While Fun Roads abound in the serene, rolling hills of Northeastern Pennsylvania; one of the best places to experience some living history is abroad an authentic 1920s coal-powered train. Just outside of Scranton PA is The Steamtown National Historic Site where a trip of a lifetime awaits you on the Moscow Excursion….. a coal-fired steam locomotive
This part of Pennsylvania is great for day’s excursion from Scranton or if you’re touring the Poconos’s. Road trips are best when you experience historic places like Steamtown where the trains, the coal mines that fueled them as well as some of the beautiful scenery here in North Eastern Pennsylvania just outside of Scranton are legend.
Once the passenger train pulls out of the DL & W rail yard, it takes visitors on a 2-hour journey to a simpler time.
It kind of offers a bit of nostalgia for those people looking to revisit their roots.
But also adds that romantic look at the past when trains were the form of travel and rails were the elite form of travel throughout the country
The ride to Moscow from Steamtown National Historic Site is an eclectic one. Beginning at the original D.L & W yards, the train will start off at a kind of urban setting and then travel on gradually meeting up at the foothills of the Pocono Mountains. The trains skirt along the banks of the roaring brook.
On the 12.5 to 13 mile trip onto Moscow, you pass two reservoirs along the way. Upon arriving at Moscow there’s a historically restored railway station where passengers are permitted to get off the train, view the train crew while they do their switching and run around crew at that site.
Once at Moscow PA engineers take the locomotive off from the front of the train and run it around to the back. The whole operation takes about 20 minutes and gives passengers a chance to see history unfold in front of their eyes. Passengers can then board the train again for the ride back, but this time, the view is a bit different. Since the crew can’t turn the engine around on the tracks, it makes the whole return trip in reverse.
The railroads were a major industry in this particular region. Describing what it was like to work on the railways is a very difficult thing to do in this day and age. It was dirty work, hot work. Temperatures inside the cab and these were the good jobs, could reach 120 degrees on a summer day. And there weren’t a lot of rewards.
The passengers had it much better. Though these are nothing like modern trains. The cabs are authentic in every detail. That means worn and dirty. They get scattered with soot as the engine burns coal. So these cars don’t exactly pass the white glove test. Many come from Scranton and learn from the Internet that when visiting Scranton… Steamtown National Historic Site was the regions #1 ranked attraction.
It’s fun for the entire family “The site was much more than I expected. Even my wife had to admit that it was an afternoon well spent” said was surprised train enthusiast. There’s a guided tour which you can take or you can venture on your own. There are so many trains, pictures, history, and memorabilia.
You can even board some of the trains and sit down in them or you can explore inside. During late April you can actually ride on a moving train; its money well spent. Children under 12 are free. If you have time, also visit the nearby Trolley Museum.
Steamtown is open daily from 9-5 and the Moscow excursion runs from May to October. Check their website below for schedules and fees.
Steamtown National Historic Site
350 Cliff Street
Scranton, PA 18503
(570) 340-5200 (888) 693-9391
Train Ride Information & Reservations