F units to pull the first Pittston-Jim Thorpe train; tickets go on sale on March 1

Reading & Northern’s vintage ‘F-unit’ diesel locomotives 270 and 275 are on view at Jim Thorpe in 2020. Tickets for the railway’s new excursions between Pittston and Jim Thorpe go on sale tomorrow, March 1, with the first run set for May 27 with the F units. Roger DuPuis | Time leader

Tickets for the Reading & Northern Railroad’s new passenger excursions between Pittston and Jim Thorpe go on sale at 9 a.m. today, March 1, and the railroad has a special announcement about the first trip.

The May 27 inauguration will be hauled by RBMN’s streamlined F-unit diesel locomotives, 270 and 275.

Complete schedules, more information and tickets can be found at www.RBMNRR-Passenger.com or by calling the railroad’s passenger office at 610-562-2102.

All excursions include free parking at each station, live narration and interaction with staff dressed in period clothing from the 1920s-1950s.

Passengers will have nearly four hours to explore, dine and shop in historic Jim Thorpe – which is also home to the company’s Lehigh Gorge Scenic train operations – before boarding the train in the afternoon for the return trip north.

All-day, round-trip excursions will depart from the new Pittston station at 9:00 a.m., stopping at Penobscot (Mountain Top) and White Haven en route to Jim Thorpe.

First trip (27/5)

For the first trip on May 27, the vintage F units, which date to the early 1950s, will pull a special full-length passenger train consisting of the following seats available for purchase:

• Standard bus ($49 round trip from Pittston, Penobscot or White Haven)

• Crown Class Coach ($55 round trip, available at Pittston only)

Regular weekend trips

From May 28 to September 24, regular weekend excursions from the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Regional Rail Station in Pittston to Jim Thorpe will be operated by diesel-powered locomotives. For these trips, passengers are given special options such as the opportunity to sit in RBMN’s Crown Class Coaches and access to a dining car. The trains will make several stops at Penobscot and White Haven. Tickets from 28 May to 24 September will also go on sale on Wednesday. The price will be as follows:

• $39 round trip from Pittston

• $36 round trip from Penobscot

• $29 round trip from White Haven

About the cars

“Passengers will enjoy the train ride like celebrities from the bygone era with the streamlining of train travel,” the railway said in a statement.

In Crown Class accommodation, passengers will enjoy large reclining fabric seats in restored six-axle coaches. Clean toilets are available in every Crown Class bus, and all windows in the buses open and close.

During the excursion, guests can also spend time in one of the railroad’s remarkable dining cars, which were featured in Alfred Hitchcock’s film “North by Northwest.”

While driving in the dining car, you can buy snacks with cash. However, food and non-alcoholic beverages can be brought on board throughout the trip, officials said.

About the excursions

RBMN first announced the tours earlier this month, as reported by the Times Leader.

Planning and groundbreaking has already begun at the Pittston location on a station platform, ticket booth and parking area. The rest of the construction will be handled in stages. The area leading to the station will be lined with trees and shrubs “and will be a wonderful addition to the neighborhood at 718 North Main St.,” an RBMN release said.

Headquartered in Port Clinton, Schuylkill County, RBMN is a privately owned railroad company serving over 70 customers in nine eastern Pennsylvania counties (Berks, Bradford, Carbon, Columbia, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Northumberland, Schuylkill and Wyoming).

It has expanded its operations over the past 40 years and now handles over 34,000 carloads of goods annually over 400 miles of track.

In addition to its successful freight operations, Reading & Northern has become a favorite among families, day trippers and rail fans for its various passenger excursions throughout the region, with 250,000 excursion riders annually.

These excursions have included seasonal day trips from Outer Reading station in Berks County to Jim Thorpe via Port Clinton and Tamaqua, and special trips from Outer Reading to Pottsville.

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