The Roundhouse Podcast

Steamtown – Superintendent Debbie Conway


How does the National Park Service bring railroad history to life? Debbie Conway talks about the Steamtown NHS, its history, and details her plans for what she wants to see in the future.

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Related Episodes:

Ross Rowland

Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel

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Question of the Day (47:20)

What is your favorite piece of history at Steamtown?  Let me know and I will respond to your comments in our next episode.

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6 thoughts on “Steamtown – Superintendent Debbie Conway

  1. Nick Chillianis

    I’d be interested as to why Ms. Conway believes that the 790 (I presume she means IC 2-8-0 790) “doesn’t mind going backwards. I think that an engine without a trailing truck is liable to get into trouble, regularly operating half the time in reverse. Her tender is not particularly shaped to allow better visibility in reverse.

  2. Myles Spear

    My favorite piece of steamtown equipment has to be Nickel Plate Berkshire #759. I find it extremely cool that Ross Rowland, a person who I very much look up to, used the 759 on many of his “High Iron excursions” and his “Golden Spike centennial train” in 1969. It’s a shame that Steamtown turned her down for restoration (some one please correct me if I’m wrong). It would be a sight to see a mighty another Nickel Plate berkshire running again along with the 765.

  3. Nick Chillianis

    Myles, I seem to recall that the stated reason for not considering the 759 is that she’s “too much” locomotive for their everyday needs.

    Although they have operated large “guest” locomotives on occasion, most notably NKP 765 and Milw 261, the everyday power required for their excursion trains can be produced by an average sized 4-6-2 or 2-8-2. Anything larger would only raise their costs for upkeep and fuel etc.

    The general public doesn’t know nor does it care about the difference between Thomas the Tank Engine and a Nickel Plate S-2, and would probably opt for Thomas if given the choice anyhow.

    That is why 759 and RDG 2124 are likely to remain stuffed and mounted.

    It will be pretty cool to see the B&M 3713 *IF* they ever get it finished.

    (If you want something to cost a bundle and take forever, just get the Gub’mint involved.)

  4. Myles Spear

    Thanks Nick! I can understand why steamtown won’t restore the 759 or as you mentioned the 2124. Steamtown is a big place but I can understand where you and Steamtown are coming from. Still, could someone lease the 759 like Ross did or have times changed since then? Thanks for the information! Also, would 2124 be your pick as your favorite piece of equipment or an engine you would like to see run again?

  5. Nick Chillianis

    The 759 occupies a special place in my heart, since she was the first BIG steam locomotive I ever saw on a main line. I first saw her at Harmon, NY departing with the 1969 Golden Spike Limited.

    I don’t have a huge desire to to see the 2124 since the 2100 is already being rebuilt in Cleveland and the R&N has announced that they’re planning to bring back the 2102. In addition, the Reading T-1s have a few features that somewhat mar their looks, at least for me. The unusually long smokebox, the odd position of the headlight and the Wootton firebox are all negatives in my book.

    I’ll be excited to see the B&M 3713. She’s a good looker and should be plenty enough locomotive for Steamtown’s needs.

    Of course, if anyone wants to restore UP 4012, I won’t complain. 😉

  6. General Degamer

    For me, it’s RDG 2124 and CN 3254 as those two are some of the most beautiful pieces of equipment at Steamtown

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