JIM THORPE, CARBON COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A popular passenger train ride is returning to the Pocono mountains.
The Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway was in limbo for a few months as the rail company was in dispute over an amusement tax with the borough of Jim Thorpe.
All aboard! Passenger service to Jim Thorpe on the Reading & Northern Railroad has been restored, offering 15 years of excursions while bringing people to Jim Thorpe.
“When they’re here they shop. You’re talking thousands of people not a few hundred,” Vince Suzadail of Summit Hill said.
Suzadail has been going on the 70-minute train ride for a decade. It was halted ahead of the railroad’s Christmas train rides with Santa over an amusement tax dispute with the borough.
The owner and CEO of Reading & Northern Railroad says: “We are pleased to resume service to and from Jim Thorpe and put the amusement tax issue behind us. We have consistently stated that we are not now, and have never been, an amusement.”
“There are businesses that were fine but there were businesses that really could have closed their doors,” Pocono Chamber of Commerce executive director Marlyn Kissner said.
Kissner says she worked with other community leaders to show the borough how much of an economic impact the train has on this tourism destination.
“We’re thrilled that the traffic is going to come back and that these businesses will be in good shape,” she said.
“There’s such a big draw to town and our business obviously prosper because of the railroad and all other attractions in town,” Darren Behan said.
Darren Behan co-owns Molly Maguire’s Pub and Steakhouse and gives thanks to the borough and railroad company for working out an agreement to continue one of the largest attractions in the area.
“We did have an idea that a resolution was on its way we just didn’t think it would happen this quickly,” Behan said.
The first ride of the year will be this weekend during Winterfest. The Lehigh Gorge Scenic Railway brings in about 200,000 visitors to Jim Thorpe each year.
Reading and Northern Railroad will announce passenger schedules in the near future. For more information visit www.rbmnrr-passenger.com