Name the Two Years marked by 150th Anniversary Observations by a Steam Train Excursion to Hanover Junction
The launch of Steam Into History, Inc. operations on the Northern Central Railway in Southern York County coincides with the 150th Anniversary Observations of the Battle of Gettysburg and Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. When the Civil War-era replica steam engine, York No. 17, starts pulling excursion trains between New Freedom and Hanover Junction next month, it will be the second 150th anniversary observation by a steam train excursion to Hanover Junction.
The photo shows the Pennsylvania Railroad K-4s #1361 Steam Engine pulling eight passenger cars. This excursion train is arriving at Hanover Junction on Saturday August 27, 1988 after a journey on the Northern Central Railway from downtown York. Yes, that is the Hanover Junction Railroad Station before it was restored.
The 1988 railroad excursion marked 150-years of railroad service to York, PA and effectively the 150th Anniversary of the Northern Central Railway. The railway between Baltimore and York is one of the oldest in the country. In 1838 the York and Maryland Line Railroad was completed, which connected to the Baltimore and Susquehanna Railroad, allowing first train travel between York and Baltimore. This section became the backbone of the Northern Central Railroad during the Civil War.
In 1852 the Hanover Branch Railroad opened from Hanover Junction to the Hanover. In 1855 the railroad to York and various railroad companies running north from York (except the Hanover Branch Railroad) were consolidated as the Northern Central Railway Company. In 1861 The Pennsylvania Railroad acquired a controlling interest in the Northern Central, thereafter it operated as a subsidiary of the Pennsylvania Railroad.
The York 150 Year Railroad Excursions were organized by the York Area Chamber of Commerce. It was a major achievement in getting the Pennsylvania Railroad K-4s #1361 Steam Engine for the three days of excursions.
The K-4s were the workhorses of the Pennsylvania Railroad. Shrewsbury historian Frank Wrabel noted in the York Sunday News article of August 28, 1988:
There’s a lot of romance to that train, with the cloudy puffs of smoke and the loud whistle. There were 425 of them at one time. Now, only two remain – and this is the only one that’s operable.
The York Sunday News article of August 28, 1988 contained this short history on the #1361 Steam Engine:
K-4 was built in 1917 in Altoona and hauled passengers and freight for more than four decades before it was phased out in the 1950s by the more powerful diesel engines. The locomotive was placed at Horseshoe Curve, near Altoona, where it was displayed for about 30 years. It was put back in service for tour excursions after an extensive $250,000 restoration last year.
Unfortunately the above ticket stub is from the collections of the York County Heritage Trust. If I had not been on vacation elsewhere in the country, I would have been on that train.
Related posts include:Reading the Headlines: A Quick Index to All YorksPast Posts