2010 NRHS Convention
Scranton, Pa.

Photos by J. David Ingles

Lackawanna & Wyoming Valley Chapter hosted the NRHS national convention for 2010 in Scranton, Pa., June 21-26, Monday-Saturday, inclusive. Trips were run every day except Friday. The downtown Hilton and Radisson Lackawanna Station hotels were the HQ and bus and train loading sites, respectively. Rick Moser and I drove out from Chicago to Scranton, arriving Monday night and meeting Chuck Weinstock and John Arbuckle, who flew in to Philadelphia and drove up.

This first picture, taken Monday after we got our registration materials and tickets, is of the former DL&W passenger station, now the Radisson Lackawanna Hotel. The vantage point is the elevator lobby of our hotel, the Hilton, on its top (7th) floor; Rick's room (he was upgraded to a suite!) was on this floor. Right after I took the photos of the former station, I spotted the Delaware-Lackawanna's freight returning from the Delaware Water Gap behind two Alco Centuries, the first in former New York & Lake Erie colors (it's an ex-N&W unit, I think) and the second in Genesee Valley Transportation corporate gray and white. This train operates Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I learned. Rob McGonigal chased it Friday morning while we were prowling down around Avoca and Pittston.

The first trip, Tuesday, was the “rare mileage” special, on mostly ex-PRR track west to Sunbury, Pa., now operated by CP’s Delaware & Hudson. The last two D&H GP38-2’s being kept painted in D&H blue and gray, 7312 and 7304, which were Lehigh Valley units before D&H inherited them, powered a 9-car train of 7 Steamtown ex-CNJ and DL&W commuter coaches, plus PV’s NKP Pullman “City of Lima” (later in life the “Cynthia” for Illinois Central and then Michigan Railroad Club) and Lehigh Valley business car 353. The train loaded, an hour late, on short line Delaware-Lackawanna’s trackage in back of the Radisson (the ex-DL&W main line), and after departing at 8:46 instead of 8 a.m., got only 9/10 of a mile, to the wye at Steamtown when, trying to gain the CP (D&H, ex-DL&W) line to Taylor Yard and Hudson, derailed two rear wheels on the rear GP38-2, at 8:53 a.m. Steamtown’s NKP GP9 came and towed the cars back to the Steamtown area to unload, and passengers were told to be back at 1 p.m. After the Geeps were rerailed, we left—via the north leg of the wye in a backup move—after a delay of 3½ hours. This photo shows our train finishing crossing the Susquehanna River bridge and approach trestle, in the south Scranton suburbs on the old Wilkes-Barre Connecting RR, a D&H-PPR subsidiary, about 1 p.m. Kudos to all concerned for operating the trip despite the minor mishap, delay or no.

The weather was muggy and warm, and mostly cloudy, but a decent double runby was staged at Bluffs at 2:30 p.m. The train is pictured backing up for the first runby. The rain held off, and we went on west to the Banks passing siding short of Sunbury, waited to meet a northbound NS run-thru freight, and then pushed back to the home signal at CP Kase, the connection at Sunbury with NS’s former PRR Buffalo line. Our train got back to Scranton at 9:20 p.m., right at full dark, but we got the mileage. Most of us skipped dinner.

Wednesday’s trip was a short one, on the Stourbridge Line, a tourist operation on the 25-mile former Erie branch linking Honesdale, Pa., with Lackawaxen on the old Erie main (now run by the Susquehanna). Since Honesdale is just a 45-minute drive from Scranton, we eschewed a bus ride and drove over. SL’s regular motive power is ex-Bangor & Aroostook BL2 54, though ex-TP&W C424 19 of line manager Morristown & Erie is also on hand. Again we rode in former DL&W commuter cars, but the weather was cooler than to Sunbury. After a picnic lunch in a pavilion at Lackawaxen, on the return leg a double photo run was conducted at 12:30 p.m.

Who is uglier, the BL2 or _____ (fill in name of favorite friend in photo line?

Thursday’s trip was on short line D-L’s ex-DL&W main over the Poconos to East Stroudsburg and the Delaware Water Gap. Having ridden the route, Rick Moser and I chased the train. D-L’s three ex-D&H Alco RS3’s took the train east, seen here passing the Tobyhanna station. Nowhere else in the U.S. can you find three RS3’s in regular daily service, in M.U., and on a passenger train yet! They wear their original D&H numbers: 4118/4103/4068. The consist was the same 9 Steamtown cars as on Tuesday. Steamtown’s CN 2-8-2 3254 had run light to the Gap in early morning to lead the train back west.

The RS3 run-around maneuver at the Gap, and coupling up the 2-8-2, and the servicing/lunch stop at East Stroudsburg were long, and conducted under mostly cloudy skies. Running late, the train arrives at Tobyhanna at 3:30 pm to conduct a triple runby.

After a runby with the RS3’s and the 2-8-2, the Alcos uncoupled and went on ahead, and the final two runbys were with the Mikado alone; this is runby No. 3, at 4:30 p.m. Meantime, a truck had struck an overhead railroad bridge up ahead, knocking it out of alignment, resulting in more delay. The bridge was inspected and the train allowed to go over it at a walk. It didn’t arrive back in Scranton until after 7 p.m., by which time Rick and I were finishing dinner.

