Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine & Steam Train
19th & Oak Sts.
Ashland, PA 17921
(570) 875-3850 • 875-3301

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Located in the heart of Pennsylvania's famous anthracite region, Pioneer Tunnel is an actual coal mine that visitors can explore.

The mine was active in the early 1900's supporting many of the inhabitants of the coal mining town of Ashland, which can be seen virtually as it was nearly a century ago from a panoramic view, part of the Pioneer tour.

Pioneer is a horizontal drift mine. It runs for 1800 feet straight into the side of Mahanoy Mountain. Visitors ride into the tunnel in open mine cars pulled by a battery-operated mine motor. Deep inside the mountain, guides (real coal miners) tell and show the fascinating story of anthracite coal. And it is a fascinating story. A side note is that the use of anthracite coal in blast furnaces had a dramatic impact on the iron industry in Pennsylvania and around the nation. It eliminated the need to produce charcoal, and burned hotter and more efficiently, allowing for the production of higher quality iron.

But Pioneer is about mining. In addition to the Tunnel, visitors can ride an actual narrow-gauge railroad -- brightly colored mine cars and a red caboose pulled by a steam locomotive, the Henry Clay. The 30-minute ride goes around the side of Mahanoy Mountain to another mine, Mammoth Stripping. Here, in days gone by, monstrous steam shovels ripped out millions of tons of coal from the exposed Mammoth vein, leaving a man-carved wall of solid rock 150 feet high extending as far westward as the eye can see.

Other features include a relic "bootleg" hole. This and others were dug by men mining illegally to obtain a few bags of coal to sell or to heat their homes. Pioneer Tunnel makes for a great family outing. The grounds include a playground and picnic area.

The temperature in the mine is 50° F year-round, so bring a sweater.

While there are no specific educational programs, the tour will enhance a variety of curricula, making it very popular with School Groups, as well as Scouts and others, including adult groups.

Visitors will also want to visit Ashland and its shops and sites. The only bronze replica of Whistler's Mother was erected here as a memorial to the mothers of Ashland.

Hours: Open about from April through October and operating on a partial schedule in April, May, September and October. The full schedule in effect from Memorial Day through Labor Day is daily Train and Mine Tours from 10am - 5pm, with the last train ride beginning at 3:45 and tour at 4:30pm. Bus Tour Groups can reserve any time between April through October. Call for the exact schedule or visit the official website, linked above.
Coal Mine Tour
Adults $10.00
Children (2-11) $7.00
Combo Coal Mine/Train Ride
Adults $16.20
Children (2-11) 11.70
Steam Train Ride
Adults $8.00
Children (2-11) $6.00
Call for Tour Group rates.
School Groups, Pre-K - Grade 6
Coal Mine $6.00
Steam Train $4.50
One chaperone FREE per 20 students.
School Groups, 7th Gr - College
Coal Mine $7.50
Steam Train $5.00
One chaperone FREE per 20 students.
Group Reservations: At least 2 weeks in advance suggested.
Lunch: Snack bar and picnic grounds available.
Handicapped Access: Partial. Call with your needs.
Directions: I-76 West to I-176 North to Reading, to Rt. 61 North into Ashland. Turn left onto 19th St. 90-120 minutes from Philadelphia.

Copyright © 1996-2014 by Patrick Tadeushuk. All Rights Reserved.