A treasured piece of Lackawanna County’s storied history in the mining industry was spruced-up for the future.
The 25-passenger mine car at McDade Park’s Slope #190, which has been in operation for 30 years, was completely restored and repaired by Belack Equipment of Schuylkill County and returned for today’s (April 1) coal mine tour opening.
The Lackawanna County Commissioners officially unveiled the new look on the car at a brief ceremony at the park as a tour group prepared to descend some 300 feet in to the old anthracite mine, which dates back to the 1860’s, to capture a glimpse of the area’s rich history in “black diamonds.”
“The coal mine tour is an important part of our parks’ system and a link to our past history. The refurbishing of the car is long overdue,” said Commissioner Jim Wansacz. “It is important that we make a friendly first impression on our guests and maintain our equipment in the tradition of the rich coal mining industry that serves as a trademark of Northeastern Pennsylvania.”
“The mine car and tour symbolize the strength of Lackawanna County. Mining was the foundation upon which our great community was built,” explained Commissioner Patrick M. O’Malley. “The restoration project and the model mine provide us with an opportunity to showcase our rich heritage and recognize those who were the backbone of the coal industry.”
“This is a great project for our County,” said Commissioner Ed Staback. “By repairing and painting the mine car, we are preserving our rich mining past and celebrating the success the mine has had in telling our story and sharing our heritage with visitors from the region and literally around the world.”
The 24’ long x 8’ wide car has been in operation since the tourist attraction opened back in 1985.
At the March 11 Commissioners’ Meeting, the $16,748 contract was approved, paving the way for the major overhaul.
According to William Davis, Deputy Director for Parks & Recreation, Belack Equipment replaced the car’s roof and two doors, fixed the bumpers and fabricated a new rear toolbox. The car was also sandblasted, primed and painted bright yellow.
The Lackawanna Coal Mine Tour at McDade Park is open April 1 to November 30. Tour guides explain the mining history while also highlighting the various displays and artifacts that are throughout the exhibit.
An introductory video about mining is available for viewing at the theater, which is located in the interpretive center near the box office.
For information on ticket prices, the one-hour tour, special accommodations or mine conditions, contact the mine at 570-963-6463.