Railroads & Locomotives Fallen Flags Delaware Lackawanna and Western locomotives remembered

Delaware Lackawanna and Western locomotives remembered

By | April 4, 2022

The Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad is Classic Trains' Railroad of the Month for March 2022

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Black and white image of a steam locomotive passing a depot.

Delaware Lackawanna and Western locomotives: All through March, Classic Trains editors are celebrating the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad. Please enjoy this photo selection of DL&W locomotives selected from the image archives of Kalmbach Media’s David P. Morgan Library.

Lackawanna steam locomotives were top-notch among Northeast coal-hauling roads. The railroad’s last steam locomotive ran in 1953.

The Lackawanna bought several groups of switchers from Alco and Electro-Motive beginning in 1933, and dieselized its freight and passenger trains mainly with EMD F and E units starting in 1945. It kept things interesting by acquiring F-M Train Masters and H-16-44s as well. The DL&W merged with the Erie to form Erie-Lackawanna on Oct. 17, 1960.

Since October 2019, Classic Trains’ editors have celebrated a different Fallen Flag, that is, a Class I railroad that has been felled by bankruptcy, merger, or outright take over — and whose name, logos, symbols, and colors are relegated to history.

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Roster-type image of a large steam locomotive.
Lackawanna’s late 2-8-2s, exemplified by No. 2148, were among the largest Mikados built. The road preferred paired single air pumps to cross-compound pumps. W. R. Osborne photograph
Black and white image of a steam locomotive passing a depot.
Pacific 1133 brakes to a halt at Luzerne, Pa., across the Susquehanna River from Wilkes-Barre, in the late 1940s. The wide firebox of the 4-6-2, the pagoda roof and arched windows of the station, and the Phoebe Snow advertising on the box car combine in a scene that is quintessential Lackawanna. S. Botsko photograph


Steam locomotive with passenger train in a black and white image.
American-type 978 speeds west across the Jersey Meadows with a single coach in tow in November 1938 —white flags on the smokebox indicate the train is an extra, not a regularly scheduled run. The 4-4-0 is one of nine Camelbacks that were rebuilt with single cabs, concealed piping, and a shroud over the turret and pop valves. J. P. Ahrens photograph
Steam locomotive in a rail yard.
During the Depression Lackawanna kept its shop forces employed converting Pacifics and Mikados into 60 husky 0-8-0s. Robert A. Le Messina photograph


Roster-type image of a larger 4-8-4 steam locomotive.
The final group of Poconos, 1631-1650, built by Alco in 1934, were dual-service locomotives with 74″ drivers. Their tractive effort of 76,000 pounds was exceeded by only one other 4-8-4, Norfolk & Western’s class J. They had air horns (ahead of the sand dome) instead of whistles. Alco photo


End-cab diesel switching locomotive.
During the Depression Lackawanna kept its shop forces employed converting Pacifics and Mikados into 60 husky 0-8-0s. Robert A. Le Messina photograph


Diesel locomotives in a rail yard.
EMC’s first true diesel locomotives were outshopped from General Electric’s Erie plant in 1935: two 600-hp switchers for the Lackawanna (Nos. 425-426, above) and three twin-engined, 1,800-hp passenger boxcabs: EMC demonstrators 511 and 512 and Baltimore & Ohio 50. All are powered by GM’s new Winton 201A diesel engine and equipped with GE electrical gear. EMC photograph


Diesel locomotives on the mainline.
 This Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Train Master shows the early style of radiator fans, with a narrow panel between the two fans. The Train Master was rated at 2,400 hp, two years before Alco matched it with the RSD-7 and five years before EMD’s SD24 hit the market. The Train Master used a 12-cylinder OP engine, and although it was noted for its pulling power and quick acceleration, its performance suffered and problems arose when called upon for constant full-throttle operation or when running at high temperatures, high altitudes, and in tunnels. DL&W 850-861 Jack Emerick photograph


Distant locomotives on a railroad mainline in a color photograph.
Signature Lackawanna: At Port Morris, N.J., in 1952, FM Train Masters waited with an east bound on the Cutoff next to SW9 559. Curving off to the left is the original main via Netcong. I. W. King photograph, Joel King collection


Cab units in a rail yard.
After a short 1957 trial with solid gray (fourth unit) that was vetoed, DL&W standardized on the simpler passenger version of its colors (first two units), not the freight (third unit). Walter Appel photograph
Grey and maroon cab unit in a rail yard in a color photograph.
The last of DL&W’s eight SW8’s mingles with E8’s and GP7 967 at Hoboken in May 1956. Of GP7’s 951-970, the last five had steam boilers. All pre-Train Master hood units were black. John Dziobko photograph

3 thoughts on “Delaware Lackawanna and Western locomotives remembered

  1. Nice set of DLW pics. Enjoyed them a lot. Associated descriptions were a bit mixed up. What was the deal on DLW F3A #661?

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