Project3713, the partnership to restore Boston & Maine steam locomotive #3713 to operation at the Steamtown National Historic Site (SNHS) in Scranton, Pennsylvania is a long-standing formal relationship between the Lackawanna & Wyoming Valley Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society (LWV) and the locomotive’s owner, the National Park Service (NPS). During the course of the restoration, the LWV has managed donations and assisted SNHS shop staff with specific tasks.
The pace of the restoration has been dictated by SNHS’s priorities. There were periods of inactivity when other projects took precedent in the shop, while the 4 years leading up to the Covid 19 era were among the most productive in the history of the effort as donors, LWV and SNHS teams worked feverishly to make progress on the locomotive. Among the highlights from this period are the restoration of the drive wheels, tender frame and numerous key components. In addition, a new cab, tender cistern and firebox were built.
The start of the pandemic coincided with a periodic review of the Project3713 partnership agreement. While these reviews have been fairly quick and easy in the past, Covid-related disruptions, NPS policy changes and the transition to a new administration leading SNHS combined to delay this process. As of January 17, 2022 all parties are continuing to work on the review in accordance with SNHS’s plans to complete the restoration.
A significant amount of donated funds remain in the account overseen by the LWV – funds to be used solely for the benefit of #3713. The review has not prevented the LWV team from working with the SNHS on the proper distribution of these funds. In the past, donated funds have been used to benefit specific parts of the restoration. Money has not been turned over to the NPS in bulk fashion – all distributions of donor funds have been tied to distinct portions of the restoration. The LWV is working to ensure this remains the case and that donors will have a clear line of sight into exactly how their generous financial support has been used on the restoration. Whether more fundraising will be required for the restoration or the locomotive’s upkeep is yet to be decided. The LWV has put forward the idea of a repair and inspection fund to help keep the locomotive running once completed.
LWV, SNHS and NPS teams are working to define the path going forward. All parties are focused on a singular outcome: operation of #3713. A full update will be provided once agreement has been reached.
Chairman, Project3713 Restoration Committee
Secretary, Lackawanna & Wyoming Valley Railway Historical Society, Inc.