PITTSTON — You can travel one of the oldest rail routes in the country and help three charities while enjoying the scenic train ride from Duryea to Jim Thorpe on Sunday.
The fourth annual Greater Pittston Charity Train Ride will be departing at 9 a.m. on Stevenson Street in Duryea and chugging to historic Jim Thorpe in Carbon County. Cost is $65 and tickets are still available.
The train is made up of 1920s-era open coaches pulled by a 1920s-era steam locomotive owned by the Reading Blue Mountain & Northern Railroad Co., Port Clinton.
This year’s Greater Pittston Charity Train Ride will benefit the Pittston Memorial Library, Greater Pittston YMCA and the Care and Concern Free Health Clinic, also in Pittston.
Gloria Blandina, spokeswoman for the event, said the train can accommodate 600 people and the event is usually sold out. She said a diesel engine has been used in past events, but this year the steam locomotive will pull the cars, adding to the historical feel of the trip.
“Our conductor tells you the history of every town along the way — when it was founded, the main occupations, and more,” Blandina said. “We travel through White Haven, Laura Run, Crestwood, Penobscot Mountain and the Lehigh Gorge. What’s really neat is the number of people who come out to wave as the train passes through these areas. The train still commands grand attention.”
Blandina said the event usually raises around $15,000 and the money will be evenly split among this year’s three recipients.
“With 600 people on the train, everybody seems to know somebody traveling with them,” she said.
The train will roll straight through to Jim Thorpe, where passengers can get out and walk through the shops and see the sights, such as the Jim Thorpe Monument. She said the stop in Jim Thorpe is about four hours before the train departs for home.
“The railway system helped build this area and lay the foundation for our future,” she said. “In the beginning of the 20th century, a decline of the rail system in the area occurred as coal fell as king. But in 1996 the railway was re-established. This opened the doors for passengers to once again travel along these tracks.”
‘The train ride is a wonderful, fun family trip,” she said. “It really feels like your back in time on the train.”