York Town Square

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Ma & Pa Railroad, Muddy Creek Forks draw fans

The Ma & Pa Railroad wound 77 miles through 476 curves between York and Baltimore for about 90 years.
The first part of the Maryland and Pennsylvania line was chartered in 1867 and freight and passenger service ended in the 1950s. Rolling stock chugs along parts of the old line.
The Ma & Pa took a back seat in notoriety to the better known, straighter Northern Central Railroad. In fact, it still does with the rail trail following the old Northern Central line through the county’s heart. That is not true of model railroaders. The railroad is said to be the most popular among this group than any other in the eastern United States.
And the Ma and Pa Railroad Preservation Society is doing its best to keep memories of the Ma and Pa alive, with activities focusing on Muddy Creek Forks.

The Historic Village of Muddy Creek Forks was an important commercial transportation hub for York County at the beginning of the 20th century, explained Pete Tinsley, a volunteer docent who gives tours of the granary and mill. It was part of the industrial complex that also featured a cannery, general mercantile store, post office and telegraph office.
Now restored and preserved by the Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad Preservation Society, in conjunction with the preservation authority created by the York County Commissioners, the nonprofit park offers guided tours of the historic buildings, train rides, self-guided walking tours and picnic areas.
Pete Riecks, a docent at the A.M. Grove general store, built in 1900, said the village has been restored to its 1914 appearance. The site offers a scenic 5-mile train trip through Muddy Creek Valley, tours of the general store and 1890 Muddy Creek Forks Roller Mill and grain elevator; walking tours of the village and visits with costumed interpreters and static historical displays.
The operating schedule for the remainder of the year is:
– 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays through Sept. 4. The last train ride of the day leaves the station at 4:15 p.m. and returns about one-half hour later. Tickets for the train ride are $5 for adults and $3 for children. Since trains are open to the elements, operations are subject to weather conditions.
– Railroad Heritage Day is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 23. The events feature train rides, trackwork demonstrations, slide shows, locomotive and caboose tours, entertainment, food and children activities, along with guided tours.
– Fall leaf excursions are offered 1 to 5 p.m. Oct. 15 and 22.
For more information, visit www.MaAndPaRailroad.com.
For those who want even more, see George W. Hilton’s authoritative book “The Ma and Pa:” www.press.jhu.edu.
With this, we’re continuing the series of unsung places in York County. The previous list (See posts under York Town Square archives):
— The Little Courthouse
— Prospect Hill Cemetery
— War Mothers Memorial
— Work War II USO at former York County Academy gymnasium
— York’s Salem Square soldiers monument
— York’s Cookes House
— York’s rowhouses
— Wrightsville’s monuments
— The Columbia-Wrightsville Bridge
— Memorial trees along highways Route 30 & Susquehanna Trail.
— The Inches
— Camp Stewartstown
— The Wrightsville Bridge supports
— New York Wire Co.’s factory whistle
— Mary Ann Furnace
— York’s Hartman Building
— Hanover’s Iron Mike and The Picket
— York’s Eberts Lane
— Helen Reeves Thackston Memorial Park
— WW II defense worker housing
— Shiloh’s former town square
— Loucks one-room school
— Red Lion’s Fairmount Park
— Carlisle Avenue Market House
— York’s Fairmount Neighborhood