The Lackawanna & Wyoming Valley Railway Historical Society and the Steamtown National Historic Site have formed a partnership to restore Boston & Maine 4-6-2 No. 3713. The Society has agreed to raise the funds needed to complete the restoration. No estimate is available on what the restoration will cost, but the first steps took place in the spring of 1997 to determine what will need to be done to restore this locomotive. The Society entered into a contract to have the asbestos removed from the 3713. The boiler has since been ultrasound tested to prove that that it is still cabable as a pressure vessel.
The Steamtown site has been criticized for using locomotives from Canadian Railroads. The restoration of No. 3713 will give the Steamtown National Historic Site an American Railroad locomotive to operate its excursion trains from Scranton. When this project is completed, the Park Sservice hopes to restore other American locomotives to operating condition. How soon this occurs depends on how well fund raising succeeds.
Boston & Maine No. 3713, a 4-6-2 Pacific class locomotive, was one of five locomotives ordered from the Lima Locomotive Works in 1934. All five were placed in service hauling passenger trains on some of the most important routes on the Boston & Maine system, including Boston to Bangor, Maine, White River Junction, Vermont to Troy, New York, Worcester, Massachusetts to White River Junction. She was designed to operate at a speed of 70 miles per hour, and carried sufficient coal to pull and heat a fourteen car train approximately 250 miles.
The success of the first five Lima-built engines convinced the Boston & Maine to buy additional engines of the same type in 1937. About the same time, the railroad sponsored a contest among school childen in New England to name these engines as well as ten others. Any student from Kindergarder to Junior High who lived in a community along the railroad was eligible. The winner would be recognized by having his name and school placed on a special plaque on the locomotive. The winning name for No. 3713 was The Constitution, because, in the words of the contest winner, "it represents the backbone of our country as railroads are the backbone of our transportation system." The locomotive remained in service until the end of steam service, and made its final run in 1958.
The locomotive was acquired by New England industrialist F. Nelson Blount for his new collection of locomotives which he called "Steamtown, U.S.A." No. 3713 appeared as an exhibit at several locations in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont between 1961 and 1969. It was overhauled at the B&M shops in 1969, repainted, and placed on exhibit at Boston Museum of Science in the early 1970s. It remained there until moving to Scranton with the rest of the Steamtown collection in 1984-85.
If the restoration of B&M No. 3713 is to succeed, we need the support of people interested in preserving this valuable piece of railroad history. If you would like to help, you can make a contribution by sending your donation to the address below. Those who contribute will recieve periodic updates on the status of the restoration project. The Lackawanna & Wyoming Valley Railway Historical Society is confident that this project can be successfully completed. All contributions are fully tax-deductable. Should you desire additional information about this project, please contact us at the same address:
LOCOMOTIVE RESTORATION PROJECT LACKAWANNA & WYOMING VALLEY R.H.S. P.O. BOX 3452 SCRANTON, PA 18505-0452
PLEASE MAKE CHECKS PAYABLE TO: "Locomotive Restoration Fund"