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“Great Side Trip”

Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine & Steam Train
Ranked #1 of 5 things to do in Ashland
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Tour Pennsylvania's mining history at these mines.
Reviewed 22 June 2009

Both parts of Pioneer are equally worth doing.

Ideally first you do the Steam train or Lokie ride which lasts about 35 minutes.

You bump along the outer perimeter of the mountain and stop twice at scenic points where the guide explains points about mining and the area and will take questions.

After coming back you have about a 15 minute wait for the start of the mine tour.
For this part definitely bring a jacket, poncho, sweater as the mine was 50 degrees when we were there and there is lots of water dripping through the walls and ceilings.

After getting in one of the mine cars you ride horizontally into the mine and then get out for a short walk through a small part of the mine where the guide will show you a few veins of coal and some of the equipment and tunnels and walkways that were used.

All in all this whole thing will take you about two hours but it is interesting and different and well worth the trip into Ashland.

2  Thank Lefty33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"bring a jacket"
in 27 reviews
"train ride"
in 59 reviews
"coal mine"
in 103 reviews
"gift shop"
in 24 reviews
"tour guide"
in 17 reviews
"hard life"
in 4 reviews
"light jacket"
in 3 reviews
"back in the day"
in 5 reviews
"combo ticket"
in 3 reviews
"walk around"
in 7 reviews
"great tour"
in 9 reviews
"knoebels amusement park"
in 3 reviews
"learn how"
in 3 reviews
"strip mining"
in 6 reviews
"anthracite museum"
in 4 reviews
in 54 reviews
in 19 reviews

209 - 213 of 213 reviews

Reviewed 25 June 2008

Have to agree with my fellow reviewers here -- This is an eye opening experience about mining and the people who cut our coal out of the earth.

The train ride into the mine is amazing. Our guide was very knowledgeable (you didn't get the idea he was a college kid who had just memorized a script -- he really knew this stuff and was able to answer questions). It is chilly inside, but they have a rack of jackets you can borrow.

The steam train ride (outside, around the side of the mountain) is perfect for children and train buffs. For others? Maybe not so exciting.

There is a picnic area right across the street, with playground, for a nice break before or afterwards. We had a picnic lunch there.

2  Thank RoseofTexas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 July 2007

This undermarketed chance to glimpse a slice of coal-mining life is located just a few miles off of I-81. It is also down the road from the charming, old-timey Knoebels Amusement Park. Look carefully for signs when you hit Ashland. The entrance is uphill from the main street.

Since the tour is underground, drizzly weather was not a deterrent. One can take either the underground tour or the Steam engine tour or purchase a reasonably-priced combo ticket for both. Because of the year-round cool underground temperature, jackets are recommended. There are also loaner jackets to borrow if you arrive without one.

For starters, the mine ride area is inspected daily. The coal mine tour has been operating since the early 1960's without incident. Wonder how many amusement parks can say the same.

Few people are going to wish they'd been employed at a coal mine during its operating days. But you will leave with a greater appreciation for the people who did this type of work. Our guide was fantastic and genuinely interested in sharing his knowledge of the mine and the industry. The underground tour and the (real) steam engine tour are each about 40 minutes long.

There's a shaded community park adjacent to the tour area with picnic facilities. There's also a small snack bar on site.

Try this place; you won't regret it.

3  Thank CampMom_Tours07
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 June 2006

We had this little side detour on our schedule for a major vacation trip were taking and were not disappointed. The mine tour is very well done, very informative and educatiional. The people were all very friendly and knowledgable. The mine itself was fascinating, well maintained and we felt perfectly safe with our guide. They ride you down a short way into the mine where you get out of the mine cars and then take a short but informative tour. Then there is the train ride along the mountside to a clearing where you deboard the train for another nice, informative little lecture about mining and the history of the area. We left here with a new appreciation for coal and mining and were glad we made the stop. If you're in the area this is a must do.

4  Thank coastermeister
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 8 May 2006

I took my 3 children (14,12,8) to Pioneer Tunnel April 30, 2006. I had visited it when I was a child, and my 12 yo daughter wanted to visit to complete a school project. The tour times where posted online, and began promptly. We took a battery operated open rail-type car into the mountain to view several scenes of actual veins of coal. We were able to get out and walk for a portion. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable about the role of anthracite coal mining in the region, miners lives, and this particular mine specifically. We were able to take as many photos as we wanted, and the guide answered many questions. Being in the cold, damp, and dark tunnel reinforced the difficulties of the work the miners did. All of my children thought it was interesting. Bring a sweatshirt as it is very cold in the mine, even in the heat of summer!!!

1  Thank yankeemom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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