You arrive. You put on your hard hat. You sit down at the safety meeting where you are given a briefing for the safety measures for the day. Once the briefing is completed, you then proceed to the mine train that will take you to where you will be working for the day. You walk through the mine removing coal from the different veins. When the day is done, you get aboard the mine train, and you ride to the surface. You step the train and remove your hard hat. The boss says, “I hope that you enjoyed your tour of the Tour-Ed Mine. Please come back.”
Some of you have just fallen out of your seat.
Welcome to the Tour-Ed Mine and Museum. Be advised. This is not your typical mine tour. You will feel like you are in a mine as soon as you leave the parking lot. You enter a replica mine town where you see cabins, and you can even visit the post office. You pay your admission, and then you are taken to the safety briefing room where you get a safety briefing plus the history of the mine and how mining is done. Once the briefing is done, you get your hard hat, and you get aboard the train. You go into the mine.
Some of you are saying, “I know the story. You go to different parts of the mine and they tell you that they mined coal here and they mined coal there. I have heard the story many times before.”
As mentioned, this is not your typical mine tour. You will see the places where the miners did their mining, and you will watch as they use the machinery. Yes, you will see the machinery that was used to mine the coal, and you will see the machinery in action. Oh, you will quickly learn how noisy the life of a miner was. You will want to watch for those low ceilings.
The original name of the mine was the Avenue Mine, but it was later called the Tour-Ed Mine. (The origin of the two names are unknown.) The mine was decommissioned in the 1960’s and was opened as a tour mine in 1970. A tour of the Tour-Ed Mine is set up in a way where you will experience the day of a mine worker from the time you leave the parking lot to the time you return to the parking lot. It will feel as if you yourself are going into the mine to work. The difference is that you will not leave the mine covered in coal silt. Once you have finished the tour, you can walk through the museum.
The Tour-Ed Mine is located at 748 Bull Creek Road (Pennsylvania Route 366) in Tarentum, Pennsylvania. (You enter the mine from Ridge Road.) It is just off Pennsylvania Route 28 about ten minutes north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike (Interstate 76) and twenty minutes north of downtown Pittsburgh. Parking is on site, and the entry road and parking lot are not paved. They are open Wednesday through Monday (closed Tuesday) from Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day Weekend and on Saturday and Sunday in September and October. Their hours are from 10:00am to 4:00pm (Eastern Standard Time) with the last tour at 2:30pm. Please note that they only accept cash as payment. Please note that the mine is in its original state, and it is not handicap accessible. There are also low ceilings and tight spaces. There is also a slight incline to enter the mine. You can learn more at https://tour-edmine.com/.
Welcome to the Tour-Ed Mine. It is a tour, but it will become real.