The Roundhouse Podcast

Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine

Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine

This locomotive was built in 1927 by the Vulcan Iron Works in Wilks-Barre, PA. It was sold to a scrap dealer in Hazleton before being rescued by the Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine in the early 1960s.

Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine

The RDC Adventure episode will be coming soon.  As part of the same trip, I visited the Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine in Ashland, PA to get my steam fix.

This site used to be a working coal mine from the 1910s to 1930s before the Depression hit.  The entrance was dynamited with the intention of re-opening the site when times got better.  The site remained closed until a local group worked to convert it into a tourist attraction.  Someone on the board of directors felt that the site should have a steam-powered train, and in the early 1960s two 0-4-0 tank engines were saved and trucked to the mine.

The mine offers two trips; a mine train ride 400 feet underground into the heart of the mountain, and a short steam locomotive-powered trip to an abandoned strip mine near the site.  Both of these trains use mine cars that were built for the original mining operation.  The mine tour is especially impressive, with plenty of interesting facts about how the miners worked hard to produce 400 tons of anthracite coal per day.


For a couple of hours of historic entertainment, this fit the bill very nicely.

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