SCRANTON — Steamtown National Historic Site will be a place to create family memories on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 5 and 6, of Labor Day weekend. The National Park Service will join with partners to host Railfest 2015, an annual celebration of railroading past, present and future. It will feature visiting equipment, displays, children’s programs, special tours, shop demonstrations and train rides.
The fun begins at 8 a.m. Saturday with a special park opening. Park Superintendent Deborah Conway will host a 9 a.m. opening ceremony, welcoming special event Grand Marshal James Barrett McNulty, former City of Scranton mayor.
The Lackawanna Historical Society will also present the Seventh Annual Alan Sweeney Memorial Award to an individual who has demonstrated unwavering dedication to the heritage of the Lackawanna Valley.
Amtrak, the Delaware-Lackawanna Railroad, Erie Lackawanna Dining Car Preservation Society, Norfolk Southern and the Anthracite Railroads Historical Society’s F3A locomotives are planning to provide equipment displays.
Special guest of honor for the event weekend is the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society’s Nickel Plate Road (NKP) #765 steam locomotive, sister locomotive to Steamtown’s NKP #759.
• “Big Band” performances by Ron Leas’ Band, Saturday only
• Caboose Rides
• “David Stone: The Johnny Cash Experience”
• Garden Railroad rides with “live steam”
• Lehigh Valley #353 business car tours
• Locomotive shops will be open for tours
• Nickel Plate Road (NKP) #765 cab tours, Sunday only
• Railroad music and songs by Ray Owen
• “Scranton Limited” short train rides
• Tours of the DL&W’s Mattes Street Tower and former office and storage building
• Union Pacific #4012 “Big Boy” locomotive cab tours
• Free trolley shuttle service to and from the Scranton Iron Furnaces and La Festa Italiana
• Mid Atlantic Motorcars Association
• Model train layout
• National Museum of Industrial History steam exhibit and steam calliope
• Operation Lifesaver information table, Saturday only
Excursions are planned to Moscow on each event day, with a historic diesel locomotive.
At Moscow Station, ‘‘photo run-bys” are also scheduled. The excursions will depart the Boarding Platform at 12:30 p.m. each day with a planned return to Scranton at approximately 3 p.m. Excursion fares are $24 for adults 17 to 61, $22 for seniors 62 and older and $17 for children ages 6-16. Children age 5 and younger require a “no-charge” ticket. For excursion reservations, call 570-340-5204.
Additionally, event guest of honor NKP #765 is scheduled to power a special excursion to the Delaware Water Gap departing at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 5, and returning at 6 p.m. the same day. On Sunday, NKP #765 will be statically displayed and available for cab tours. NKP #765 is also scheduled to power a special excursion to East Stroudsburg, departing at 9 a.m. Monday, Sept. 7 and returning at 5 p.m. that day. Tickets for these excursions are available online only at fortwaynerailroad.org.
“David Stone: The Johnny Cash Experience” and Ray Owen, performing live railroad music and songs, will entertain on both event days. The Ron Leas’ Band will also perform selections from the “Big Band-era” on Saturday.
Other event partners include the Lackawanna County Trolley Museum, which will offer an expanded schedule for trolley rides along a portion of the former Laurel Line.
While two popular local food vendors will be on-site each day, guests can also purchase food at La Festa Italiana on Courthouse Square. COLTS trolley buses will provide free shuttles on a loop to the Scranton Iron Furnaces and La Festa Italiana.
Event overflow-parking is available at the Mall of Steamtown parking garage, with access to the park via the mall’s connecting walkway.