Model Railroading Today and Tomorrow

Discovering the new arts and sciences

How did I choose the Lackawanna as my prototype:

At first the Pennsylvania RR was my favorite railroad but its large size was always a stumbling block. My interest was always in anthracite roads. I studied the Lehigh Valley, the Lehigh and New England, the Jersey Central, the Reading and the New York Ontario and Western. All great roads until I bought the seminal book on the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western by Thomas Taber. That did it!

A railroad of reasonable size - New York City to Buffalo. A wonderful story in the 1800’s leading to 25 years of prosperity under President Truesdale (1899 - 1925). A railroad that managed to survive the depression and World War Two. Then as coal declined, they reinvented themselves into a bridge line with a concentration in TOFC. The Lackawanna pioneered radios before World War I. They switched to diesels fast when other railroads stuck to steam. Even after the merger with Erie, it was Lackawanna management that made the Erie Lackawanna RR a success.

My favorite time period is the late 1950’s when they ran first generation diesels in one of the best paint schemes ever designed (IMHO). The railroad had long distance passenger to Buffalo with connecting service to Chicago. It featured plenty of mixed freight along with the trailers on flat cars.

What I want to model:

One of my favorite parts of the Lackawanna is the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Pa area. Prior to the flooding of the anthracite mines in 1959, the Lackawanna in the Wyoming Valley had a mix of coal, through freights, passenger service, local freight service, TOFC and major shops. This mix allows the modeler to choose from many elements in designing a railroad.

Diesels are widely available. I favor Trainmasters, E units, early GPs and switchers.

Learn more at the web site and buy a copy of Thomas Taber’s book. It comes in two volumes and has been reprinted by the Steamtown Volunteers.