Passenger trains back on track in Jim Thorpe this weekend

Mark Abrams
February 14, 2020 - 8:42 am
Historic old buildings and the scenic landscape of Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Passenger train service from Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, through the scenic Lehigh Gorge returns this weekend after the resolution of an amusement tax dispute with town officials.

The popular Reading, Blue Mountain and Northern Railroad nostalgic train rides will be back Saturday, just in time for Jim Thorpe's Winterfest celebration.

The rail operator suspended the service back at the end of November after Jim Thorpe officials demanded payment of some $100,000 in amusement taxes.

The railroad balked, saying freight rail was its primary business and the passenger runs were simply a way of keeping railroading alive for young and old and bringing tourists to the community.

During the past several weeks, talks between the railroad, the community and Carbon County officials brought about a resolution.

"We couldn't be more thrilled that an amicable agreement was worked out and the trains are rolling once again back into Jim Thorpe," said Chris Barrett, president and chief executive officer of the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau.

He says they are a huge economic engine for Jim Thorpe and beyond.

"It has an effect of bringing about $42 million into our community every year. So it's a substanial economic asset for our region," Barrett said.

In a statement from the railroad, owner Andy Mueller Jr. said, "We are delighted that the borough leadership has decided to work with us on continuing our tradition of bringing visitors to Jim Thorpe."

Related: Jim Thorpe's popular old-time passenger trains derailed by tax dispute