Lehighton train rides?
RON GOWER/TIMES NEWS Discussing potential train rides between Lehighton and Jim Thorpe are members of the Lehighton Economic Development committee, from left, borough council members George Kogut and Scott Rehrig; Kathy Henderson, representing the Carbon County Board of Realtors; and Lehighton borough manager Nicole Beckett.
Some day, if plans materialize as they're being discussed, there could be trains traveling between Lehighton and Jim Thorpe.
Or, in a revival of a service from a previous generation, there could even be passenger train service between Lehighton and Allentown.
Such potential rail service was among the topics discussed during an economic development meeting coordinated by Lehighton Borough Council member George Kogut.
The concept was also mentioned during a meeting this week of Lehighton Borough Council.
It was one of the items mentioned as a means of keeping life in Lehighton's downtown business district.
Kathy Henderson, who is with the Carbon County Board of Realtors, said at the Economic Development meeting that she has been in contact with someone involved in the railroad "The conversation has been to (have) the railroad connect to Jim Thorpe, and possibly connect to the Lehigh Valley," she said, adding that it would be a commuter rail.
It was noted that a parking lot could be built to allow people to park in Lehighton and travel by train to Jim Thorpe for special events.
John Kreitz, a member of borough council, sounded interested in the concept.
He said it's history which draws people to Jim Thorpe. Trains played a major role in Lehighton's heritage.
Henderson will continue discussing the matter with the railroad representative.
At one time, the former Lehigh Valley Railroad had passenger service to the Lehigh Valley as well as to other locations.
The Lehigh Valley Railroad operated a number of passenger trains in the post-World War II era including The Star, the Major, the Maple Leaf, The Black Diamond, The Lehighton Express, The Asa Packer and the John Wilkes.
Because of declining passenger patronage, the Lehigh Valley Railroad petitioned the Interstate Commerce Commission to terminate all passenger service. which took place on Feb. 4, 1961.
Much of the rails in the Lehighton area that were part of the old Lehigh Valley Railroad have been removed.
Jim Thorpe has scenic train rides operated by the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway. This consists of passenger train rides from May through mid-December from Jim Thorpe to Penn Haven Junction near White Haven. Periodically rides also are available to other locations.