Steam at the 2010 NRHS Convention
Scranton, PA

Photos by Peter Limper

The "Anthracite Explorer" trip option on June 23 included a visit to the Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine, where this 0-4-0T “lokie” pulls passengers on about ¾ mile of 42” gauge track.

This engine, built by Vulcan in 1927, was rescued from a scrap dealer and rebuilt, but it is similar to the engines used by the mine prior to its closing in 1931.

The 42” gauge track extends into the mine; originally mule-hauled cars brought the coal to the mine entrance, and the lokies pulled it to a nearby transfer point. (Reproduction mule shown.)

At the end of the track coal was transferred to a gravity railroad (no longer in existence) for the trip down the mountain to a breaker plant and loading onto standard gauge cars. (The windlass at left is part of a reproduction of a “bootleg” mine, where out-of-work miners tapped into the coal seam after the main mine closed during the Depression.)

The train is made up of un-sprung former coal cars, which give a rough ride even at low speeds.

On the afternoon of June 23 the “Anthracite Explorer” trip visited the Wanamaker, Kempton, and Southern tourist railroad. Although 0-6-0T #65 (Porter 1930) was not used for the NRHS trip, it is operable.

On June 24 the convention sponsored an all-day trip to the Delaware Water Gap over the rails of the Delaware-Lackawanna short line, pulled in one direction by the DL’s three RS3’s, and in the other by Steamtown’s ex-CN 2-8-2 #3254. Here 3254, after running light to the Delaware Water Gap, is seen from the first coach preparing for the return trip.

The Alcos assisted 3254 on the 1.6% grade during the first part of the trip back to Scranton.

At a lunch stop at East Stroudsburg, both passengers and engine crew took on fuel for the remained of the trip.

At Tobyhanna a run-by was staged using both 3254 and the RS3’s, after which the Alcos were cut off and headed back to Scranton with a typical display of smoke, which makes some call them “honorary steam engines.”

After the diesels left, 3254 posed for her picture and did a “solo” run-by before the last leg of the trip back to Scranton.

The next day, 3254 was displayed on the turntable at Steamtown.

On June 25, former CPR Pacific 2317 was running out her last hours of flue time on short trips in and near the Steamtown yard.

After the last trip of the day, 2317 returns to the roundhouse area. There are no current plans to overhaul this engine; rather the next priority is to complete the restoration of B&M Pacific 3713. Until this is done, Steamtown will have only one operating steam locomotive.

The last convention trip, on June 26, was an all-day ride over more than 100 miles of the Reading, Blue Mountain & Northern, on lines formerly owned by the DLW, Lehigh Valley, Jersey Central, and Reading. The train was powered by RBMN light Pacific 425 (Baldwin 1928) with a diesel helper for the steep grades.

A morning run-by was held in a particularly scenic location in the Lehigh Gorge.

An afternoon run-by on a bridge really needed a telephoto lens!

A “close-up” run-by took place at the same site.

At the end of the trip, at RBMN headquarters in Port Clinton, ex-RDG 4-8-4 2102 was (partly!) on the turntable. This loco, which pulled some of the RDG’s “Iron Horse Rambles” in the early 1960’s, was operated by RBMN from 1986 to the early ‘90’s. After a brief attempt at rebuilding at the Steamtown shops in 1997-98, it was returned to the railroad where it remains on static display.

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