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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
Date designated or established: 1963
Date of my visit: 7/17/2005