Friday was a day for NRHS meetings, so Rick and I prowled around the area. First we stopped by D-L’s shop in south Scranton, where a line of old Alcos of various models is  stored. We then went in search of depots, and down at Pittston yard on the Reading & Northern (the ex-LV mainline route), we found this SD50, newly repainted for the road’s Lehigh Gorge Scenic tourist operation at Jim Thorpe, Pa., switching the yard. It’s been renumbered from a 5000-series slot to 426, one above the R&N’s 4-6-2 which would pull us on the excursion the next day. This 426 would be the helper engine.

After lunch at Cosmo’s, a noted cheesesteak place back in Scranton, we visited Steamtown for an hour and a half, and found this newly repainted F3 on display next to the two Reading FP7’s. The 664, numbered two above the real DL&W F3 series, is a privately owned ex-Bangor & Aroostook F3 that, with a sister, had been painted in Jersey Central’s old blue and tangerine and displayed at Jim Thorpe for a few years. They are owned by the Anthracite Railroads Historical Society, Inc.

Reading Company Hist. and Technical Society has custodial rights for the two ex-Reading FP7’s owned by the Lancaster and Philadelphia NRHS chapters, and which now are kept at Steamtown. Original-style number boards were added below the headlight Friday night for a photo shoot, and while most of us rode the Reading & Northern excursion on Saturday, these F’s handled a regular Steamtown train over the mountain to East Stroudsburg and the Water Gap and back.

Steamtown’s CP 4-6-2 2317, in her last days of boiler use before having to be torn down for mandated major shop work, handled the two-car Steamtown yard shuttle train Friday afternoon. She is passing a display freight led by an inoperable Reading RS3.

Richard W. Jahn of the Anthracite group chased the FP7 trip on Saturday, and sent via Rob McGonigal this view of the train eastbound at Gouldsboro.

Reading & Northern 425, built for Gulf, Mobile & Northern and called “four and a quarter,” was primary power for the Saturday one-way excursion from suburban Duryea, Pa., south to Jim Thorpe and then southwest to Port Clinton. She is ready to go, parked on R&N’s ex-DL&W Bloomsburg branch in Duryea in the morning waiting for all the buses to bring us passengers down from Scranton, a 15-minute ride.

Going upgrade south from Dupont Jct. over the mountains on the former LV-CNJ combined main line, the Pacific put on quite the audial and visual show, easily out-talking the SD50! This line sees freights of R&N, NS, and CP, about 8 a day in total.

A double runby was executed at Old Penn Haven Jct. in the Lehigh Gorge. These photos depict the backup move and the beginning of the forward move on the 2nd runby.

At scenic Jim Thorpe, a busy tourist town, we had a 3-hour layover for lunch, on our own, while the Pacific was turned on a turntable and serviced. She is shown awaiting re-coupling to the train. After we left Jim Thorpe, another runby was staged, and we meandered on south, arriving at Port Clinton, R&N’s HQ and shop site, at 5:30 p.m. Rick Moser, having ridden the route, chased our train. Most passengers took chartered buses back to Scranton, an 80-minute ride, to conclude official convention activities, but Rick picked me up and we adjourned to nearby Hamburg, Pa., on I-78 for dinner and overnight before heading west for home.

With its "regular unit," SD50 426, on the steam special, the Lehigh Gorge Scenic's shuttle was assigned SD38 2000 in normal Reading & Northern colors. It's ready to leave on the regular 1 p.m. run.

Leaving Tamaqua on the last leg of the trip. At Jim Thorpe, the train consist was shuffled, with the premium-class all-open coach repositioned again right behind the SD50 (now facing backward), then the coaches in the reverse order (we'd been near the front, now near the back), and the two back-to-back R&N business cars on the rear, again with an open platform to the rear.

R&N allowed for a 1-hour open-house inspection of its facilities at Port Clinton after our arrival, while the buses departed for Scranton beginning as soon as each one was filled up; the last one left about 6:25 pm. The 425 uncoupled and came over into the service area. Two diesels and freight cars were outside the shop. Another line of diesels was beyond the shop, and a half mile or more to the north (in back of us here), out-of-service 4-8-4's C&O 614 (under tarps) and Reading T-1 2102 (on the turntable) were available for photos, but after a long, hot and muggy ride, my air-conditioned van which Rick had parked just about where we detrained was too inviting, and I didn't hike to either the 4-8-4's or the line of diesels to the south. R&N was a great host. In the first photo here, that's an ex- Milwaukee Road full-length Super Dome under the roof; R&N also has a Pullman and an RPO on that track.

An SD50 in "normal" R&N colors, and a "snoot-nose" SD40-2, I'm guessing both ex-UP without looking 'em up. The emblem says "Road of Anthracite."

RBMNRR stands for R&N's official name: Reading, Blue Mountain & Northern. "Blue Mountain" is a victim of "shortening."

We obviously ignored this old-time sign (a replica?), among several R&N has placed around its shop and "tower" (dispatchers, etc.) at Port Clinton.

Tom Glover, a Californian who'd ridden the train, waited at my van with my "driver," Rick, and Sarah Jennings, who also chased the train as hubby Bart rode (their car has the Illinois plates at left). He said he needed 1 or 2 miles of the route up around Haucks. Such dedication!

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