It was a grand moment at Railfest, with visiting locomotive Nickel Plate Road #765 steaming on the Steamtown turntable adjacent to the ceremonies. #765, like Boston & Maine #3713, was built in Ohio at the Lima Locomotive Works. Soon, it will be #3713’s turn to be a Railfest star. It has been a long journey.
Twenty years ago the Lackawanna & Wyoming Valley RHS entered into a partnership with the National Parks Service to create Project 3713, a team dedicated to the restoration and operation of Boston & Maine Railroad steam locomotive #3713 “The Constitution.” In the two decades since, Project 3713 has faced every kind of challenge one could imagine. Changing Federal regulations for steam, lean budgets, evolving shop priorities and a shrinking pool of qualified steam locomotive specialists are but a few of the hurdles which have delayed #3713’s return to the rails. When completed, the restoration will be one of the longest in the history of railroad preservation.
The length of the restoration has been a challenge for everyone involved, but we know the bulk of the frustration has been felt by our long-time donors who have stuck with the project all these years. All of our donors want to see #3713 in operation. That is why, as 2016 begins, we want to make sure all current and prospective donors fully understand the progress made this year and why we remain optimistic that the finish line is within reach. We hope you will consider the new developments in your assessment of donating to Project 3713. Without you, there is no progress. The locomotive needs your tax deductible individual or corporate donations to steam again.
Shortly after being named to the project, Bruce Mowbray began organizing the next round of work on #3713. In August, a bid solicitation was announced for contractors to resume work on the firebox of #3713. The work has not been awarded at the time of this writing. We also expect some of the talented restoration experts in the Steamtown shop will be able to work on #3713 upon completion of Baldwin Locomotive Works 0-6-0 #26. 2016 looks to be a very promising year for tangible progress on the locomotive.
How can you help?
The momentum from the new partnership agreement, our 2015 fundraising successes
and the solicitation for the next round of work on #3713 is wonderful. Now #3713 needs your help to keep the ball rolling. There are many ways to for individuals and corporations to join the effort and be a part of #3713’s return to steam. Tax deductible monetary donations are welcome via mail or online via PayPal.
The website also has details about the railroaders’ memorial plaque, commemorative model railroad cars and raffle tickets. All of these benefit the restoration of #3713.
As 2015 draws to a close, please remember #3713 in your year-end giving. Whether you are a Boston & Maine fan, a supporter of Steamtown or just someone who loves steam trains, your financial help will get us closer to the day that #3713 starts pulling passenger trains through the Pocono Mountains.