SCRANTON — With the government shutdown now over, it is back to work for all the federal employees in our area who were furloughed.
It also means tourist attractions closed for the past few weeks are open again.
We found visitors and staff happy to be back at Steamtown in Scranton.
A group of guys was thrilled when they showed up at Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton to find it actually open, the government shutdown over. They were there from others states to see all the locomotive history.
“We’ve been out camping in the woods. We had no communication, no cell phone, no internet, nothing. We haven’t had any idea that’s happening. We thought everything was shut down,” said Bill Schilling of New Jersey.
“We planned this trip months ago and this was one of our stops and obviously we were concerned to get in with the government shut down but we were surprised to hear that it was open,” said Jan Slusom of Vermont.
Park regulars were also happy to be back, including 3-year-old Eric who was guiding his grandma through all the engines.
“He heard it on the news that the trains were back open so when I picked him up from preschool he said ‘we have to go see the trains.’ So here we are!” said Margaret Nudelman of Dickson City.
The 70 employees are also back at the park, reopening the place in the morning. They’ve been furloughed with no pay for nearly three weeks.
“Personally, I was at home and I got to do little projects around the house and kept watching the news. I went to my parents’ house and did projects around the house and kept watching the news. I was running out of things to do. I’m very glad to be back,” said Steamtown employee Mary Kline.
A big attraction at Steamtown are the excursions, especially in the fall, to go see the foliage. They’ve all been canceled since the shutdown, but there have been a lot of calls asking if the rides are on for this weekend. The answer is ‘all aboard, yes.’”
Even though the place was closed for weeks, it got back to normal quickly for visitors and furloughed employees.
“I know they’ve suffered throughout this shutdown, but we’re very grateful to them and we admire them a lot,” Slusom said.
Steamtown National Historic Site is now back to its normal hours.
All federal employees, including those at Steamtown, who went without pay through the shutdown will get back pay from the government.