your Safety Remember, Steamtown is a working railroad site, so please be careful. Look out for moving trains and other vehicles at all times. Avoid stepping on the rails and do not climb on the locomotives or cars. For More information Steamtown National Historic Site 150 South Washington Avenue Scranton, PA 18503-2018 888-693-9391 www.nps.gov/stea Visit the National Park Service website at www.nps.gov. 1804 Richard Trevithick builds a successful steam locomotive in Great Britain. 1829 O&H Canal Company Railroad tests the "Stourbridge Lion." the first real steam locomotive in the United States. The 1857 “Investigator" (above) was thefirst suc cessful hard-coal burning locomotive owned by the DL&W. Left: A signal man tells an engineer to move his train forward. Right: Iroumakers George and Seldoii Scranton, founders ofthe DL&W, believed that railroads were going to revolution ise transportation and become the primary mover ofgoods and people. The bituminous coal used to fuel most passen ger locomotives made rail travel inherently dirty. The DL&W, ' The transporting ofT-rails (right) and anthracite coal led to the expansion ofthe Scranton railyardfacilities, shown here in 1877 when steam railroading was ex panding throughout the country. however, used anthra cite coal (right), which created less smoke, soot, The DL&W Railroad and the Evolution of the Railroad Yard Steam town Railroads in the Age of Steam Railroading has been called "the biggest busi ness of 19th-century America." Animal and gravity-powered rail transport had been used by quarry companies in Massachusetts and elsewhere in the Northeast since the early 1800s. The United States quickly adopted the steam railway once reliable locomotives suit ed to long-distance public transportation were available. After 1830 and the creation of better locomotive types, railroad invest ment in both Great Britain and the United States accelerated almost simultaneously. Britain's first true public steam railway, the Liverpool & Manchester, began operations in 1830, as did the first such American railway, the South Carolina Railroad. New England and Middle Atlantic states. Dur ing the next decade American railroads grew into a coordinated iron network of more than 30,000 miles serving all the states east of the Mississippi River. Railroad construction slowed during the Civil War (the first American conflict in which rail roads played a major role as movers of troops and supplies) but resumed on a large scale immediately afterward. By 1880 the United States had 94,000 miles of track binding the country together; 20 years later it had 193,000. By the end of World War I in 1918, the country could boast more than 254,000 miles of track and 65,000 steam locomotives. In the 1830s and '40s America's railroads were small private affairs of limited mileage, scattered along the Atlantic seaboard from Maine to Georgia, with a few enterprising companies pushing westward into the Ap palachians By 1852, thanks to merchants de manding faster and more reliable means of transporting their goods, more than 9,000 miles of track had been laid, mostly in the As the railroads expanded, so did the country. Between the Civil War and World War I the United States was transformed from an agri cultural to a manufacturing nation, thanks largely to the railroads. They brought raw materials like coal, oil, iron ore, and cotton to the factories and carried away steel, ma chines, cloth, and other finished products. They moved livestock, grain, and produce Xw adfor the Dickson Manufacturing Company reminds us that Scranton was once a major locomo tive builder. Right: William H. Truesdale, DL&W Presi dent. 1899-1925. and cinders. Thefictitious traveler “Phoebe Snow" (above), whose “dress stays whitefrom morn to nighr," advertised anthra cite’s clean-burning quali tiesfor the DL&W. from farms to the cities. And they carried people everywhere. Most of the immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania's Lackawanna Valley traveled there by train, just like the emigrants from the East who settled Minne sota, the Dakotas, Nebraska, and Kansas in the 1870s and '80s. The railroads shortened the time it took to travel great distances, thus bringing cities closer together. In 1812, for example, a trip from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia took six days by stagecoach. In 1854 the same journey took 15 hours by train. By 1920 the trip was down to five hours. Rail deliveries of freight and passengers were generally faster and more reliable than those by stagecoach, wagon, steamboat, or canal packet. The railroad drove many canal companies out of business and lured away most potential passengers from riverboats and stagecoach lines. Until the end of World War I, railroads carried the bulk of all freight and pas sengers. After 1918 they faced in