Recent Strasburg, PA Trip

Discussion in 'The Real Thing- North America' started by RobertInOntario, Jul 13, 2007.

  1. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    My family and I just returned from our vacation in Strasburg, PA. Again, thanks to so many Gauge members for helping to make this trip a success. We've been dreaming about & planning for this for a year or more.

    I can't say enough good things about the Strasburg Railroad. It's awesome! Sure, it's a short train ride but they make up for that in every other area. The coaches are in fantastic condition & beautifully restored; it's great watching two steam engines operate, pass each other and shunt down sidings; and the railroad is nestled into a very scenic and picturesque location. And there are lots of other activities & shops around the station.

    We spent about 6 days in Strasburg which was ample time to see the many RR sites. I'm attaching some pics from the Strasburg RR as well as the RR museum.

    Also, on the drive home we missed a turn off for our planned route and wound up -- completely by coincidence :mrgreen: -- in Scranton, PA. I said to my wife that I just had to stop by and see Steamtown, USA!, which we did, although it was closed at the time. But my two sons and I still had a chance to look at some of the locos outdoors before the park ranger asked us to leave -- maybe next time.

    Overall, our journey was good but we sure missed Tim Hortons! As a substitute, we went to Duncan Donuts but it's nowhere near as good!

    [Argh, I'm having trouble uploading pics so I'll have to post them later!]

  2. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

  3. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    So what was your favorite locomotive or car? The K-4? The M-1? A 4-4-2? The 4-4-0? A Strasbourg RR engine?
  4. myltlpny

    myltlpny Member

    It's a great place to visit. It's been a couple of years since I've been there, but I'd just love to go again.
  5. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Tough question! I suppose it was either the Decapod, Great Western (#90) or the 4-6-0 Norfolk and Western (#475) both of which were operating on the Strasburg Railroad. I watched them as much as I could !

  6. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Yeah, we sure developed a fondness for the area and were really sorry to leave -- and now we keep thinking about it! Maybe one day we'll go back!

  7. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    That's actually an N&W and the decapod are very excellent choices! They used to run the 4-4-0 and a 4-4-2 from the museum too!

    4-8-0s were rare, decapods were they are definitely two of the coolest restored engines! The 4-8-0 is a sister to at least one of the famed lost engines of Roanoke.
  8. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Interesting! They also have an ex-CNR switcher (#31) which I believe they still use. I was also fascinated to see & learn that they rebuilt an actual steam engine as a Thomas the Tank Engine! Although it wasn't running, my sons & I had a chance to peak into the engine shed a few times to see it. :mrgreen::) There are several steam tank engines in the UK painted up as "Thomases," but it was great to see one here in North America (usually they're dummies pushed by a diesel).

    The Strasburg RR also runs (or used to run?) another loco, #89 -- do you know whatever became of that? I don't recall seeing it at the museum but it could well have been there.

  9. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Great stuff... Definitely going to have to add it to my list of things to see...! ;) :D

  10. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Yeah, it was amazing how attached and sentimental both my wife & I became about the area. My wife said the area was so nice that she could easily put up with all the train stuff !! :mrgreen::mrgreen:

    It's about an 8-10 hour drive to get there, although it took us MUCH longer because of traffic, border delays, and our kids! I'd expect it's a similar distance from the Ottawa area?

  11. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    I think #89 is still there...I checked, and they have it listed there (I didn't check the notes to see if people thought it was gone).

    I would recommend a trip to western PA sometime...visit the heart of Pennsy country...Altoona, Horseshoe Curve, and the Gallitzin Tunnels. The best is definitely the East Broad Top...51 years ago, the employees went home expecting to be back at work in a few weeks. They left all their tools sit and their calenders on the wall. The Kovalcheck Salvage company bought the railroad to scrap it...but waited for the scrap prices to rise. After 4 years, town officials approached about parking a locomotive outside for the towns anniversary, and instead the Kovalcheck's fired up an engine! Visiting the railroad is essentially stepping into 1956. All but a couple hundred meters of the mainline are intact, all the cars (hundreds) are still in the yards (except a few hoppers that have become WP&Y, D&S, and C&T ballasts cars), all 6 2-8-2s are in the engine house (4 have run), and 1 of the 2 0-6-0s is in the other engine house (the 2nd 0-6-0 is in Indiana). The Kovalcheck family are wonderful because of this...the railroad has become a family heirloom! They use around 7 miles of the 28mile mainline.

