Over 100 train passengers arrived at the Pioneer City Train Station around 12:45 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 21.  Their stay was short — about an hour — but they accomplished their mission: to learn the entire history of the City of Carbondale, of anthracite coal mining, the D&H Gravity Railroad and Canal, the demise of the coal and rail industries, the mine fire disaster, and the future.


Over 100 train passengers arrived at the Pioneer City Train Station around 12:45 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 21.  Their stay was short — about an hour — but they accomplished their mission: to learn the entire history of the City of Carbondale, of anthracite coal mining, the D&H Gravity Railroad and Canal, the demise of the coal and rail industries, the mine fire disaster, and the future.
The occasion for their visit was the 32nd Annual Conference of the National Association of Abandoned Mine Land Programs, which drew mine reclamation officials from 28 states and three American Indian tribes to the Scranton area from September 17 to 22.
The conference theme was, “Their Legacy, Our Heritage, Everyone’s Future,” chosen to highlight the America’s mining heritage and the successful reclaiming of abandoned mine lands.
From the train station, the visitors had lunch in Trinity Church’s Durfee Hall, while Carbondale Historical Society president Dr. S. Robert Powell, at his professorial best, fascinated the crowd with a brief but exhaustive overview of local history, from the discovery of anthracite coal in the 1820s to the revival and rebuilding of acres contaminated and destroyed by mine fires and the railroad.
From Trinity Church, many of the guests trailed Dr. Powell to City Hall, where he offered them a glimpse of a few of the many historic artifacts in the Society’s collection on the third floor.
At 2 p.m., the train conducter loudly announced “All aboard!” and the Steamtown locomotive pulled the passenger cars out of the Pioneer City.
“Well, that was quite an experience!” exclaimed Dr. Powell from the train platform as he watched the last car disappear from view.”
“And it’s good to see a train in town!” he added.