creased competition from automo- biles and trucks. By the 1950s railroads were hauling less freight, had reduced passenger service, and abandoned some lines altogether. By then the railroads themselves had undergone dramatic changes, beginning in 1925 with the in troduction of the diesel-electric engine. Within 15 years the diesel locomotive, with its great reduction in labor needs, its operational flexibility, and its relative cleanliness, had replaced the coal-burn ing steam locomotive. Fortunately, be cause of places like Steamtown National Historic Site and other museums, the contributions of steam railroading to the development of the United States wili never be forgotten. And the lives and duties of the men and women who labored in the yards, roundhouses, and stations and on the trains will be pre served for future generations. In the last quarter of the 19th century and the first quarter of the 20th, the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad was a major carrier of anthracite, the hard, dean-burning coal found in abundance in northeastern Pennsylvania. The popularity of anthracite not only spurred the growth and expansion of the DL&W but also the four other major railroads that ran through Scranton: the Cen tral of New Jersey, the Delaware and Hud son, the Erie, and the New York, Ontario and Western. The Lackawanna and Wyoming Valley Railroad, an electric shortline, began operating in 1903. It served local passenger and freight needs. Coal and railroads created a huge industrial complex in the Lackawan na and Wyoming valleys. Thanks largely to William H. Truesdale, the DL&Ws president from 1899 to 1925, the railroad was operat ed with exceptional success and efficiency for many years. Many of the structures with in Steamtown National Historic Site arc lega cies from the Truesdale administration. The DL&W, like other early eastern railroads, was an amalgam of smaller railroad lines combined through mergers, consolidations, and leases- It was created in 1853 by George and Seldon Scranton (for whom the city of Scranton is named), who were seeking an economical way of hauling their iron prod ucts, particularly T rails used in the construc tion of railroads. The Scrantons formed the DL&W by joining three railroads—the Cayu ga & Susquehanna, the Lackawanna & West ern (formerly the Leggett's Gap Railroad) and the Delaware & Cobb's Gap. At its height the DL&W operated on about 1,000 miles of mainline and branch track between Hoboken, N.J., and Buffalo, N.Y. Northeastern Pennsylvania was a "melting pot" for immigrants who chose the Lacka wanna and Wyoming valleys as the place to make a better life for themselves and their families. Those who settled in the Scranton area—some 30 ethnic groups—sought em ployment in silk mills, Iron and steel facto ries, coal mines, and with railroads. At its peak the railroad yard employed several thousand workers, mostly immigrants and the sons and grandsons of immigrants, who came to the United States during the last half of the 19th century. The Scranton railroad yard, now the home of Steamtown National Historic Site, is representative of 20th-century steam-era facilities that were used for the handling of coal, freight, and passenger traf fic and the service and repair of locomotives. Scranton's economic fortunes followed those of the DL&W and began to decline in the mid-1920s when the demand for anthracite coal started to subside. By the 1930s and 1940s gas and oil were replacing coal as a home and industrial fuel. The DL&W began using diesel locomotives, reducing the need for coal even further. The steam locomotive repair shop in Scranton dosed in 1949. Many functions of the yard were shut down in the 1960s after the DL&W merged with its long time rival, the Erie Railroad, to become the Erie-Lackawanna. The yard was finally closed byConrail in 1980, following its 1976 acquisi tion of the Erie-Lackawanna Railroad. Steamera functions have been restored to allow Na tional Park Service staff to show how it was when railroads ran on steam. 1849-53 Delaware. Lackawan na & Western Rail road is formed by combining the Cayu ga & Susquehanna, the Lackawanna & Western, and the Delaware & Cobb's Gap railroads. 1869 The transcontinental railroad is completed between Omaha, Nebraska, and Sacra mento, California. 1904 "Phoebe Snow" first promotes travel on DL&W Railroad. 1949 The diesel-powered luxury train Phoebe Snow is introduced. Scranton locomotive shops close. 1960 DL&W and the Erie railroads merge to form the Erie-lackawanna Railroad. M.G. McInnis of the Erie becomes presi dent. 1976 Consolidated Rail Corporation (Conrail) is formed from the merging of numerous railroads. Including the Erie-Lackawanna 1986 Congress establishes Steamtown National Historic Site. 1995 Restored and recreat ed roundhouse and museum complex opens to visitors.