Aug. 24--As the new superintendent of Steamtown National Historic Site, Debbie Conway looks forward to experiencing Railfest 2014.
She wonders how anyone could not be.
"Who doesn't love a train?" she asked Thursday.
Steamtown will host its annual Labor Day weekend celebration of railroading on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 30 and 31, with visiting equipment, displays, behind-the-scenes tours, children's programs, entertainment and train rides.
This year's Railfest will be something of a prelude to the 150th anniversary of the founding of the city of Scranton, Ms. Conway said. While the city will officially mark its sesquicentennial in 2016, the commemoration will get underway next year.
"This really is part of Scranton's heritage," said Ms. Conway, who joined Steamtown in June after seven years as superintendent of Fort Stanwix National Monument in Rome, New York.
"There is a lot of rich history that ties to this area, and a lot of it really centers around railroading."
Canadian Pacific, Norfolk Southern, North Shore and Delaware-Lackawanna railroads will all have equipment on display, as will the Erie Lackawanna Dining Car Preservation Society and the Anthracite Railroads Historical Society.
Diesel-powered excursions to Moscow are scheduled each day of Railfest, with "photo run-bys" planned at the Moscow Station. Philadelphia-born singer-songwriter and Johnny Cash impersonator David Stone will perform at least two concerts daily, Ms. Conway said. "The Johnny Cash Experience" is a Broadway-quality show that traces the career of the late country music legend.
Ms. Conway said parts of the historic site that are normally off-limits to regular Steamtown visitors will be open during Railfest.
In the locomotive shops, people can get an up-close look at the Baldwin 26 steam locomotive, which is approaching the completion of a lengthy overhaul mandated by the Federal Railroad Administration.
Steamtown has not set a date for the Baldwin's return to service, but supervising exhibit specialist Barbara Klobucar said it is getting closer.
"She's ready once we get the (FRA) paperwork finished," Ms. Klobucar said. "Then we can button her up and put fire in her."
Tours of the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad'sMattes Street tower and the former office and storage building will also be available.
The nearby Lackawanna County Electric City Trolley Museum will offer an expanded schedule of trolley rides, and there will be a free shuttle service to take Railfest visitors to and from La Festa Italiana on Courthouse Square.
The complete list of Railfest activities is available at Steamtown's website, www.nps.gov/stea.
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