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The restoration, maintenance and operation of classic trains is a labor of love.  Steam engines can be kept in certifiable operating condition only with many hours of hard, greasy work.

Coaches also have to be inspected for air brakes and sound mechanical condition.

We run tourist trains with as many as twelve members.  They are ALL volunteers.

What's in it for them?  All this hard work creates an opportunity - the chance to run an authentic, classic steam train.

What gets someone out of bed at 5am on a Saturday morning to shovel coal all day on a hot steam engine when the air temperature is 92 degrees?

Why does a rational adult volunteer to dress up in a conductor uniform and tell stories all day?

What draws a student to an activity with no grade credit, pay or recognition?
When normal people are taking their Saturdays off, why would an educated professional spend his Saturday in training classes for train crew certification as a volunteer?

There is only one answer:

"A Love of Trains"

In this section, we will introduce you to the hard working volunteers of the Laurel Highlands Railroad.


HAL HARKNESS owner of the LHRR, he spent long, hard hours renovating the #7 Highlander steam engine and started this railroad 5 years ago.  He is also the main engineer.

JOHN CLUTTER a fireman and student engineer comes all the way from Mars,PA to volunteer for this railroad.  He sometimes can also be seen during the week working on the engine.  His wife Chris is sometimes seen working in the station.

HOWARD BOHNERT a fireman and student engineer also from Mars, PA.  His wife Terri and daughter Becca are frequent visitors to the railroad.

JOHN HENRY ZITRICK a fireman and mechanic.  He is also sometimes seen during the week working on the steam engine.

JOE BARAN restored and owns the two cabooses used by the LHRR, loves trains and works often as a Trainman, a Flagman, or a conductor.  Joe collects REAL trains.

JIM MOONEY a fireman and student engineer.  He is currently organizing some of the pre-season training.  Jim is also a member of the Advisory Group for the Laurel Mountain Ski Resort.

JIM COOK works as a conductor and fireman and will start conductor training with CSX later this year.  Jim is following a family tradition of railroad men.

JIM SNYDER a conductor, flagman, and trainman, he is a serious railfan he has a strong interest in vintage coaches and their preservation.  He has an impressive collection of books, photos and collectibles about passenger trains.

VAUGHN NEIL is a civil engineer who works professionally as a designer of railroad trackage.  He works as a dress conductor at LHRR.  Vaughn is also active with the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum.

FLOYD CORBIN joined the crew in 1999 and has worked as a fireman.  In his real life, he is a truck driver.

ALLAN BLUMAN is a dedicated railfan and a regular dress conductor.  He keeps the passengers entertained with many stories and narratives.  He recently acquired and restored a vintage caboose.  Allan works for Fox News in Pittsburgh.

JOYCE OHLER is our station agent and general organizer.  She makes the arrangements for our entire annual schedule of trains and performs every other duty that the macho crew dudes don't take care of.  A Scottdale resident along with her husband Jim and two sons Jimmy and Jeremy.  They have given much to the LHRR.  She along with Jimmy, Jeremy, Jennifer, and Hannah were part of a local youth group that started the gift shop and concessions stand 5 years ago from a canapee.

JEREMY OHLER is a trainman, and was a flagman a couple years ago.  He also helps out his mother Joyce and works in the train station.  He currently works at Carson's Tavern in Scottdale.

JIMMY OHLER also helps out his mother Joyce and brother Jeremy in the station.

RICK MAKOSKY is a local high school student.  He is attending classroom training in preparation for a future assignment as a trainman.  Rick is the one who is quietly absorbing everything he sees.

JAMES THOMPSON is a retired track crew foreman.  For three years, James offered his own historical commentary for LHRR passengers on the train.  We salute James with several whistle blasts as the train passes his home near the Alverton grade crossing.

JENNIFER BARTLEY has been one of our regular car hostesses.   She will attend Boyd School-A division of Pittsburgh Technical Institute for Travel and Tourism training.

HANNAH GEARHART along with Jennifer has been one of our regular car hostesses.  They were the very first along with Joyce to sell concessions and gifts on the train.

SHANNA DOWNS is working as a car hostess and is also working in the station.

ERICA COLE works as a car hostess and in counter sales.

BRUCE SWANK works inside the station with concessions and tickets.

NICOLE SWANK works inside the station with concessions and tickets.

HENRY SWANK works inside the station with concessions and tickets.

"What are normal people doing right now?"

If you would like to become a volunteer and be a part of the train crew:
write to: Laurel Highlands Railroad   or call:(724)887-4568
              25 South Broadway                                    or
              Scottdale, PA 15683                       1-888-STEAMIN

Or just   Subject: New Volunteer

A background in railroading is NOT necessary.  We will train you.
We MAINLY need volunteers as:
Car Host or Hostess
Counter Sales
Fireman(Steam or Diesel)
Dress Conductor

Children 18 years and under MUST have their parents permission.
Volunteers as Trainman, Mechanic, Fireman, or Dress Conductor MUST be at least 16 years of age.