• An engineer inspects the running gear of a steam locomotive at Steamtown NHS

    Steamtown

    National Historic Site Pennsylvania

Frequently Asked Questions

Planning a visit to a National Park can generate many questions. Below are answers to some of the more frequently asked questions, some with links to help you find the information within this website.

How and why was Steamtown National Historic Site created?
Steamtown National Historic Site was created by Public Law #99-591 in 1986 to preserve the history of steam railroading in America. The new entity was placed under the administration of the Department of the Interior, National Park Service, as authorized by law.

Where is Steamtown NHS?

Steamtown NHS is located in downtown Scranton, Pennsylvania. The Park entrance is at the intersection of Lackawanna Ave. and Cliff St. Please do NOT use the park mailing address to locate the park; there is no public access from that location which is approximately 5-6 blocks from our park entrance. Please click for directions.


Why is Steamtown NHS located in Scranton, Pennsylvania?
When Steamtown National Historic Site was created in 1986, the collection, belonging to a non-profit organization called Steamtown USA (The Steamtown Foundation for the Preservation of Steam), occupied the former railroad yards of the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad. Rather than move the collection to a different locale, the yard was acquired through donation via Lackawanna County and the City of Scranton. The yard itself has been in continuous commercial use since 1851 and includes a selection of steam-era buildings including part of the original Locomotive Shop (1865), a portion of the second Roundhouse (1902/1917/1937), and the Sand Tower (1912), as well as other buildings. The combination of the large collection of locomotives and rolling stock from the heyday of steam railroading, and a reasonably complete railroad yard, made Scranton a good location for a National Park telling the story of steam railroading in America.

When is Steamtown NHS open?

The Park is open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (Winter Hours: 10:00 am to 4:00 pm). The park is closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year's Day. Click for more information. During the winter months, due to extreme weather conditions, the park may delay opening, close early or close for the day. "Alerts" are posted on our website (top, center of page). Please phone 570-340-5200 prior to your winter visit.


Is food available at the park?
Snacks, cold soft drinks and water (no hot beverages) are available for purchase at the Bookstore during regular operating hours; there are no restaurants, snack or coffee bars at Steamtown. However, the nearby Mall at Steamtown offers a Food Court and restaurant next door to the Park, and there are cafes, restaurants and grocery stores available throughout downtown Scranton. Click for more information. Picnic tables, located outside of the Complex, are available seasonally, but remember that food, snacks and beverages are not allowed inside the Bookstore or any of the museum buildings, including the Visitor Center, Theater, and Museums.

When do the trains run?
Steamtown's short train rides operate seasonally. The "Scranton Limited" short train rides operate Monday-Saturdays during July and August, and the "Nay Aug Limited" short train rides operate on some Sundays; note that the short train rides may be cancelled on weekends that have excursions scheduled. The remaining 2014 summer excursion schedule is available to view, download and print; the Fall Foliage schedule is expected to be announced in August. During our excursion season, typically July, August and October, we offer longer train excursions to destinations such as Moscow and Gouldsboro/Tobyhanna, PA on select weekends. Phone 570-340-5204 (888-693-9391 X5204) for tickets and information.

I did not find any reference to the former STEAMTOWN in New England.
Steamtown National Historic Site was created in 1986 to preserve the history of steam railroading in America, concentrating on the era 1850 through 1950. This is the mission of the park. The park was not created to preserve the history of Steamtown USA, the Lackawanna Railroad, or any specific railroad company.

Our site does touch on the history of railroad preservation, specifically in our
History Museum. The work of F. Nelson Blount, creator of the former Steamtown USA, and other pioneers of the steam preservation movement, is a part (albeit a small part) of the story Steamtown NHS has been charged with preserving.

When will the
Reading 2124 (or other locomotive) be restored to operation?
To read Steamtown's response to this "Frequently Asked Question", please click here (PDF).

Did You Know?

USS Olympia

Many railroads, particularly Eastern roads, used anthracite coal for locomotive fuel during the early steam era. During World War I, the US Navy and the Allied Forces used anthracite coal to power the steam boilers of warships such as Admiral Dewey's USS Olympia, which is berthed at the Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia. Burning anthracite resulted in low-smoke emissions from steamship boilers and gave the Allies a strategic opportunity to close-in on the enemy in a battle. With anthracite coal diverted to the war effort, locomotive builders adapted to using bituminous coal in their future designs.