Steamtown National Historic Site

Road Trip Guide: Steamtown National Historic Site

May 26, 2014 

Photographing History

Steam train enthusiast Philip Beard, 16, of Hopewell Junction, N.Y., takes pictures of old, weathered train cars parked along the tracks at the Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton.

BUTCH COMEGYS, THE SCRANTON TIMES-TRIBUNE — AP file photo

  • A short drive away ...

    •  Lackawanna Coal Mine tour (3 miles west) Visitors can go 300 feet into the earth in a cart and walk around in a coal mine, which opened in 1860. It is open from April 1 to Nov. 30 and costs $10 for adults, lackawannacounty.org/index.php/attractions/coal-mine.

    •  Harry Houdini Museum (2 miles north) is open weekends from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and every day in July in August. It features a guided Houdini Tour and magic show. Reservations can be made in advance by calling 570-383-1821 for $17.95, houdini.org.

    •  Montage Mountain (8 miles south) is a ski resort in the winter and a water park in the summer. It also features ski lift rides overlooking the area and a resort lodge, montagemountainresorts.com.

    •  Scranton/ Wilkes-Barre RailRiders The Triple A affiliate of the New York Yankees, the RailRiders (5 miles south) provide top level minor league baseball, milb.com/index.jsp?sid=t531.

Families looking to see historical sites and the ins and outs of a train yard can head to the northeast part of Pennsylvania, said Jim Rodway, director of membership sales at Lackawanna County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton provides train excursions, a museum and opportunities to get up close to functioning locomotives. It’s in downtown Scranton at 150 S. Washington Ave.

Rodway said it’s a good, family-friendly way to spend a day.

“If you’re an avid train enthusiast, it’s a great place to visit,” he said.

Highlights include ...

• Scranton Limited train rides.

The frequent train rides showcase the local rail yards and take a 45-minute journey into the surrounding area. Each ride features a stop at the Nay Aug Gorge to see the landscape.

The trains depart at 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. They run Wednesdays to Saturdays in May; most Wednesdays to Fridays in June; daily in July and August; and Fridays and Saturdays in September, according to the website.

• Museum showcasing the history of steam powered engines.

It has a historic timeline of trains from the early days until the 1980s. It also includes a “life on the railroad” exhibit, which highlights behind-the-scenes people who kept the railroad running.

Another exhibit has a steam locomotive, a caboose and a boxcar, according to the website.

• 40 acres of rail yards with tables and space for outdoor eating.

Visitors can enjoy lunch outside during the summer months right in the rail yard at the picnic tables, according to the website.

• Guided tours.

The site offers daily tours from park rangers and volunteers that can talk about history and walk groups around the area, according to the website.

• Opportunity to see museum film “Steel and Steam.”

The film showcases a man’s career on the railroad and takes viewers through the massive changes of the industry in the early 20th century.

•  More information.

Additional information about the Steamtown National Historic Site can be found at nps.gov/stea/index.htm.

— Matt Morgan

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