Universal York

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Back in Time with the Ma & Pa Railroad

Muddy Creek Forks store and station
Today I went back about a century just by traveling a few miles into southeastern York County. For years I have been meaning to get down to Muddy Creek Forks on a Sunday afternoon. That is when the Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad Preservation Society (popularly known as the Ma and Pa) has it country store and old mill museums open and offers train rides along the restored track. I’ve even written several posts about incidents along the Ma and Pa and its predecessors, the Peach Bottom Railway and York Southern Railroad, but never travelled the tracks myself. Today I did it!
Previous connected posts: York’s Bullfrog Alley. The rabbit train. Passengers stranded at High Rock. From Springvale to Florida.

Whizzing along the tracks
It was great. The temperature was around 90 degrees, but the open cars moved along at a nice breeze-creating clip through the shady woods along the wide creek. A fishing family waved and a blue heron glided along, also following the waterway.
The journey, about two and a half miles each way, travels through High Rock, a former station site, almost to Laurel, which would have been the next station. The completely volunteer organization plans to continue the track on to Laurel and would welcome more volunteers to help complete that tedious, but rewarding, task. A fast-paced slide show on the Ma and Pa website shows the track-laying crew in action. Check it out–you might want to join in the next time. According to the fascinating history on the Ma & Pa Preservation Society website, the society owns the whole eight miles between Laurel and Bridgeton, so the excursion could some day be substantially longer.
The village store and mill are open for free from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m Sunday in the summer, with some fall dates. The mill retains much of its original equipment and volunteers explain the operation processes.

Mill at Muddy Creek Forks
The general store museum shelves are stocked with antique goods, showing what would have been available there over its many decades of operation. Other sections of the store building served the village as post office, telephone exchange and train station, where you can purchase your very reasonable (adults $5, children $3) tickets for the ride along the rails. You can even purchase snacks, such as Utz potato chips, drinks and candy reminiscent of the past (at least my past).
I’ve been at a number of far away attractions that offered less value for more money, so I’m glad I finally took advantage of this opportunity to enjoy a gem in my proverbial back yard. Even if you can’t volunteer, you can help by becoming a member. Memberships start at a very reasonable $25, and membership forms can be printed out from the website.

Muddy Creek being muddy