Have you ever wanted to explore the tunnels of a coal mine while riding in a rail car? Well, now you can with a Portal 31 Mine Tour in Lynch, Kentucky!
Coal mining is a dirty, dangerous business that helped fuel our nation's growth and remains an important part of our history and economy. There is something exciting and mysterious about those subterranean tunnels and delving into the depths of the earth to harvest natural resources.
A Portal 31 Mine Tour will give you a taste of cola mining's dark and daring world from aboard a real rail car, dressed in the official, protective gear of coal miners!
Opened during the first decades of the 1900's by the U.S. Coal & Coke Company, Portal 31 Mine is part of a larger group of mines in the area. Lynch, Kentucky started life as a coal camp that, at its peak housed over 10,000 workers and their families, many immigrants of Italian, Spanish, Czech, Polish, English, Welsh, Irish, and Scottish stock. It was miners from the Lynchcamp that, on February 12, 1923, broke the world's record for coal production by filling 256 rail cars with 12,820 tons of coal - in a single 9 hour shift!
During your thirty minute, Portal 31 Mine Tour, you'll ride a rail car to 8 different stops in the mine, stops that depict different eras in coal mining from the early 1900's to today. During the tour you'll learn about coal and how and why it came to exist; hear about the lives and motivations of the immigrant workers who peopled the mine shafts and coal machinery of history; see the innovations in safety and coal production as they developed over the decades; watch a modern, "continuous miner" in action as it harvests real coal from the mine.