On Friday, it was spotted going through Tamaqua, Hauto, and Jim Thorpe. On Saturday and Sunday, visitors to Railfest at Steamtown got to see it and enjoy it.

Then yesterday, it made an unscheduled appearance in Jim Thorpe that proved to be a bonus for visitors to the town, and especially for those taking rail rides.

Steam Locomotive No. 425, which was built in 1928 and has been totally restored, was used to haul passengers on the rides offered by the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railroad on Monday from the Jim Thorpe train station to Penn Haven Junction.

The No. 425 engine weighs approximately 110 tons, and its accompanying tender weighs approximately 91 tons. It holds 18 tons of coal and 8500 gallons of water.

The steamer hadn't been used since 2010 because of needed repairs.

Those repairs have been made and now a piece of railroad history can be cherished by train buffs once again.

It didn't take long for word to get out that Locomotive No. 425 was in Jim Thorpe yesterday. Even for its first trip of the day at 11 a.m., people were at the train station and standing along the path at Glen Onoko snapping pictures.

One man, from Philadelphia who has a home in Albrightsville, marveled at the huge engine and regretted that he didn't have his camera. He vowed to go home and get it for later runs of the day.

The appearance by the steam locomotive was totally unscheduled. It was because of the run to Scranton that Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railroad was able to utilize it on its train rides in Jim Thorpe, yesterday.

Laura Kennedy, a spokes person for the railroad, said it will run again on Oct. 12 and 13 when the annual excursion from Port Clinton to Jim Thorpe occurs.

We're happy to see Locomotive No. 425 back in service. It's a rare piece of railroad history.

Steamers were replaced with diesel engines, which are cleaner and more fuel efficient than the larger locomotives.

It is great to see so many adults bringing their children to see the steamer. It shows them a slice of life from days gone by.

It lets them see a relic from prior generations that once was a staple of railroading.

The engine is big. It's loud. It shoots dark smoke high into the air, and billows steam out the side. But it's impressive. It's beautiful.

It's something many people get to see only in pictures and movies. Yet, yesterday, there one was in downtown Jim Thorpe.

Hopefully, now that Locomotive No. 425 is repaired, that next year it will be utilized more by the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railroad.

We applaud the owner of the locomotive, Reading, Blue Mountain, and Northern Railroad, for acquiring the steamer and bringing it back to its useful state.

Normally, you have to travel to Lancaster or Scranton to enjoy such a railroad relic. Even then, they are generally only on display and not operating.

What a pleasant surprise in Jim Thorpe, yesterday. It's unfortunate it wasn't announced in advance so more people would have had the opportunity to see and appreciate it.

By RON GOWER

rgower@tnonline.com