Steamtown visit rekindles memories of the past

During the Eastern Union Meeting Association's 64th annual convention in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., BLE members in attendance paid a visit to the Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton, Pa.

Just minutes from where the EUMA was taking place in Wilkes-Barre, many BLE members and their families enjoyed a ride on a steam train, operated by none other than BLE members.

Brother Bernie O'Brien, a retired member of BLE Division 263 (Wilkes-Barre), is a regular volunteer at Steam-town. He served as locomotive engineer on the BLE excursion on August 18.

Bill Withuhn, also a member of BLE Division 263, is probably better known in his role as Curator of Transportation at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. He served as the fireman that day.

Temperatures in the cab reached over 117 degrees Fahrenheit as the coal burned hot enough to melt steel.

For some BLE members, the trip rekindled memories the past, when they first hired out on the railroad. For others, it was a first-hand look at the early days of railroading.

Thanks to EUMA Chairman Ken Kertesz for planning and organizing the event.

Bernie O'Brien at the throttle.

A look at the controls on the conductor's side of the cab.

Bill Withuhn and Catherine Dimmick, wife of retired BLE member Bill Dimmick (Div. 263, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.).

BLE International President Don Hahs, right, talks with Brother O'Brien prior to the start of the trip.

Heat generated by coal in the firebox boosted temperatures to more than 117 degrees Fahrenheit inside the cab.

The passenger car used by most BLE and GIA members on the trip.


© 2002 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers