Social Icons

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

A Fun and Educational Visit to the Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine & Steam Train

Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine and Steam Train
Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine and Steam Train is a tourist attraction located in Ashland Pennsylvania. If you're unfamiliar with the area, Ashland is located not far from Frackville and within a short car ride from Pottsville, Bloomsburg and Sunbury. From the Harrisburg & Hershey takes us about 80 minutes to get there.

This particular coal mine is in Mahanoy Mountain in Ashland and was owned & operated by Philadelphia and Reading Coal and Iron Company from 1911 to 1931. It ceased operations in 1931 and was closed down. In 1963 the coal mine was opened back up as a tourist attraction, so that visitors could learn about coal mining and the important part that it played during the 18th and 19th century.
Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine and Steam Train

Back in the good old days, mules, carbine lanterns, picks, coal carts, shovels, etc. were the way of life when it came to coal mining. When electricity came onto the scene, electric pulled the ore cars and lighted up the tunnels, which made mining just a little bit easier. I think any type of mining is a dangerous, hard job, so I won't say that their lives were made a LOT easier with the invention of electricity.

When coal was moved around the area it was often moved by mule, horse and/or wagon. Then steam engine trains came onto the scene and they were able to transport coal quicker, easier and over greater distances.
Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine and Steam Train

When you visit Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine & Steam Train you can pay an admission fee to take a guided tour down into the coal mine. You'll ride down into the mine on a battery-powered ore car with a tour guide. These tours are done in small groups. Once your in the mine, you can disembark from the car and walk around to read the story boards which gives you the history of the coal mine, along with information about the people who worked there.

After your tour has concluded, you can opt to take a ride on the steam train, The Henry Clay. This steam locomotive was built back in the 1920's and will take you on a 3/4 mile ride around Mahanoy Mountain. You'll see other areas where coal mining took place on the mountain. It's a beautiful ride, especially during the Fall foliage season (October).
Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine and Steam Train

Each of these two attractions has a separate admission fee, so you can opt to do just one attraction or both (get a discount when you do both on the same day). A combination ticket for one adult is $17.10 per person. If you would like to do just the mine tour it's $10.50 or just the steam engine train ride it's $8.50 per adult. Children's admission is cheaper.

They have an on-site little cafe where you can get something to eat and drink. Their prices aren't too bad and the food is actually pretty good. They have a gift shop where you can shop for collectibles and souvenirs. I found those prices to be pretty typical for touristy-style gift shops.
Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine and Steam Train

Overall, we really enjoyed our visit! We highly recommend that you visit during the late spring or the early fall season's to avoid large groups and crowds. The best time to visit, in my opinion is early to mid-October when you can see some gorgeous fall foliage during the steam engine train ride.

Note: Each photo in this travel feature is clickable. Click on each picture and it will automatically open up in a new browsing window and in an enlarged size. This will allow you to see the details up close, while keeping our site mobile reader friendly. Thanks!

No comments: