Every Thanksgiving we go to my in-laws house in Northeastern Pennsylvania. The whole family gets together for turkey and all the fixings. It’s wonderful to connect and catch up with the family, as we all have such busy lives. One of the days that we were there we decided to go to Steamtown. Steamtown is a National Historic Site that was created to preserve the history of steam railroading in America.
If your child has an interest in trains and you find yourself in that part of Pennsylvania you should pay a visit. There are actual steam trains that you can ride on for a short distance. A bridge connects to the museum which allows you to walk over the trains. This provides a unique perspective of a train that I’ve never experienced. (You can see us on the bridge in the picture above). It was a pretty cold day and you can really see the smoke billowing out of the smokestack. Some of the trains were very old and in serious states of deterioration, but the bones were still there, so you get a good feel for the charm and character of these trains.
It was quite a hike to the museum on a cold day, but it was worth it. There were some very interesting exhibits on display that show the railroad and the men that worked it. What a tough life that must have been. Back breaking work for sure, but I couldn’t help thinking that most of these men didn’t complain much, if at all. They were just happy to have a job so they could provide for their families.
There were buttons to push to hear different train whistle sounds. Little guy loved pushing those buttons. You can see LG above wearing a Conductor’s hat (have you ever seen a Conductor with a pacifier in his mouth? :) ). There were also full sized train cars that you could walk in. You can see my son and I and his grandmother in the caboose above. LG loved the caboose. He wanted to go back several times. He liked to wave out the window at his grandma. Amazing how small that caboose was, and to think that two men slept in these small quarters. There was a small wood burning stove in one corner that I’m sure provided much needed warmth in this drafty caboose. It was all kind of simple and charming.
These were fun memories to make with his grandmother and my sister-in-law. I’m glad we were able to pay a visit while we were there. It made me nostalgic for the bygone era of the train. I hope you enjoy some of the pictures.