RAILCAR GOLD Chapter 18 . . David . . Part 3
RAILCAR GOLD is a historically accurate multi-generational fictional tale of hidden treasure, primarily set in York County, Pennsylvania during the latter half of the Nineteenth Century. This is Part 3 of Chapter 18 . . . David. A new part will be posted every Thursday. Recent chapters stand alone, starting here; however new readers may want to start at the beginning.
CHAPTER 18 . . . DAVID . . . Part 3
Dan lamented to John Small, “It’s a shame David Small never lived to see the completion of his “showcase narrow gauge railway,” from York to Baltimore, via Delta. John commented, “Sometimes I wonder if the Maryland end of that railway will ever get finished. We may have a better chance of taking a narrow gauge journey to Philadelphia, especially with the York and Peach Bottom Railway, at long last, nearing the Susquehanna River. Do you remember how David was always talking-up a York-Delta-Columbia-then-home triangular-trip as a fine weekend excursion?”
Several weeks later, upon seeing an article in the April 21st, 1883 issue of The Evening Dispatch, a group from Billmeyer & Small was already planning such a triangular-excursion in remembrance of David Small.
The Y. & P. B. Railway.
The work of extending the York & Peach Bottom railway to the river is nearly completed. The track is now laid to within a few hundred yards of the river, and the large cut at Peach Bottom is almost finished.
In a short time the road will be finished to the river, and then we shall probably have a number of fishing excursions during the bass season. A trip from York to Peach Bottom, thence across the river [via ferry], and up the Columbia & Port Deposit road to Columbia and thence home to York in the evening, will make one of the finest and most attractive excursions, for varied picturesque and beautiful scenery to be had anywhere in the country. It will be a trip well worth the time and expense.
As David Small had predicted, this triangular-excursion proved to be very successful. The large influx of weekend passengers even initiated a ferry fare-war at Peach Bottom. The York & Peach Bottom Railway Company, who owned the lower ferry, eventually got the upper hand over the competing upper ferry; operated by McConkey & Burke.
After the passing of David Small, his brother John Small took up David’s fervor and became keenly involved in the Maryland Central Railroad. Following delay, upon delay, John was delighted when the rails and the first train finally reach Bel Air on June 20th, 1883.
However rails stretching from Baltimore to Bel Air did not dispel the rumors that Bel Air would be the end of the line. John Small was glad when word was received, that, at long last, a contract had been awarded for the completion of the narrow gauge railroad to Delta. The Delta Herald issue of July 6, 1883 printed the announcement:
The Baltimore Sun of Tuesday says—“Mr. Wm. H. Waters, president, and other officials yesterday, on behalf of the Maryland Central Company, contracted with the McCabe Bros. for the construction of the road from Bel Air to Delta. Work will be pushed vigorously from both ends. The company have ordered two new passenger engines, which will be placed upon the road as soon as the Baldwin works can furnish them.”
The Maryland Central Railroad used a technique that had proven itself with the building of the Trans-Continental Railroad; competition. Starting at both ends, Delta and Bel Air, road-building and track-laying workmen worked feverishly towards the competing groups of workmen. Both groups were anxious to prove they were the best as they strove to lay the greater quantity of rail.
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