Anthracite coal mining, along with the railroads, helped put Centralia Pennsylvania on the map.
The first railroad with access to the town was the Mine Run Railroad. It was completed in 1854. With the ability to move people, equipment, and minerals, large scale coal mining began in the region.
The Mine Run Railroad was located to the east of Centralia PA and ran along what today we know as Big Mine Run Road.
Another larger railroad line was connected to Centralia in 1865. This was a branch of the Lehigh Valley Railroad. It provided passenger and freight service to and from the town.
For the better part of a century, Centralia Pennsylvania had reliable rail service. This served as an important transportation hub for the town’s growing population.
However, by the mid-1900s cars and trucks had replaced trains as America’s preferred method of travel. Coal mining too was on the decline. As a result, the town’s railroad station fell out of use. It was torn down and the tracks were ripped up in 1967.
That said, there are still remnants of the Lehigh Valley Railroad line in Centralia PA today. Not surprisingly, these can be found along Railroad Avenue on the northern end of the borough.
Anyone visiting Centralia will notice that Railroad Avenue is designed a bit differently than other streets in the town. At first glance, it appears to be four lanes with a center median.
In fact, the center median is where the Lehigh Valley Railroad’s pair of train tracks used to run. Railroad Avenue, then, was positioned along either side of the tracks. Looking east, the tracks connected the town to Girardville. Looking west, they led to Mount Carmel.
While the railroads no longer run to Centralia, the town is still easily accessed by car using Route 61. If you happen to be exploring the town, be sure to check out Railroad Avenue and pause for a moment to remember the trains that once ran through there.