Steamtown National Historic Site | TRAIN COLLECTION

Locomotives on display at Steamtown National Historic Site

Locomotives on display at Steamtown National Historic Site

As with any railroad museum, Steamtown National Historic Site has a collection of locomotives and railway cars. Some of these are open for visitors to go aboard, and some actually run, but the vast majority of the collection is non-working and just for display. The park also has what can be termed a train graveyard where engines and cars sit rusting away.

I have provided detailed information on the locomotives that were on display outside at Steamtown National Historic Site when I visited. There are also many locomotives inside the roundhouse, but I have not included them in my detailed listings because I could not get decent photos of them. They are in a poorly lit area and parked side by side, so it is not possible to get far enough away to photograph the entire locomotive. However, I have provided a listing of what is inside the roundhouse on the Roundhouse and Turntable web page here on National Park Planner.

Reading No. 2124

Illinois Central No. 790

Rahway Valley No. 15

New Haven Trap Rock Company No. 43

E. J. Lavino & Company No. 3

Canadian National No. 47

Groveton Paper Company No. 7

Union Pacific “Big Boy” No. 4012

Locomotives inside the roundhouse at Steamtown National Historic Site

Locomotives inside the roundhouse at Steamtown National Historic Site

On the east side of the parking lot (left if looking at the main complex) is for lack of a better term, a train graveyard. While there are a few locomotives, most of the collection is passenger and freight cars of all sorts. A park Ranger told me that it is doubtful any of these will be restored, so most likely this is their final resting place.

View of the train graveyard at Steamtown National Historic Site

View of the train graveyard at Steamtown National Historic Site

I suspect the reason why there are so many cars and not locomotives is because visitors to railroad museums want to see the locomotives. Yes, it is cool to go inside a passenger car or a caboose, but only a few are needed. Steamtown National Historic Site has a Louisville & Nashville No. 1100RPO mail car from 1914 and a business car for railroad executives and other wealthy businessmen that was built around 1929 by the Pullman Company for the Erie Railroad. Both are open for visitors to go aboard. Those taking a short train ride or one of the longer excursions offered by the park will actually be riding in restored passenger cars from the steam era of railroad history.

Interior of the Louisville & Nashville No. 1100RPO mail car on display at Steamtown National Historic Site

Interior of the Louisville & Nashville No. 1100RPO mail car on display at Steamtown National Historic Site

Interior of the Louisville & Nashville No. 1100RPO mail car on display at Steamtown National Historic Site

Interior of the Louisville & Nashville No. 1100RPO mail car on display at Steamtown National Historic Site

Pullman Company-built Erie Business Car No. 3 on display at Steamtown National Historic Site

Pullman Company-built Erie Business Car No. 3 on display at Steamtown National Historic Site

Interior of the Erie Business Car No. 3 on display at Steamtown National Historic Site

Interior of the Erie Business Car No. 3 on display at Steamtown National Historic Site

Dining area of the Erie Business Car No. 3 on display at Steamtown National Historic Site

Dining area of the Erie Business Car No. 3 on display at Steamtown National Historic Site

Regardless of their future, the locomotives and railway cars in the train graveyard are pretty neat to look at and photograph. For a birds-eye-view, take the elevated walkway that eventually connects to a shopping mall next to the park. You can get some great views from here, not only of the railway cars, but also of the roundhouse and Steamtown National Historic Site in general.

Train graveyard at Steamtown National Historic Site

Train graveyard at Steamtown National Historic Site

Not all locomotives and cars in the graveyard have a foreboding future ahead of them. In August 2023, Steamtown National Historic Site received a donation from Eric Yankovich to restore the Atlantic Coast Line No. 1901, an SW-1 class diesel-electric locomotive that was built in 1939 by the Electro-Motive Corporation, which was part of General Motors. When work is completed in 2025, No. 1901 will be used on some of the short excursions offered by Steamtown National Historic Site as well as for switching duties around the railyard. Diesel-elective locomotives were commercially available by the mid-1920s and had completely replaced steam engines by the late 1950s.

Atlantic Coast Line No. 1901 at Steamtown National Historic Site is now being restored

Atlantic Coast Line No. 1901 at Steamtown National Historic Site is now being restored

I spotted a few other locomotives in the graveyard, one possibly being the Norwood & St. Lawrence Railroad No. 210, a 2-6-0 Mogul-type locomotive built by the American Locomotive Company in 1923. I couldn’t get a good look at it from the elevated walkway, but the only number 210 locomotive listed on Steamtown’s roster is the Norwood & St. Lawrence No. 210.

(Note: Numbers used to describe a steam locomotive, such as 2-6-0, are the classification system known as Whyte Notation, named after Frederick Whyte who created the system in 1900. These numbers describe the arrangements of wheels. Most steam locomotives only have three numbers, with the first being the number of non-powered wheels used to support the front of the engine, the second being the number of powered wheels, and the third being the number of non-powered rear wheels. For a locomotive with four numbers, the middle two are powered wheels.)

