Borough Day brings thousands to Schuylkill Haven for fun

Sep. 25—SCHUYLKILL HAVEN — Drax Pepe, 7, of Schuylkill Haven, gave the train ride from Schuylkill Haven to Port Clinton and back two enthusiastic thumbs-up Saturday.

The boy, who rode the train pulled by the steam-powered Reading Blue Mountain & Northern Railroad's locomotive No. 2102 with his family, was among 1,500 people who had tickets for the scenic ride on Schuylkill Haven Borough Day.

The locomotive was pulling 10 passenger cars capable of seating 70 people each. The speed was 25 mph. Cost per ticket varied, but children 2 and younger rode for free.

"The thing is massive," Bob Kempes, borough day committee member, said of the locomotive, which was built in Reading in 1945.

It is one of four surviving T-1 Class locomotives. The railroad in Port Clinton acquired the locomotive and used it on its tourist railroad between Temple and South Hamburg before putting the engine out of commission in 1991.

The tender holds 26 ton of bituminous soft coal and 19,000 gallons of water. A 2011 GP 38 diesel engine locomotive led the way to Port Clinton while the No. 2102 pulled the other engine back.

Kempes said the train rides at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. were not all sold out, but it was close.

Chuck Trusdell, one of four engineers in the No. 2102, said that specific engine hadn't been at Borough Day for more than 30 years.

Kevin and Tammy Seibert, of Pine Grove, enjoyed their ride.

"It was awesome," Tammy Seibert said.

"That thing runs smooth," Kevin Seibert added.

The train wasn't the only attraction downtown. There were food and craft vendors, as well as activities for children.

Kempes estimated 10,000 people attended the 34th edition of the event, which ran from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

"The weather was perfect; we could not have asked for better weather," Kempes said.

If children didn't have the opportunity to ride the passenger train, they could ride a smaller one.

Michael McDevitt was operating a small Burlington Route 9227 train on 7 1/4 gauge track on Parkway on 200 feet of track.

There were four cars in which children could ride.

McDevitt has been engineering fun for kids for more than 30 years.

"I like the Kodak moments and the smile on the kids' faces," he said.

Nearby, children could paint on a small canvas-like area.

Sometimes you had to look up to see something interesting.

John Hadfield, of Newark, Delaware, walked on stilts, which measured about 10 feet, making him tower above the crowd.

"Those are fake legs," Parker Mills, 10, of Brockton, told Hadfield. "You're not that tall."

A large Lego display also generated a lot of interest.

"It's cool," 9-year-old Gage Kamiski, of Cressona, said.

He particularly liked the SpongeBob SquarePants house.

Mark Petrich, who had the Lego display on a side street in the borough, estimated that there were thousands of colorful bricks in the display for people to admire.

A replica of the Tower Bridge in London, a small pirate ship, a news truck, space shuttle and even Buzz Lightyear were among the creations on display.

"People enjoy it," he said. "Otherwise, it wouldn't be worth it."

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