I personally am not a big train buff. On the other hand, I shudder to think of how much money we have blown on Thomas the Tank Engine paraphernalia for my four year old. We have trains in plastic, wood, and metal. We have tables and track and engine sheds. We have videos and we have books. He is also big into construction equipment and bugs, but I think the train collection wins in the sheer cost department. He can pick up bugs for free in the yard and plastic construction toys are cheap compared to the train stuff.


So this past week the family took a trip to the Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton, PA. This is a really interesting place to visit even if you don’t know a diesel from a steamy. The train holds a big place in the Metalhistory of this country’s development geographically, socially, and politically so history buffs are covered. If you are into mechanical qizmos, you can get that here too. The engineering that went into some of the trains to make them faster, stronger, safer, and bigger is amazing. You can even study architecture in the rail cars. In their hey day passenger trains were luxury hotels on wheels with some cool innovations and lots of painstaking hand craftsmanship. For photo nuts like me – there is just a lot of weird crap laying around waiting to be shot.

I was just going with the family for fun so I didn’t take all the camera equipment. We took our point and shoot digital mainly to keep track of the boy, but in the meantime I took some artsy fartsy shots too. One nice thing about Cow Catcherthe park is that you can get close to the stuff. This is a working train depot as well as a historic site. You can see equipment being repaired and restored and ride on trains and trolleys and you can wander around in a “graveyard” of old equipment waiting to be restored or trashed as the case may be.

The cost is reasonable and the staff is very helpful and friendly. We blew an entire day wandering around. We took a couple of guided tours and the trolly ride through some nice long dark tunnels. The adults enjoyed it as much as kid.Train

Scranton itself isn’t what you might think of as a big tourist destination, but we really liked it. It is an old city built on the train and coal industries. There was plenty of money around “in the day” so there are some beautiful old buildings. We spent a few hours the next day at Nay Aug Park in downtown Scranton. With a small animal sanctuary, lots of trees, and a gorge with a waterfall it was nice. The Everhart museum is also on the grounds. The boy wasn’t that impressed with the paintings, but he loved the natural history collections.



2 Responses to “SteamTown”

  1. Suresh Gundappa Says:

    I find it really creative! I used to shoot doors of old Haunted buildings for whiile!

  2. forestrat Says:

    As a rule I only do “nature” type stuff with as little evidence of man-made objects as possible in the pictures. Lately though I’ve had a chance to do some architectural work with historic buildings. Maybe after this I’ll even dabble a little in industrial subjects!

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