    Originally, there was much discussion of establishing the Strasburg museum at Mt. Union on the EBT, but ultimately it was too far from the major cities. East Broad Top Railroad Official Site
    There's also a traction group next door whom use part of the old Shade Gap branch.

    If you want to see great Canadian steam in action...go to Steamtown! Those CP 4-6-2s are wonderful engines...great steaming (no leaks)...and well designed. Too small for the mainlines, but excellent for tourist trains. They run a CN locomotive too. I thought I'd mention it since you asked about #89 and mention #31. I have railroad patriotic pride...but I have a soft spot for Canadian (which I view as the same), British, and German trains.
  12. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Wow! Thanks for the info about #89 -- hopefully it's still running as I've seen it in several pics.

    While I was in PA, I did get wind of the East Broad Top and it sounded very good -- but you can only do so many things on one trip! It sure sounds like a neat step back in time though, very cool how that came about.

    On the journey home, believe it or not, we missed our turn-off and ended up heading straight to Scranton! :mrgreen: I said to my wife that it would be torture if we didn't stop there!! Well, we found it but it was 5 p.m. when we arrived and it had just closed. :cry: But it at least gave me a chance for my two sons & I to poke round some of the outdoor locos before the warden (nicely) asked us to leave!

    Yes, it would be great to ride on some of the CN or CP locos from Scranton some day. But the setting and country atmosphere of Strasburg was hard to beat! Maybe we'll try the EBT or Scranton in the future.

    Yes, I too have patriotic pride in our own Canadian locos as well as U.S. ones. Actually, my main railway interest is in British trains & I often get to see the real thing in my wife's native England, when we visit her family there. In Britain, they have several large steam railways throughout the country. This is the one near my wife's parents (, and the several steam (and diesel) locos travel through four 1950s stations along 10 miles of track! :):grin:.

    Take care and thanks again for this info!

  13. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    Cool! I love British trains. I've been to the NRM twice...the finest museum I've ever been too. My father's opinion is that Sacramento is the only museum in the same universe as the NRM (and my dad is a former curator of a railroad museum).

    It nearly killed me to have missed the Severn Valley when I was in England this past spring, but seeing a 9F 2-10-0 as it visited the heritage railway in the northern part of the Cotswolds made up for it. I also chased a 4-6-0 in Cornwall and saw a small railway at the south edge of the lake district. British trains rock. Sadly, I didn't have adequate internet connections towards the end of the trip and missed meeting up with Conopus ;-( That would have been awesome to go on a rail tour with him.
  14. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    I've been to Yorkshire but haven't had a chance to go to the NRM yet -- I'm envious! I did go on the Severn Valley once but it was in 1980! :eek: with my parents. I remember it was an awesome trip though.

    It's very sad to hear about the flood damage that happened in June (see and scroll part way down). They can now only operate between two stations until they restore the track from the landslide damage.
    On a different topic, the news about the Tornado rebuild is really neat! :mrgreen: I think they are building a few brand new locos ...

    Right now, we're planning to visit England at Christmas and hope to go to the Watercress Line and/or possibly the Swanage Railway ( which isn't too far away.

    Take care!
  15. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    I've been following the A-1 Peppercorn Tornado project for a few years. I used to receive Steam Railway from a friend of my dad's from Ft. the stream works the other way with Heritage Railway emanating from Cincinnati. The Brits are amazing preservationists. It's sad that the storms did that much damage to the SVR. I wonder if it'll be in copy of Heritage Railway I'll be picking up today.

    Enjoy your trip.

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