Sweet charity

June 27th, 2015 1:26 am

First Posted: 9/20/2013

Approximately 600-passengers from Greater Pittston and the surrounding area boarded the Reading & Northern train in Duryea Sunday morning to trek to Jim Thorpe for the annual Greater Pittston Charity Train Ride, proceeds of which benefited the Greater Pittston YMCA, Pittston Memorial Library, and Care and Concern Free Health Clinic.

After ill weather the day before, it turned out to be a glorious day for a two-hour train ride through the scenic mountains of Northeast Pennsylvania.

“This year we were fortunate to have the steam locomotive along for the ride,” said Gloria Blandina from the Care and Concern Free Health Clinic. The engine had been out of commission and was back in service in time for the journey.

The No. 425 locomotive, which weighs approximately 110-tons holds 18-tons of coal and 8,500 gallons of water was built in 1928 at a cost of $44,000.

Passengers departed at 9 a.m. from Duryea and traveled in 70-foot long, open-windowed coaches that were also built in the early 1900s.

The train passed through Avoca and Dupont before leaving Wyoming Valley as it eventually climbed a 1.2% grade to Penobscot Mountain and Laurel Run on the way to Soloman’s Gap. During the trip, the train passed through the 1100-foot Rockport Tunnel, which is the only curved tunnel on the Reading & Northern Railroad.

Once in Jim Thorpe, passengers enjoyed a sun-filled day with temperatures warming up into the low 70s. There they visited the many shops, restaurants and museums including the historic Mauch Chunk jail were four Molly Maguires were hanged in the 1870s.

Organizers look forward to next year’s charity ride, which will occur in the fall of 2014.