MAHANOY CITY, Pa. — Decades ago, the trains that stopped at P&R station in Mahanoy City took men from the area off to serve their country.
“My father and my uncle Benny left for World War II out of this train station. And he had three other brothers, Artie, Russell, and Frankie, who all left for the Korean War out of this train station,” said Ettore Dicasimirro, vice president of the Mahanoy Area Chamber of Commerce.
Dicasimirro says a fire destroyed the old train station building on Vine Street in the 1980s. Since then, he's watched the property wither away.
Now he and members of the Mahanoy Area Chamber of Commerce are getting their hands dirty, cleaning up the property themselves to bring the train station back to life.
“There was so much garbage up here; people were dumping bottles, and it was a spot for people just to come up and drink,” Dicasimirro said.
Dicasimirro and Mahanoy Area Chamber President Jeff Bowers have been clearing out debris on their time off.
Members of the community are donating money to rebuild the station to its former glory.
“A train station can bring in a ton of business, and they attract a lot of people, you know. And I'm hoping to get some train rides out of Mahanoy City again,” Bowers explained.
The Mahanoy Area Chamber of Commerce is partnering with the Reading and Northern Railroad to bring back passenger trains to Mahanoy City, something that hasn't been done since the 1960s.
“I think we're going to try to have three different trains with three different times running with three cars, so I think we could take a couple hundred at a trip,” Dicasimirro said.
Passengers will be able to see other historical parts of Mahanoy City that may have been forgotten.
“As a kid, experiencing a train made me always love trains. From here, we get to go through the Buck Mountain tunnel, and that itself is an experience,” Bowers added.
“The Buck tunnel, that was put in here in the 1800s, and we still have the tracks from way far back. So it will be nice to see some history here in Mahanoy City,” Dicasimirro said.
The goal is to have trains running from the station in Mahanoy City shortly after Labor Day on September 9.
The train will depart from 100 East Vine Street in Mahanoy City and travel east through the historic Mahanoy Tunnel into Barnesville.
The train ride times are 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 3 p.m. Each ride will be a 70-minute round trip.
Tickets are available in person at The Mahanoy City Food Store, 28 South Main Street Mahanoy City, and online.
The Mahanoy Area Chamber of Commerce wants to give a special thanks to Champ Holman and Andy Muller for helping make this happen.
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