York Town Square

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Ma & Pa rabbit trains: ‘I hope they thoroughly hosed out the cars.’

In 2005, East Hopewell’s Muddy Creek Forks celebrated an original engine that ran on the Ma & Pa Railroad many years ago during its Railroad Heritage Day celebration Sept. 24. Locomotives like No. 82 pulled rabbit trains for hunters loaded for game. For details on the locomotive or the railroad line, see www.maandparailroad.com. Background post: Railroading: ‘It’s something that gets in your blood.’
Fellow history blogger June Lloyd is doing a wonderful job over at Universal York spinning yarns about York’s past.
And these yarns have meaning.
In one post, titled Hermits and rabbits she tells about the twice-a-year visit to York by a hermit – Joel Strong – to restore his stash of tobacco.

June conjectured he might have lived partly on rabbits because they were abundant in those days.
In fact, an accompanying story tells about a Ma & Pa Railroad excursion to the county’s southeast section that was overrun with rabbits at that time.
It was interesting in that a rabbit train would be filled in these pre-auto days – the days when mass transportation was in steady use in even rural areas such as York County.
No more, though one can see a day that the county’s network of rail trails will be filled with commuters on bicycles.
Anyway, as June writes with a wry scrawl of her pen:

“It does, however, conjure up an interesting picture of the returning train filled with dead rabbits and hunters who had been tramping the woods the whole day. I hope they thoroughly hosed out the cars.”