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Pennsylvania: Mine Lokie Set to Arrive at Ashley Park Next Week

 

 

By Paul Golias

 

June 16, 2020 - The mine lokie destined for the Anthracite Miners Memorial Park in Ashley, Pennsylvania is expected to arrive next week.

Matt Stegura, chairman of the committee working to “bring the lokie home,” said transport on a flatbed truck will occur sometime during the week of June 22.

Meanwhile, a crew of volunteers led by Don Kane has prepared the section of track on which the lokie will sit. Eventually, a pole barn shed will be erected to protect the artifact.

The lokie, best known as Wanamie 9, once chugged along narrow-gauge tracks at the Wanamie Colliery in Newport Twp. and previously at the Loomis Colliery, Hanover Twp.

The lokie was purchased for $17,000 from Veirson Boiler Works in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Huber Breaker Preservation Society, with an assist from Ashley Borough, was awarded $21,000 from the Local Share Account of the state Department of Community and Economic Development to secure the lokie.

The rail was donated from a private owner, Kane said, and was transported to the park with manpower and machinery donated by John Halliday of Halliday Trucking.

Kane, Stegura and Leo Czereck installed the track. The site was graded and leveled with the assistance of Bob Hess of Ashley Borough which also provided ballast. Councilman Gerry Maldonado of Ashley provided a transit which was used to level the site and the ties, Kane said.

Stegura said he will travel to Michigan with Falzone Towing personnel who will haul the lokie. State Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski assisted in arranging for the transport.

Because the Huber Breaker could not be saved, artifacts such as the lokie have become important in telling the anthracite mining history of Northeast Pennsylvania. The lokie will join restored underground mine cars, a railroad switchman’s shanty, powder house, railroad signal and other artifacts. Kiosks would tell the story of the heyday of mining and railroading.

The miners’ park is now in the hands of Ashley Borough. The Huber Breaker Preservation Society is pondering its future, a decision on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The lokie was built in 1915 by Vulcan Iron Works in Wilkes-Barre. It weighs 27 tons when the tank is full of water. There is no tender. The lokie coal box was filled from large chunks of anthracite from piles along the tracks.