Due to a problem with the originally scheduled program for October 21, the ERA made a last-minute program substitution. George Gula of the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum presented “The Laurel Line.” George’s presentation showed the line from Scranton to Wilkes-Barre as it existed in the early 1950s.
At the turn of the 20th Century, the densely populated Lackawanna and Wyoming Valleys were major producers of anthracite coal. Developers decided to build a successful electric railway to connect the towns from Carbondale south to Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, but quickly changed their plans to build a railroad capable of handling heavy coal trains as well as an intense passenger service. Construction of the line, powered by a third rail, saddled it with an enormous debt it was never able to get out from under. This show is a color photo tour of the line from Scranton to Wilkes-Barre as it existed in the early 1950s. The majority of the marvelous photos were taken by the premier photographer Edward S. Miller. So come trackside to relive the final years of the line, but don’t step on the third rail!
George Gula grew up in both Philadelphia and Scranton, developing his trolley interests at a young age in Philadelphia. After graduating from Penn State with a degree in business logistics, he spent his entire career working in the transit business, first in Scranton and then in Pittsburgh, where he worked from 1975 until his retirement in 2008. He joined the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum in 1975 and currently serves as a motorman and conductor. He also volunteers in the archives and gives outreach programs. He’s been writing for Trolley Fare, the museum’s member newsletter, since 1977.