Universal York

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York, Dallastown, Red Lion, Windsor and Bittersville Trolley Line

First trolley in Red Lion
I’m a bit too young to remember the trolleys, but there are still a lot of people around in York County that do remember when it was easy to get around on the various York Railways lines that fanned out from York. An example is my almost 97-year old mother-in-law. In the 1930s she rode the trolley from Red Lion to her job at Peoples Drug Store in York. Sometimes she took fresh eggs from her parents’ small Chanceford Township farm along to York on the trolley car.
See below for a description of the line from York through Spry, Dallastown, Red Lion and Windsor to Bittersville. That’s the line on which the 1905 accident, the subject of my recent post, occurred. The line opened from York to Dallastown in July 1901 and then on to Red Lion and Windsor in the spring of 1902. It was extended to Bittersville a couple of years later.
Why didn’t the line just end at Windsor, which had quite a few cigar factories, instead continuing on to the very small village of Bittersville? Bittersville had a mill. I believe it also had a cigar factory. Both of those would have needed transportation for workers and supplied some freight, but the main reason for extending the line was that a further extension was planned to Long Level. That could have been a major recreation destination, but the expansion was never completed.

Dallastown, Red Lion and Windsor Line

This line starts southward from the Square and bearing southeastward, passes through a series of busy villages and borough, including Spry, Dallastown, Red Lion, Windsor and Bittersville. The principal occupation of these towns is the manufacture of cigars. The frequency and speed of passenger and express service and the freight delivery at the very door enable the trolley to render a service of much greater value than can be furnished by steam transportation. This line passes over the highest elevation in the county, and the several ridges which it crosses afford a beautiful view of this fertile country. Green all through the year, owing to the winter wheat, and dotted with neat and well painted farm houses, its appearance speaks of prosperity and comfort. The hills are crowned by patches of timber, beautiful in the spring and summer with the changing shades of green, and even more so when the frost touches the hills with hues of yellow and red, toning in the distance into those indescribable shades of purple which must be seen to be appreciated.
The farms traversed are veritable gardens, intensely cultivated, their products forming an important portion of the city’s food supply; the trio of towns at the southern terminus are bustling boroughs, with modern facilities and conveniences for manufacture, business and residential purposes; and the proximity of these towns and farms to the city has induced many who toil daily in the county’s metropolis to seek homes in the territory along the line.

Click the links below for more on York County trolley lines:
Part of Hanover line to be used as rail trail.
Progessive dinner on Hanover line.
See a restored York Railways car at York County Heritage Trust’s Agricultural and Industrial Museum
Police chase chicken thieves by trolley car.