SCRANTON — Railroad enthusiasts of all ages visited the Steamtown National Historic Site on Saturday to participate in the annual “Troops and Trains” exhibit going on this weekend.
There they saw the inner workings of the American railroads of the past and how those railroads worked to support the military for more than 150 years.
“The partnership between America’s railroads and our military is a long one,” said Kenny Ganz, a park ranger for the Steamtown site and event producer for the exhibit.
Troops and Trains has been an annual event since 1997 and is designed to commemorate the partnership between the military and railroads, which still exists today, Ganz said.
“Railroads have aided the war efforts of this country from the Civil War up to today’s conflicts in the Middle East,” Ganz said.
Railroads provided efficient and reliable transportation of troops and acted as supply lines delivering crucial materials to military locations, he said.
Set up to be part of the Memorial Day holiday, the exhibit organizers aimed to “raise awareness” of how the railroads and military pulled together particularly during World War II, Ganz said. The holiday weekend is a “wonderful opportunity” for railroad buffs to talk and think about railroads and military use of them during that very “seminal event of the 20th century for the country,” he added.
Visitors walked through a World War II encampment, which included an array of historic military vehicles, tents, clothing and supplies. They rode a recreation of a 1940s style military troop train which was bound for Jessup. The park scheduled the train ride to coincide with the Jessup Hose Company No. 2 annual picnic.
The exhibit is a fitting tribute to the American servicemen and women, Ganz added. It offered living history programs and reenactments that showed how United States military personnel lived during World War II. In addition, different types of weapons, artillery and field gear from the period were on display with experts available to answer questions.