Photographs & History

Photographs and History

An Institution of Steam Preservation

While there are many dedicated people operating steam locomotives in 2012, an institution among those in the Northeastern United States is the Strasburg Railroad. Reborn from a weedy right of way in 1958, by a group of dedicated business men who partnered to resurrect the historic line chartered in 1832. Running through the beautiful countryside of Lancaster County Pennsylvania, the company has continued to provide generations with an opportunity to ride living history through bucolic rolling farmlands.

Number 89 a former Canadian National Mogul Type Locomotive built in 1910, stands cold in August of 2011 waiting for its routine inspection.

Number 89 a former Canadian National Mogul Type Locomotive built in 1910, stands cold in August of 2011 waiting for its routine inspection.

As I child I was fortunate enough to visit several times, and now share it with my son and daughter making the occasional trip and also visit the neighboring Pennsylvania State Railroad Museum, another treasure of the Northeast.  Currently the Strasburg rosters four running steam locomotives including former Canadian National #7312 0-6-0 built in 1908 (renumbered 31 - subsequently the first locomotive purchased and operated by the 1958 Strasburg group), 1924 Baldwin Locomotive Works 2-10-0 #90 formerly of the Great Western Railway, A 1910 Mogul type, former Canadian National #89, purchased from the Green Mountain Railroad, and finally No 475, a former Class M Norfolk Western 4-8-0 built by the Baldwin Works in 1906, and finally a former Brooklyn East District 0-4-0 from the Porter Company which has been converted into an operating replica of Thomas the Tank Engine. In addition scores of beautifully restored period passenger, freight and non-revenue cars, a very special gas electric car, and even a few early diesel electric switchers!

Former Great Western Light Decapod Class 2-10-0 #90 stands on the ready track early in the morning on a foggy August day in 2011.

Former Great Western Light Decapod Class 2-10-0 #90 stands on the ready track early in the morning on a foggy August day in 2011.

Strasburg has a world class reputation for their mechanical shops, where everything is fabricated and maintained by skilled craftsmen of various trades  to keep the equipment in as new shape. These same men and women also contract out their services to other railroads and steam operators all over the Country. Something else unique about the Railroad is their dedication to preserving the landscape it operates in, the lush Amish farmlands. Several years ago, the company initiated a land trust to preserve open space along the line, putting proceeds from ticket sales into a trust to preserve the view for generations to come.

There has been quite a bit written about the historic Strasburg Railroad, but in my opinion, its best to go and visit, take a ride, chase the trains, get there early and watch the daily routine of prepping the locomotives for the day's run, or when they put them to bed at dusk. Its been instrumental in captivating my love for history, steam and the railroads that built our Country, and I hope sometime you'll have the opportunity to experience it too!

All I want for Christmas...

Page 18/19 of Lionel company's 1949 catalog illustrating three train sets with locomotives modeled after the PRR S2 Turbine Steam locomotive.

Page 18/19 of Lionel company's 1949 catalog illustrating three train sets with locomotives modeled after the PRR S2 Turbine Steam locomotive.

For many years young boys and girls and even moms and dads find that sentimental spot for the holiday train set buried in the attic that comes out once a year. The Lionel Train Company among others was no exception to many family holiday memories. What captured me as a child were the sleek lines of the PRR styled steam models, spark of ozone, and what seemed to be an intense noise for such young ears! Here are some samples from a 1949 and 1951 catalog the earlier stamped with Dealer "Wagners Roundhouse" of Pleasantville NJ, both courtesy of a close family member. Lets enjoy the memories of the Holidays past, and the excitement of Holidays to come!

Page 26 of the 1949 catalog illustrates the mighty GG-1 model that measured in at 14.5 inches, a dream gift for every child to recreate the high speed stream-liners that delivered them to a vague destination of childhood travels with family.

Page 26 of the 1949 catalog illustrates the mighty GG-1 model that measured in at 14.5 inches, a dream gift for every child to recreate the high speed stream-liners that delivered them to a vague destination of childhood travels with family.

The center piece of the 1951 Lionel Catalog touts "a Rip Roarin' Giant, Lionel's famous Steam Giant" catalog# 2173WS train set included the PRR S2, automated milk car, unloading coal hopper, operating ore dump car, double dome Sunoco tank car, and illuminated caboose (cabin car to PRR folks!).

The center piece of the 1951 Lionel Catalog touts "a Rip Roarin' Giant, Lionel's famous Steam Giant" catalog# 2173WS train set included the PRR S2, automated milk car, unloading coal hopper, operating ore dump car, double dome Sunoco tank car, and illuminated caboose (cabin car to PRR folks!).