Early this summer, Tri-State fired up DL&W F3 No. 663 for the first time in two years after a substantial rebuild. Since then, Steamtown staff and Tri-State volunteers have worked on finishing touches before putting the locomotive back in service.
For volunteers, this meant the little details: Replica builders plates, thanks to Rich Jahn of Anthracite Railroads Historical Society, were installed. The flag holders were put back on (with a placement unique to Lackawanna F units). Aluminum-cast rear door steps were replaced with replicas, again thanks to Rich and ARHS. Some rust and and weathering was removed and the body was cleaned and waxed. The cab seats, which have seen more than their fair share of use, were removed and restored. Volunteers repainted the seat frames, and the cushions were reupholstered by Winfield Upholstery of Lake Hopatcong, NJ. (See below for photos).
With its excursion schedule delayed by contract negotiations, Steamtown National Historic Site began its excursion season in mid-July. On July 29, No. 663 was test-run for the first time with ARHS's 664. The following Monday, 663 went out on the "Scranton Limited" train rides for its first trip of the season. Steamtown expects both 663 and 664 to haul excursions for the rest of the Summer and Fall after 663 is broken in and okayed for road service.
Check out the photos below by NPS Ranger Tim O'Malley:
More photos of the restoration process: