Scenic train excursions will return to Tamaqua on Fathers Day, June 15, as part of the 24th Annual Tamaqua Summerfest, according to the Tamaqua Historical Society.
The diesel-powered trips will utilize the 1831 Little Schuylkill Railroad line, the first railroad in the U.S. to haul anthracite coal using steam power, recognized as the third oldest railroad in the country.
The three trips will be provided by the Reading, Blue Mountain & Northern Railroad. Two afternoon rides, 1 and 3 p.m., will take passengers through the 1850s Tamaqua Tunnel and on to the towering Hometown High Bridge.
Another trip, a morning excursion, 11 a.m., will take passengers south to New Ringgold.
Passengers will board at Tamaqua's 1874 Philadelphia & Reading Railroad passenger depot and will ride the same rail line first surveyed in 1830. The railroad was built by a famous German, Georg Friedrich List, destined to become known as that country's Father of Rail Transportation, along with renowned Moncure Robinson, known as the genius of America's earliest railways.
Sightseers will ride in 1920s-era restored passenger coaches.
The coaches will travel north along the Little Schuylkill River valley, passing through the historic Tamaqua Tunnel, constructed as a means of getting coal to market. The train will stop on the Hometown High Bridge.
The bridge, a steel and wood railroad trestle 180-feet high and 1,168 feet long, is the third structure on the site, the first being constructed of wood in 1866.
The second trestle, also constructed of wood, was built about 1890. The present one was installed in 1931 by the Phoenix Bridge Co. of Philadelphia, for the Central Railroad of N.J.
It consists of eight steel support towers spanning the length of the structure.
Upcoming ads in the Times News will reveal additional details. The ticket price is expected to be $12 for adults and $9 for youngsters ages 4-12, according to Dale Freudenberger, society president.
"Children age 3 and under ride free with a paying adult," he said. "Advance ticket purchases are strongly recommended," said Freudenberger.
"Remaining tickets will be sold the day of the Summerfest on a first come, first served basis."
At that point, however, seating cannot be guaranteed.
More information is available at 570-225-1089.