In Search of Keystone State Steam: Part 2

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Second of a series.

Eastern Pennsylvania is known for its anthracite coal. Often called hard coal, anthracite is known for its sub-metallic luster, high carbon content, lack of impurities, and having the highest calorific content of all types of coal except graphite.

The mining of anthracite in Pennsylvania is not what it used to be, but it is still mined and there remains a relatively stable market for it.

In Ashland, Pennsylvania, the Pioneer Tunnel Coal mine takes visitors inside a horizontal drift mine that extend 1,800 feet into the side of the Mahanoy Mountain.

Today passengers can ride on a three-quarter mile ride around Mahanoy Mountain behind the Henry Clay, an 0-4-0 tank engine that was built in 1927 by the Vulcan Works.

A highlight of that trip is viewing the remains of the strip mines, but the journey ends at the Pioneer Tunnel, which is open to visitors.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

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