Thursday, September 13, 2018

Lackawanna F3s Return To the Main Line

Delaware, Lackawanna & Western 663; Cobbs Gap, Dunmore, Pa.; September 8, 2018
The Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad rostered a small fleet of F3 diesels, built by the Electro-Motive Division of General Motors, with the units arriving on the railroad in the late 1940s. While the units made it to the Erie-Lackawanna merger in 1960, none would survive by the Conrail merger of 1976.

Delaware, Lackawanna & Western 663; Cobbs Gap, Dunmore, Pa.; September 8, 2018
With all of the original Lackawanna F3s gone, the Anthracite Railroads Historical Society and the Tri-State Railway Historical Society recreated a set of F3s with two A units and a cabless B unit. Selected as stand-ins for Lackawanna units were Bangor & Aroostook F3 504A (later numbered 44) and BAR F3 506A (later 46); these became Tri-State's DL&W 663 and ARHS's 664, respectively. The B-unit was a bit trickier, as no F3B units survive. ARHS cosmetically modified a Boston & Maine F7B to stand in as Lackawanna 664B.
Delaware, Lackawanna & Western 663, 664B, 664; Gouldsboro, Pa.; September 8, 2018
As part of its 2018 convention, the ARHS ran an excursion over the former Delaware, Lackawanna & Western main line from Scranton to Tobyhanna, Pa., on September 8, 2018. The line is used by Steamtown National Historic Site for its rail excursions, while short line Delaware-Lackawanna (part of Genesee Valley Transportation) provides freight service. The trip featured the A-B-A set of F3s pulling three former Lackawanna coaches and one former Jersey Central coach. On the rear was Delaware-Lackawanna's business car, Erie Lackawanna 3, with D-L President David J. Monte Verde on board. Several photo stops were made, with 663 leading out of Scranton. The excursion was to celebrate the 70th birthday of the F3s. During a photo stop on private property near Gouldsboro (above), the property owner brought out his 1938 Buick (below), so photos featured two GM products built ten years apart.
1938 Buick with 1948 diesels; Gouldsboro, Pa.; September 8, 2018
The original Lackawanna main line is still full of landmarks. Many of the structures were built from concrete and were meant to last. The tower at Gouldsboro is one example.
Delaware, Lackawanna & Western 663; Gouldsboro, Pa.; September 8, 2018
The 663 led the eastbound trip to Tobyhanna. Once there, the units ran around the train, putting the 664 in the lead for the return trip. A wet summer meant yellow goldenrod was abundant.
Delaware, Lackawanna & Western 664; Tobyhanna, Pa.; September 8, 2018
Numerous ponds and small lakes dot the upper elevations of the Pocono Mountains. These bodies of water would develop a thick coat of ice in the winter, and ice harvesting was quite common. The ice was stored in insulated ice houses in large blocks and would last well into the warmer months.
Delaware, Lackawanna & Western 664, 664B, 663; Gouldsboro, Pa.; September 8, 2018
The trip could not have been accomplished without the cooperation of the train crew, which was provided by Steamtown National Historic Site. Train staffing and photo location planning was provided  by the Anthracite Railroads Historical Society.
Delaware, Lackawanna & Western 664, 664B, 663; Elmhurst, Pa.; September 8, 2018
Just a couple of weeks before the trip, the Scranton area was hit by heavy rains that caused numerous washouts on the Lackawanna main line. Roaring Brook follows the tracks out of Scranton and during the rain it lived up to its name, overflowing its banks. At the final photo stop of the day, there waas evidence of Roaring Brook's wrath. The train is on the siding, as the bank near the main line (on the left) is heavily eroded. Work equipment is on the main to help put everything back where it belongs.
Delaware, Lackawanna & Western 664; Cobbs Gap, Dunmore, Pa.; September 8, 2018
Soon the trip was over. After dark, a few intrepid photographers tracked down the units on the Steamtown grounds for some night scenes. It was the conclusion to quite a fun day.
Delaware, Lackawanna & Western 664; Steamtown National Historic Site, Scranton, Pa.; September 8, 2018

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