Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine


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Years ago, when the kids were little, we toured the Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine in Ashland. Pioneer Tunnel & Steam Train is a horizontal drift mine in the anthracite coal region of eastern Pennsylvania. It was owned and operated by the Philadelphia and Reading Coal and Iron Company from 1911 and ceased operation in 1931.


In 1963, Pioneer Tunnel was retimbered and opened to visitors by Ashland Community Enterprises, a non-profit corporation.


We rode into the tunnel in Mahanoy Mountain on a mine car and our guide taught us how coal is mined and what life was like for the miners who worked here in the early 1900s.


After emerging from the tunnel, we boarded the Henry Clay, a narrow gauge steam train, for a ride around the other side of the mountain. Here we learned about a different kind of mining called strip mining. And we learned about the nearby Centralia mine fire, which has been burning continuously since 1962, causing the abandonment of the town under which the mine runs.



Location: 19th Street & Oak Street, Ashland, PA 17921

Designation: Museum

Date designated or established: 1963

Date of my visit: 7/17/2005



18 thoughts on “Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine

  1. Ah, yes. The Pioneer Coal Mine. This popular attraction located in Ashland, PA is not but a 40 min. drive away from me. I’ve been there 2 times in the past and did find it interesting to see. Most of the time, I’m just passing thru Ashland on my way to other places of interest in the Coal Region area. Ashland and many other Coal mining towns are just full of History from when Coal was King in the area. Once a year, Ashland, holds a Annual Festival to celebrate the Coal Mining that was all over. The Train is called a “Steam Lokie” There is also another Mine open to the public for Tours that is called “The Number 9 Coal Mine, located just North of Tamaqua in a small Town called Coaldale. However, I have heard that it has closed down, but not sure. I do have Images from when I was there a few years ago. Centrailia? There is nothing there anymore. Just a big open area where homes used to be. People have been banned from snooping around here because of danger from Mine Shafts. I have had a good interest in the Coal Region area because of all the History that is there. If you would like to see what collection I have e-mail me at

    1. A year after this trip, we visited another mine near Scranton. That post will drop in a few months…I really didn’t think most of my readers would be interested in this sort of post, so I’m happy you liked it!

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