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Engines such as York #17 pulled York Built Railcars

Steam Into History Train in New Freedom, PA (2013 Photo, S. H. Smith)
Steam Into History Train in New Freedom, PA (2013 Photo, S. H. Smith)

On Saturday June 8th 2013 at 10:30 a.m. in the Historical Society Museum, 250 East Market Street, York, PA, I’ll be giving a free lecture on 19th Century Railway Car Builders of York.  This talk is part of the Second Saturdays series of lectures at the York County Heritage Trust.

Spearheading York’s industrial rise, local railcar manufacturers shipped product all over the United States and exported to foreign countries.  During the industry’s heyday of the 1870s and 1880s, discover how the area’s railcar makers influenced the route of the Peach Bottom Railway, the predecessor to the well-known Ma & Pa Railroad.

Steam Into History’s York #17 is a 1860s era replica steam engine.  With all the locally built railcars in that era, there were probably a few (or possibly all) York built railcars in every train.

The first York built rail cars were produced in 1847; by 1852 there were three York rail car manufacturers.  The York Gazetteer and Business Directory for 1856 noted:

Over 1,000 cars of different capacities were turned out, by these three factories during the past year. … Who will say that York is not the place for building cars?

 

 

On Wednesday my post closed with an article written by a Fireman on the Northern Central Railroad for the December 1873 Issue of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers’ Monthly Journal.  He boasted, “if they want to see some fast running let them come over on the Northern Central and take a ride on some of our passenger trains; for instance, let them take a ride on engine 133, with Amos Reed, or on engine 17, with Tom Duncan, or on engine 122, with Will Cross.”

I know the Rogers 4-4-0 Steam Locomotives, of which the York #17 is a copy, were normally run at 15 mph, with short bursts to 25 mph.  I wondered if the Northern Central engine 17, in 1873, was a later Rogers, since they were known as a maker of fast engines. I was not successful in locating an early copy of Northern Central’s roster of Engines, however did locate the following noteworthy fact about Northern Central engine 17 in 1870.

Parts of Two pages from the 1870 Annual Report of the Northern Central Railway Company
Parts of Two pages from the 1870 Annual Report of the Northern Central Railway Company

These are parts of two pages from the 1870 Annual Report of the Northern Central Railway Company.  Engine 17 ran the greatest mileage for the Northern Central that year.  It operated on the Main Line running between Baltimore and Sunbury; and naturally passing through York County.

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