Norwood & St. Lawrence Railroad No. 210 rests in the train graveyard at Steamtown National Historic Site

Norwood & St. Lawrence Railroad No. 210 rests in the train graveyard at Steamtown National Historic Site

Another locomotive in poor condition is the Canadian Pacific No. 2929, a 4-4-4 Jubilee-type locomotive built by the Canadian Locomotive Company in 1938. It is the only 4-4-4 locomotive in the United States.

Canadian Pacific No. 2929 rusts away in the train graveyard at Steamtown National Historic Site

Canadian Pacific No. 2929 rusts away in the train graveyard at Steamtown National Historic Site

One other I spotted is the Brooks-Scanlon Corporation No. 1, a 2-6-2 Prairie-type locomotive built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1914. The Prairie nomenclature comes from the fact that this type of engine worked well in flat areas, and they were particularly liked by lumber companies. The No. 1 was mainly used in Florida, first by the Carpenter-O’Brien Lumber Company. It was bought out by the Brooks-Scanlon Lumber Company in 1917.

Brooks-Scanlon Corporation No. 1 in the train graveyard at Steamtown National Historic Site

Brooks-Scanlon Corporation No. 1 in the train graveyard at Steamtown National Historic Site

There was one passenger car in the graveyard that caught my interest. I asked a Ranger about it and was told this was a wooden car on a steel frame that most likely dates to the 1880s. It is a shame it is rotting away, but at this point the wooden sections would need to be rebuilt from almost scratch.

1880s passenger coach rots in the train graveyard at Steamtown National Recreation Area

1880s passenger coach rots in the train graveyard at Steamtown National Recreation Area

The graveyard also holds an interesting-looking railroad maintenance car, the Long Island Railroad Rotary Snowplow No. 193 built in 1898 by Cooke Locomotive and Machine Works. It was actually used up until 1967. The following year it was purchased by a private individual and sat in one place in New Jersey until being moved to Steamtown National Historic Site in 1993—and it appears to have sat in one place since. This is one of only seven such snowplows that were purchased by east cost railroad companies, and the only one of the seven still in existence. This type of snowplow was mainly used in the Great Plains and western mountain ranges.

Long Island Railroad Rotary Snowplow No. 193 at Steamtown National Recreation Area

Long Island Railroad Rotary Snowplow No. 193 at Steamtown National Recreation Area

In addition to steam locomotives, there are a few diesel-electric engines at Steamtown National Historic Site. These are used to move the steam engines that do not run, and they also haul passenger cars on some of the short and long excursions offered by the park. A few are actually owned by other organizations and just stored at Steamtown. The Nickel Plate 514 was used for the excursion I took to East Stroudsburg. This was built by the General Motors Electro-Motive Division, the renamed Electro-Motive Corporation, for the New York, Chicago, & St. Louis “Nickel Plate Road” Railroad in 1958.

New York, Chicago, & St. Louis "Nickel Plate Road" Railroad No. 514 at Steamtown National Recreation Area

New York, Chicago, & St. Louis “Nickel Plate Road” Railroad No. 514 at Steamtown National Recreation Area

Another diesel-electric at Steamtown is the Delaware, Lackawanna, & Western No. 663, which is now owned by the Tri State Railway Historical Society. It was one of 1,111 F3A cabs built by General Motors between 1945 and 1949. Of these, there are only two remaining in the entire world that have never been modified and are still in operating condition, with the engine at Steamtown being one of them. No. 663 was also used on the excursion I took.

Delaware, Lackawanna, & Western No. 663 at Steamtown National Historic Site

Delaware, Lackawanna, & Western No. 663 at Steamtown National Historic Site

Also on display at Steamtown is the diesel-electric Lackawanna SC No. 426. It was built by the Electro–Motive Corporation in 1935. Like the Atlantic Coast Line No. 1901, No. 426 was operating when steam-powered engines still dominated the railroad industry. It was restored by the Delaware-Lackawanna Railroad (DL) and loaned to Steamtown National Historic Site.

Lackawanna SC No. 426 diesel-electric locomotive on display at Steamtown National Historic Site

Lackawanna SC No. 426 diesel-electric locomotive on display at Steamtown National Historic Site

Off to the left of the walkway is what looks like a silo with a tall structure next to it, plus four larger concrete rings now filled with vegetation. The silo is a Green Sand Storage Bin built in 1917. Green sand refers to wet sand, which I assume is how it was delivered to the railyard, and it was dried and stored in the silo. All locomotives have sand boxes on the underside, and the sand is dumped onto the tracks when better traction is required.

The concrete rings were installed around diesel fuel tanks for protection. These were built in the mid-1940s when diesel locomotives began replacing the steam engines.

Green Sand Storage Bin at Steamtown National Historic Site

Green Sand Storage Bin at Steamtown National Historic Site

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Last updated on March 4, 2024
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