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Contact: Mark Brennan, 570-340-5244
SCRANTON, Pa. - Steamtown National Historic Site, downtown Scranton, is the place to create family memories on Saturday and Sunday, September 1 and 2 of Labor Day weekend, as the National Park Service joins with partners to host Railfest 2012. The annual event is a celebration of railroading past, present and future, with visiting equipment displays, children's programs, special shop demonstrations and, of course, train rides on both days of the event.
The fun begins on Saturday, September 1 at 10:00 a.m. with the presentation of colors by the Delaney DeLacy guard and the Confederation of Union Generals. Park Superintendent Kip Hagen will then host the Opening Ceremony, welcoming special event Grand Marshal Al Boscov, President and Chief Executive Officer, Boscov's Department Store. The Lackawanna Historical Society will also present the 4th annual Alan Sweeney Memorial Award to an individual who has demonstrated unwavering dedication to the heritage of the Lackawanna Valley.
Visiting equipment this year will include an Amtrak P42 passenger locomotive in a "Heritage" (40th anniversary) paint scheme and an F-40 non-powered cab unit. The Amtrak train set, which will be open to the public, will include a Viewliner Diner and Sleeper, and an Amfleet II passenger coach; additionally, several private passenger cars are scheduled to be open to the public during the Amtrak visit.Amtrak celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2011, and painted several locomotives in "Heritage" paint-schemes to commemorate the occasion. Amtrak's Viewliners were designed as replacements for single-level cars, built between 1940 and 1956. Delivered to Amtrak in 1990, the dining car is unique as it was used just one year before moving to storage; the car has recently been overhauled and redecorated, and is back in service. The Viewliners are single-level cars used on Amtrak's long-distance trains where clearances prohibit the use of bi-level cars.
Norfolk Southern Corp. (NS) will help represent the freight railroad operators in northeastern Pennsylvania during Railfest 2012. NS plans to visit with an F7A diesel locomotive, one of those assigned to the railroad's executive service. Along with a newly refurbished EMD SD60 freight locomotive and an SW-type switch engine. The hugely popular, interactive NS Exhibit Car will also visit this year. A two-year upgrade to the Exhibit Car was completed earlier this year to enhance the experience for guests. The work was done at Norfolk Southern's Juniata Shops at Altoona, Pa., one of the largest railroad mechanical complexes in the world. This specially-equipped car combines exhibit favorites including a locomotive simulator complete with throttle, brake, and horn putting guests in control of a virtual freight train, with several new surprises!
The Reading Company Technical Historical Society's historic FP-7 locomotives, the Reading & Northern Railroad's end cab switcher and the Anthracite Railroads Historical Society's DL&W F3A locomotives are also planning to provide equipment displays.
Planned special programs include:
- Amtrak "real-time" train-tracking theater program
- "Big Band-era" Disney-style children music
- Caboose Rides, pulled by Delaware-Lackawanna's EMC-built DL&W #426 SC switcher
- "Juggler Rob Smith" children's programs
- Live small "Steamer" rides
- "Scranton Limited" short train rides
- Scranton Police Dept. K-9 Unit Demonstrations
- Special Machine Shop demonstrations
- Turntable Demonstrations
- Union Pacific #4012 "Big Boy" Cab tours
Planned exhibitors include:
- Carbondale Historical Society
- "Elegant Corrosion" digital photo exhibit
- Hi-Rail and Trackmobile displays
- LEGO railroad models (PA LEGO User Group)
- Model railroad train displays
- Railway & Locomotive Historical Society
- "What Can Be Found Under the Ground in the Railroad Yard" special exhibit
Other event partners include the Lackawanna County Trolley Museum, which will offer an expanded schedule of trolley rides along a portion of the former Laurel Line. Also, remember to bring along your appetite for great Italian food and treats as La Festa Italiana takes place at Courthouse Square in the downtown Scranton. The County of Lackawanna Transit System (COLTS) will provide free trolley bus service between Steamtown NHS and La Festa during the park's operating hours on both days. For more information on the Lackawanna County Trolley Museum, phone direct (570) 963-6590; information on La Festa Italiana is available at www.lafestaitaliana.org.
Additionally, the Erie Lackawanna Dining Car Preservation Society will offer a special inaugural diesel excursion on Saturday, September 1 from the Delaware Water Gap, with stops at East Stroudsburg and Cresco, Pa. before arriving with passengers attending Railfest 2012 and La Festa Italiana. Reservations, pricing, directions and schedule information can be obtained online at www.eldcps.org/store/LaFesta-Railfest-2012-09-01.html or by calling (908) 268-0675.
Located in Scranton, Pennsylvania, Steamtown NHS is open daily from 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.From I-81, follow exit 185 (Central Scranton Expressway); then, follow the signs to the main entrance at Lackawanna and Cliff Avenues. During the event, the Steamtown parking lot may fill early; visitors are encouraged to use the Mall at Steamtown parking garage adjacent to the site. Train excursion information and reservations may be made by phoning (570) 340-5204 daily, 9:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. General Park information is available at the Park website, www.nps.gov/stea anytime!
- NPS -