Centralia, Pennsylvania was founded because of the discovery of anthracite coal in the area during the mid-1800s. Mining was of critical importance to the growth of the borough and the surrounding towns.
If you are considering a trip to Centralia, consider including a visit to Ashland as well. The town is just south of Centralia PA along Route 61. One of the main attractions in Ashland is the Pioneer Tunnel mine tour.
Coal mining is a dark, dangerous business. It is also extremely fascinating to learn about. The Pioneer Tunnel takes visitors inside what was once a working anthracite coal mine. The mine closed in 1931 and was reopened for the public to explore in 1963. It’s been a popular attraction ever since.
Visitors to the Pioneer Tunnel ride in mine cars that have been redesigned to carry people. From the moment you enter, you’ll begin to realize that Pennsylvania anthracite coal miners were a hearty bunch. The tunnel is damp, dark, and cool. There are also numerous vertical and horizontal passageways, making it easy to become disoriented or lost.
Thankfully, this tourist-friendly mine has knowledgeable guides to lead the way. You’ll learn about how miners worked underground and the techniques they used to extract coal from deep within the mountains.
There are other attractions near the Pioneer Tunnel too. These include a working narrow-gauge steam locomotive and a gift shop. If you want to learn about miners and the tunnels under Centralia PA, the Pioneer Tunnel is a great way to do so.
Admission into the tunnel ranges from $7-$10, while riding the locomotive costs between $6-$8. To check the tour schedule and get directions, you can visit the official Pioneer Tunnel site.