Train fans looking for their fill of rail history should think about heading to Steamtown National Historic Site in eastern Pennsylvania this coming weekend for Railfest 2014.
The event will be held Saturday and Sunday at Steamtown, which is located in downtown Scranton. The annual event is a celebration of railroading past, present and future, with visiting equipment, displays, children's programs, special tours and shop demonstrations and, of course, train rides on both days of the event.
The festival opens Saturday at 10 a.m. with the presentation of colors by the Confederation of Union Generals. Park Superintendent Deborah Conway will then host the Opening Ceremony, welcoming special event Grand Marshal Donna Hagen, wife of the late Steamtown Superintendent, Harold 'Kip' Hagen. The Lackawanna Historical Society will also present the 6th annual Alan Sweeney Memorial Award to an individual who has demonstrated unwavering dedication to the heritage of the Lackawanna Valley. Canadian Pacific Railway, Erie Lackawanna Dining Car Preservation Society, Norfolk Southern, North Shore Railroad, the Delaware-Lackawanna Railroad, and the Anthracite Railroads Historical Society's F3A locomotives, painted into the former Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad's paint scheme, are planning to provide equipment displays.
Planned programs include:
* Union Pacific #4012 'Big Boy' locomotive cab tours
* Norfolk Southern's Exhibit Car
* Scranton's 'Confederation of Union Generals' theater presentation
* 'Big Band' performances by Ron Leas' Band (Saturday only)
* 'Scranton Limited' short train rides
* Caboose Rides
* Garden Railroad rides with 'live steam'
* Lehigh Valley #353 Business Car tours
* Locomotive Shops will be open for tours
* Tours of the DL&W's Mattes Street Tower and former Office & Storage Building
* Railroad Hit Songs by 'David Stone: The Johnny Cash Experience'
* Free Trolley Bus rides to and from the Scranton Iron Furnaces and La Festa Italiana
Planned exhibitors include:
* Anthracite Hi-Railers 'O'-gauge model train layout
* Mid Atlantic Motorcars Association
* Operation Lifesaver information table (Saturday only)
* Meet-the-Author, David Crosby, 'The Lackawanna Railroad in Northeastern Pennsylvania' (Sunday only)
Excursions are planned to Moscow, Pennsylvania, on each event day, with a historic diesel locomotive. At Moscow Station, ''photo run-bys' are also scheduled. The excursions will depart the Boarding Platform at 12:30 p.m. each day with a planned return to Scranton at approximately 3:30 p.m. Excursion fares are $24 for adults 17 to 61, $22 for seniors 62 and older, and $17 for children ages 6-16. Children 5 and younger require a 'no-charge' ticket. For reservations, phone (570) 340-5204.
David Stone: The Johnny Cash Experience will perform on both event days. This is a Broadway-quality show that plays predominantly to a new generation of fans too young to have known the real thing in its zenith. David Stone is a Philadelphia born singer/songwriter who has been singing the songs of Johnny Cash nearly all of his life. He takes the audience through the late country legend's career, covering early Johnny Cash, Johnny Cash & June Carter, and the Folsom Prison Concert Era. Costs of the performances are included in the park's daily entrance fee.
Other event partners include the Lackawanna County Trolley Museum, which will offer an expanded schedule for trolley rides along a portion of the former Laurel Line. While two popular local food vendors will be on-site each day, remember to bring along your hunger for the great Italian food and treats available at La Festa Italiana at Courthouse Square. COLTS trolley buses will provide free shuttles on a loop to the Scranton Iron Furnaces and La Festa Italiana.
Steamtown NHS is open daily from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. From I-81, follow exit 185 (Central Scranton Expressway); then, follow the signs to the main entrance at Lackawanna and Cliff Avenues. Train excursion reservations may be made by phoning (570) 340-5204 daily, 9 a.m. ' 4 p.m. General Park information is available by phoning (570) 340-5200 during regular business hours or by visiting our website, www.nps.gov/stea anytime!