The city of Reading in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania is a city that is commonly associated with the Reading Railroad, a railroad that once ran through much of eastern Pennsylvania. The Reading Railroad is long gone with tracks absorbed by other railroads or have become rail trails. The Reading, Blue Mountain, and Northern Railroad runs freight service through northeastern Pennsylvania, but they also run a passenger train.
Although they are based in Port Clinton, Pennsylvania, the passenger train begins in Reading at a place called the ‘Outer Station’. When you arrive, you see old Number 225 on display next to an old water tower. Sadly, it will not be pulling the train. You also see an old yard tower with the platform down below. The train arrives at the station. You board the train. The train departs. You pass by freight cars as you pull out of the yard and depart the city of Reading. You pass through towns, by fields, over streams and rivers. You get views of the Schuylkill River. (This is the same Schuylkill River that flows into the Delaware River in Philadelphia.) You go under bridges, and you arrive in Port Clinton. Here is where you see the main yard and repair shops, and it is where the train picks up passengers. (The town itself is across the river.) From here, the train continues past more towns, more farms, and over more creeks, and then you arrive in the town of Tamaqua. You see the old train station (now a restaurant), and the train picks up more passengers.
Now some of you are saying, “And we go past more farms, bridges, towns. It is the same thing.”
But there is more. When the train departs Tamaqua, is passes by the homes and businesses when it leaves the town. It then comes upon a tunnel. You pass by more towns and fields, and then you get the best view of the trip. The train crosses the ‘One Story Trestle’. (No, it does not get the name because somebody told one story while crossing the trestle.) The train continues by more yards and coal mounds, and you arrive at the final destination. You arrive in the town of Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania.
Some of you are saying, “This is cool. We are now in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania. I wonder if Jim Thorpe will greet us when we arrive.”
Sadly, he passed away years ago. Yes, it is named after the famous Olympian. Although he is buried here and there is a monument to him here, it is unknown if he ever visited the town when he was alive. Unfortunately, the monument is not within walking distance of the station.
You arrive at the old Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal which remains at train station for the Reading, Blue Mountain, and Northern Railroad as well as the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railroad, but it is also the town Visitor Center and a museum displaying the history of the town.
You are in the town of Jim Thorpe. What is there to do here?
Jim Thorpe is known as one of the best small towns in the United States of America. Be warned. While here, you may fall in love with the town. Diehard rail fans may choose to ride the Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railroad which goes along the Lehigh River. Then again, some of you are thinking that you have been on a train and will not want to ride another train. Therefore, you can get a meal at the many great restaurants. There are many great galleries and shops. You can also get a tour of the Asa Packer Mansion, the home of Asa Packer, a man who helped bring the railroad to the town. You can visit Saint Marks Church. (Please note that you are required to climb steep hills to get to both locations. The mansion is not wheelchair accessible.) You can visit the old jail where a group of criminals known as the ‘Molly Maguires’ were hanged. (The old jail is a long walk from the station and is not wheelchair accessible.) There is also the Mauch Chunk Museum that tells the history of the town. After you stroll around, you will have to return to the train and depart the town.
The Reading, Blue Mountain, and Northern Railroad passenger train is an enjoyable ride whether it is their rail diesel cars or cars being pulled by a locomotive. No matter where you board whether in Reading, Port Clinton, or Tamaqua, you will see great scenery along the way. You can go to https://www.rbmnrr-passenger.com/ to get more information on tickets, trains, boarding locations and the different excursions they run.