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National Park Getaway: Steamtown National Historic Site

Originally Published in MotorHome Magazine

SCRANTON, Pa. – Steam rises around you. A giant turntable revolves. Excitement simmers in your chest. It might sound like you’re dancing the night away at a trendy club, but the turntable before you (used for positioning locomotives) isn’t manned by a DJ, and here, steam creates power, not ambiance. At Steamtown National Historic Site, thrills sweep through visitors as they travel by rail or watch an “iron horse” race along its track. The park offers train excursions of varying lengths. In 2010, trips start in April, but don’t delay a visit until then. Steamtown, like the United States in the 19th- and early 20th-century heyday of rail travel, boasts plenty of opportunities in addition to riding the rails. You can enter locomotives for a view of their controls and take a peek inside one locomotive that has had parts of its exterior cut away to reveal the operation of its steam engine. You can also walk through a post office car and a business car and check out museum exhibits.

The History Museum at Steamtown acquaints visitors with life on the railroad and with early railroads, as well as with the interaction between businessmen, laborers, members of the government, and people who used, owned, or worked on railroads. At the Technology Museum, learn about freight cars and the building of railroad tracks. Find out more about the railroads’ architecture, a sample of which is available at Steamtown in surviving portions of the Scranton roundhouse and locomotive repair shops of the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad. For further information about attractions at Steamtown, including its wintertime movies, read this week’s National Park Getaway. The National Park Getaways series helps people find new places to reconnect with nature, history, family, and friends. To see previous getaways, please visit www.nps.gov/getaways. Steamtown National Historic Site is the 32nd feature in the National Park Getaways series. From National Park Service

National Historic Landmark

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