Coasting along the Schuylkill River, watching the freshly changing trees fly by from the window of a passenger rail car — that relaxing image will soon become reality for those who take the Borough Day train.
The Reading Blue Mountain and Northern train station serves as a hub of activities during the Sept. 30 Borough Day, largely because of the enduring popularity of the train trips it offers for the festival, according to Bob Kempes, a railroad employee and longtime Borough Day volunteer.
The roughly one-hour trip spirits passengers from Schuylkill Haven to Port Clinton.
The train cabin is a special place, according to Kempes, who said he’s seen many families experience the same sense of awe that sparked his love of locomotives as a child.
“We used to go out to Chicago for a family vacation; our grandfathers used to take us down to the railroad to watch the streamliners go by,” Kemp said. “This was back in the 1950s.”
Once a dentist, Kemp has since retired and taken up part-time work pursuing his passion — he works as a car host out of Jim Thorpe, aiding customers as they travel on the tourist rail trips operated by the RBM&N..
He said he enjoys helping grow in others the same appreciation for trains that drove him to take up his current job.
“It’s a lot of fun, it feels great,” Kemp said.
Last year Borough Day’s train excursions were pulled by an engine more beast than train—the T-1 2102 steam engine, at the time, the largest steam locomotive of its kind in main line service in America.
That monster is booked elsewhere this year, so instead passengers will be pulled by a hefty diesel engine, just as it was in the early days of Borough Day’s train rides.
Passengers will also have to prepare to be in the presence of not one but three legends of the Hundred-Acre Wood: Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore and Tigger will join riders in the cabins.
Kempes said the characters are played by members of the Schuylkill Haven High School honor society.
“They have some nice outfits they put on; the kids love it,” Kempes said.
Borough Day train rides will take place at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday.
Purchasing tickets in advance is strongly encouraged to ensure seat availability.
Riders are advised to arrive early to ensure they have time to park and get to the train station on time, considering the road closures and large crowds.
Tickets are $22 per adult, $9 per child over 2 years old, and free for children under 2.
Tickets can be purchased ahead of time by calling 610-562-2102 or visiting www.rbmnrr-passenger.com.
Source: Berkshire mont