Memories of trains, plus a Christmas surprise
Merry Christmas to those celebrating! Today, in honor of holiday travel, I’d like to share a couple of memories about trains in York County, and then I have something else fun in the spirit of the season, hinted at by the photo above.
Reader Bud Rodgers had previously written to me about the Valencia Ballroom and train stations in York.
After I shared that, I heard from Roy Flinchbaugh, who wrote, “My sister went to the Valencia, but I was a bit young. However, I could go to Julius Music House on W. Market St. and meet the band leaders and get their autographs. Foolish youngster that I was, I later discarded these autographs. You wrote of the York RR Station. I remember taking the train from there to go to Harrisburg with my Mother, and later I took the train to Chicago and from there to Wisconsin. I had what was called a ‘roomette’ for overnight accommodation. Also, during the War (WWII, that is) My mother and I (Dad was working) went to the station to see the President and Mrs. Roosevelt with the King and Queen of England and their two daughters when their train stopped briefly at York, and they came out on the rear platform (I don’t know what that’s called on a train) and waved to the crowd of Yorkers assembled there.”
That’s an awesome train memory, Roy!
Regarding the history of passenger train travel to and from York, I received some information from Ivan Frantz Jr., who is past president of the Pennsylvania Railroad Technical and Historical Society. He noted, “The last regularly scheduled passenger train to stop in York was Penn Central train #548 on the morning of May 1st, 1971. This was the train connection to Baltimore and Washington from Harrisburg for Penn Central train #48, the Chicago to New York ‘Broadway Limited.’ The train consisted of an EMD model E8 locomotive and a single passenger coach. This was the last train because on that day railroad passenger service for all railroads in the U.S. (except the Southern and Rio Grande) was turned over to the new government service of AMTRAK. Please note that this is a little more than a year before tropical storm Agnes damaged the Northern Central Railway line between York and Baltimore in June of 1972. After May 1st, 1971 the Penn Central still continued freight service to New Freedom and Baltimore until the line was damaged by Agnes. After May 1st, 1971 AMTRAK did still have a connecting train to Washington for some time, but it went from Harrisburg down the east bank of the Susquehanna River through Columbia to Perryville and then on to Washington.”
Thank you for those details, Ivan!
Christmas pin surprise
When we talked about York County Christmas traditions like “Hide the Line” earlier this year, reader Barbara Roth mentioned that she recalled seeing Santa Claus in the basement of The Bon-Ton at Christmas, and then receiving a badge with Santa’s picture and the store’s name on it afterward. She no longer had hers, but wondered if others did or remembered them.
Well, in good news, Barbara, a reader named Dot Lesh said she has an extra one of those pins from around 1960. If you’d email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, she’d love to share that with you!
For the rest of us, you’re in luck, because some other readers had photos of these pins to share so we can all enjoy them!
Roger Fuller of Yoe emailed pictures of not one but two downtown department stores’ Christmas pins! You can see those above and below.
And reader Jean Doll visited the YDR’s offices one day earlier this year to share her photo, which community news coordinator Skye Leppo kindly photographed for me! (I don’t work in the office, so I’m not able to receive visitors!) Jean didn’t remember what year her pin was from, and it looks slightly different than the one shared by Roger, but it was excellent to get a chance to be able to show one off!