PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Ligonier Valley Railroad made its final run on Aug. 31, 1952.  The railroad had carried coal from the mines and passengers to Idlewild Park since 1877.

“In the 75-year history of the Ligonier Valley Railroad, there was only one accident,” says volunteer guide Mary Bush. “And it occurred on July 5, 1912.”

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The Ligonier Valley Rail Road Museum opened in the old Darlington Station, now restored.

The building had fallen on hard times, until grant money came through, and volunteers cleaned it out.  One of those volunteers is Rail Road Association President Bill Potthoff.

“There were nine million passengers that rode it,” he says.  “The bulk of those went to Idlewild Park.  And they hauled everything from coal, lumber, and everything out of the valley.”

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The Latrobe native recalls childhood rides to Idlewild, where a smaller station still stands.

“We’d ride all day,” he said.  “And that was back when the park had one ticket for the fish pond, five for the roller coaster, things like that.”

The museum brings back memories for those who rode those rails.  And youngsters get to ring the bell, and learn of a heritage that has literally passed us by.

“We have people come in here and say, ‘Yeah, we used to have a railroad station in our town, but they tore it down,'” Potthoff says.  “And once it’s gone, it’s gone.  So by keeping this you can basically explain some of the history of the valley, get kids into railroading, and basically promote railroading.”

The Ligonier Valley Rail Road Association welcomes the public to its inaugural “Railroad Day” this Saturday.  For more information, log on to http://lvrra.org/

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