90-year-old steam locomotive ready to ride rails in Kutztown

'There just isn't very many of them left anymore'

90-year-old steam locomotive ready to...

KUTZTOWN, Pa. - Decades ago, steam locomotives were pillars of rail travel. Today, if you saw one, you might think you're dreaming, but this is very real, and it's in Berks County, taking passengers along for the ride, thanks in part to a conductor hat-sporting gentleman from Indiana: Byron Gramling.

"There's only 150 steam locomotives left in the United States," said Gramling. "There's not that many of them."

The locomotive is Jeddo Coal Company #85: a dinosaur brought back to life.

"It's frankly, it's something, there just isn't very many of them left anymore," said Gramling.

The behemoth, built in in 1928, took six years for Gramling to restore. He said it's the nation's most recently restored steam locomotive, and it has Pennsylvania roots, first chugging its wheels in Hazleton. 

This weekend and next weekend, it'll take riders around the scenic Kutztown area.

"Bringing a locomotive like this to the area, it exposes a whole new generation of people to steam locomotives that have been gone since the '50s," said Michael Bast, the president of Allentown & Auburn Railroad.

Friday night, a pair of moonlight rides will depart the Allentown & Auburn Railroad station in Kutztown, and the rides continue into this weekend and the next. Tickets start at $10, and kids 2 and under are free.

"It's kind of neat to expose people to history and the type of machinery that once built this country," said Bast.

For tickets, call 570-778-7531.

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