Steamtown National Historic Site has scheduled steam-powered train trips in the Pocono Mountains during the fall foliage season. Critics have loudly complained about Steamtown’s sparse excursion schedule, but there’s little to dislike about these leaf peeper outings.
Northeastern Pennsylvania is at its scenic best during the fall foliage season, so it makes good sense for Steamtown to schedule leaf peeper excursions. This fall there will be eight steam-powered train trips departing from the downtown Scranton park and chugging to two popular destinations in the Poconos.
Excursions to Moscow will depart the Steamtown NHS boarding platform at 1:00 p.m. on October 5, 12, 18 and 26, and are expected to return at 3:00 p.m. The Lackawanna & Wyoming Valley Chapter, NRHS, which leases the former Moscow passenger station and freight house [see accompanying photo], will offer light refreshments for sale during the train’s layover. Moscow excursion tickets are priced at $21.00 for adults 17 to 61, $19.00 for seniors 62 and older, and $15.00 for children aged 6-16. Children 5 and younger require a “no-charge” ticket.
Excursions to Tobyhanna, a village [pop. 6,152] atop the Pocono Mountains, are planned for October 4, 11, 19 and 25. The Coolbaugh Township Historical Association and the Lackawanna Heritage Valley Authority will conduct brief walking tours during the one-hour layovers, and will have also feature light refreshments for sale. Additionally, the October 19 excursion will include a brief layover at the Gouldsboro Station. Departure from the Steamtown NHS boarding platform is 11:00 a.m., with an expected 3:00 p.m. return. Ticket prices for the Tobyhanna excursion are $31.00 for adults 17 to 61, $26.00 for seniors 62 and older, and $20.00 for children ages 6-16. Children 5 and younger require a “no-charge” ticket.
These leaf peeping excursions offer high quality, family friendly recreation at affordable prices, so booking them solid should be a fairly simple matter. The real challenge may be to find some way to do this sort of thing more often.
Steamtown has been in the news a good bit lately, and it’s not the kind of publicity the Park Service likes. Steamtown’s disappointing attendance and chronic budgetary woes have prompted calls for privatization, with some critics loudly insisting that Steamtown's annual schedule of excursions is far too light, and that the park must schedule excursions on a more frequent basis throughout the year if the park is to reverse its declining attendance trend and generate a healthy cash flow.
Whether and to what degree this might happen remains to be seen. Steamtown’s defenders vigorously oppose privatization and insist that visitor activities should remain primarily focused on the park’s downtown Scranton site. The battle of words continues. Meanwhile, Steamtown’s leaf peeper excursions in the Poconos are primed for fall fun.