Results 1-6of 6 Reviews
October 31, 2013
From journal Exploring America's History
Los Angeles, California
September 3, 2007
To most Steamtown is nothing more than a dumping ground for the past where the transportation of the old days came to die among heaps of scrap metal to be forgotten about to make way for the future, but to some it’s more. Steamtown stands as a testament to the history of North Eastern Pennsylvania. The train yard is littered with steam engines that carry the name of the Canadian Nation Railway and Pullman among others. Towns like Hawley, Honesdale, and Scranton were not only the birthplace of the steam train and gravity railroad in the US, but built up because of it.
In the 1840s Scranton flourished as an industrial town manufacturing iron rails, and a decade later the mining industry boomed and the rails that they city built became a way to transport coal across the country. The Steamtown Mall is the jumping point for the museum. From the food court there is a walkway that leads you down to museum while allowing for a birds eye view of the train yard. I suggest starting with a walk through the train yard. Most of the trains you can climb up on and even walk through, but be when walking through. Although the traffic here isn’t what it was in its hay day this is still a working train yard in some respects. Never the less the 52 acres where the locomotives are located is only the beginning to the museum.
The museum itself is set up in a roundhouse (thing of a giant turn table used to turn locomotives around). Photographs, documents, videos, and displays fill the museum and lay out the history of the area and the effects that trains have had on it. A movie plays throughout the day called "Steel and Steam" in which a man recounts his career on the DL&W, which is the train yard in Scranton.
Most days the museum also offers 60 minute train rides to Moscow, a nearby town. The locomotive that pulls the train is the largest steam locomotive in operation today. The trains leave twice a day. Call ahead for date (570-340-5200) because there are a few months that the trains don’t run. Even if you don’t want to spend all that time on a train the locomotives do sit outside the station for a bit to allow tourists that opportunity to view a working train up close.The museum is open year round from 9am-5pm. Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, and $3 for kids ages 6-12.
From journal Sweet Home Pennsylvania
North Palm Beach, Florida
July 6, 2006
From journal Steamtown USA
September 30, 2005
The experience you get is a reminder of how the city use to be many years ago. It shows you how people worked to build the railroads and how they were built. The mall itself consists of two floors. It has a back deck that leads to the historic site. The historic site gives adults and children an outlook on how it used to be in earlier years, when the train was the basic means of transportation. They have a museum and a theater that will explain to you everything that happened and how the train still is a means of transportation today. Your children can also get into different (actual) trains that were driven a long time ago. There is also a museum where you can see actual parts of the trains and who drove them. Everything you need to know about the history you will find here.
From journal The Mall at Steamtown
March 18, 2004
If you are patient enough, you can watch them turn the engine. We kept an eye on the progress of the train as we moved from building to building, but missed the actual turn.
Your visit begins even before you enter the museum. In the park area there are plenty of trains to visit and signs to read. I suggest that you begin your visit with the 20-minute show called "Steel and Steam." It is one man’s story of the railroad and the influence it had on his life. His life reflects the lives of many people in the country during the same time. It brings us right up to the decline of the glamour of rail travel with the onset of the diesel locomotive in the 1950s. I found it fascinating, but Al fell asleep.
The museum is set up in the round around the roundhouse. You walk from one area to the next. One section that was of particular interest had statues of people that you might find in the rail industry: a conductor, a porter, the ticket sales people,
tourists, immigrants, and many more. Each had a write up, a display case, and a brightly colored figure. It was very interesting. There was another audio-visual show about the labor issues that have faced both the employees and the owners of the railroads.
You get to climb aboard many of the trains. You can walk through a mail car,
a pullman, and a dining car. This is a very child-friendly museum, as children are encouraged to look and touch and to pull and push levers and buttons. There are park service employees strategically located throughout the museum to answer any questions you or your children may have. They appeared to respond to the enthusiasm of children. There are handicap ramps in most areas and an elevator in the main building.
There is an excursion train ride that you can take for an additional cost. It goes to the town of Moscow. It only operates on the weekends, except in the summertime. There is a gift small store that offers a few items, including T-shirts and books for train enthusiasts.
From journal Steamy Scranton
Riverview, New Brunswick
September 29, 2003
As the visitor approaches the parking lot, he passes several steam engines and the realization hits that this is going to be a special place. At the ticket booth, you are given a bracelet that allows you access to the whole site and a half-hour train ride up to the old Scranton Station, a tourist destination in its own right and now a Radisson Hotel. At the Visitor Center you can receive your orientation… it’s a big site and you realize that you are standing in a large roundhouse with its turntable and track intact.
It is possible to start your tour anywhere you want, or you can hook up with a tour given by one of the site interpreters. The interpreters are typical of the Park Service, knowledgeable and enthusiastic and generally speaking, they are students of that which they teach, so they aren’t operating with a script, they have done their research. We started with the half-hour train-ride in old cars pulled by a steam engine. There was an interpreter on board and he discussed the train and the surroundings. He was followed by a former coal miner who talked about the mining of anthracite in the area and its advantage over soft coal.
Arriving back in the round house we went to look at the displays. In the 1902 section of the roundhouse there was a cut-away steam engine. I had no idea how it worked but as I walked into the Technology Museum I got a pretty good idea. The part of the museum that I enjoyed the most was the history section. There were interesting displays and film on everything from the architecture of train stations to train wrecks.
There are a lot of static train exhibits. Engines range from a 4-8-8-4 Big Boy to the smallest engine, a tiny thing that would fit into a one-car garage and leave room for storage. There were cars that were accessible--a caboose, a mail car, a private car, a boxcar--and of course engines that were, for want of a better expression, museum pieces. What I really liked looking at was the unimproved stock. There are a large number of old cars and engines in various states of disrepair. This is a working museum that rebuilds stock. Add to all this a theatre with frequently running films and an excursion train at some times and you’ve got a great family environment and entertainment.
From journal Travelling in Eastern Pennsylvania