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York County’s 3 rail excursion experiences: Can we sustain them?

A flagman guides a train car across a road in Stewartstown near the station.  Paul Kuehnel - Daily Record/Sunday News

The Stewartstown Railroad opened its station and offered motorcar rides earlier this month. The railroad will do so gain today, weather permitting. It is one of three railroads in York County to offer excursion rides of some type. Also of interest: What it was like aboard the Stewartstown Railroad.

The York Daily Record’s Paul Kuehnel has captured all kinds of scenes around York County in his 30 years as photographer.

So he put together an interesting fact about York County after photographing an open house at Stewartstown Railroad recently.

He noted three railroad excursions operate in York County: the Stewartstown Railroad, Ma & Pa Railroad at Muddy Creek Forks and Steam into History on the old Northern Central. All of York County major railroad lines are represented except for the Western Maryland line.

Stewartstown’s use of motorcars, or speeders, is a niche service not always offered excursion railroads.

“What I have always liked about living here, plenty of people who want to preserve and share living history with others,” Paul wrote.

All these excursions are offered even though York County was not a railroad center in the mode of Harrisburg or Altoona.

York County, indeed, loves its history.

The question is always there: Can we sustain all our sites – including our three rail lines – that tell us about it?

Steam into History offers excursion service on the old Northern Central Railway line between New Freedom and Hanover Junction. Here, a second re-created steam locomotive came in to reenact the joining of the transcontinental railroad. Also of interest: Steam into History is steaming into history.

A restored village at southeastern York County’s Muddy Creek Forks on the Ma & Pa Railroad is the place where riders get on and off excursion service there. Also of interest: Muddy Creek Forks, before and after.


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