Posts Tagged ‘Stewartstown Railroad’

Historic Pennsylvania Tunnel Reopened

June 30, 2021

A Pennsylvania tourist railroad has reopened a stretch of track that includes the Howard Tunnel near York.

The Northern Central Railway on June 26 ran its replica 4-4-0 steam locomotive to celebrate the occasion.

It was the first revenue service train to pass through the tunnel in more than two decades. The track is a former Pennsylvania Railroad line that once linked York with Baltimore.

Much of the route was abandoned by Penn Central after suffering severe damage by Hurricane Agnes in 1972.

Howard Tunnel is the third oldest railroad tunnel in the nation. Completed in 1838, the 370-foot bricked-lined tunnel is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The rail line itself was built in the 1830s. The segment between New Freedom and York was acquired by the state in order to preserve it.

There is a connection at New Freedom with the Stewartstown Railroad.

The 4-4-0 that ran last weekend was built by Kloke Locomotive Works.

Pa. Railroad Makes Caboose Accessible

January 21, 2021

Pennsylvania-based Stewartstown Railroad plans to transform a transfer caboose it has acquired into a handicap-accessible car for passengers.

The former Missouri-Kansas-Texas caboose will have large open platforms and bench seating at both ends.

Plans are to modify the car to provide wheelchair accessibility with either a ramp or lift.

Once a boxcar, the transfer caboose is expected to be ready for the 2021 season.

Flooding Damages Pa. Tourist Railroads

September 5, 2018

Flooding recently damaged a Pennsylvania-based tourist railroad, forcing the cancellation of Labor Day weekend activities.

Much of the damage occurred at the Muddy Creek Forks village museum of the Maryland & Pennsylvania Railroad.

The A.M. Grove general store, the flour mill and the museum shop building suffered water and mud damage.

Ties and lumber were carried away by the water and several pieces of rolling stock sustained water damage.

Flooding also damaged the tracks of the railroad with the worst damage occurring at Guinston Forge Road, where a 32-foot plate girder bridge was swept from its abutments.

The railroad is hoping to clean up as much damage as possible so it can continue with plans for its annual Heritage Day event on Sept. 22.

The flooding also affected the nearby Stewartstown Railroad, which saw track under water at least one location and mud and gravel deposited on the track near Shrewsbury.

CVSR Wins Grant to Restore Coach

May 15, 2018

The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad is among the winners of a grant from the Emery Rail Heritage Trust.

The CVSR will receive $10,000 for renovation of coach No. 162.

Other grant recipients included $30,000 to the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society for installation of positive train control on Nickel Plate Road No. 765 and $10,000 to the Michigan State Trust for Railway Preservation for coach window repairs.

Two Pennsylvania-based organizations also received grants including $10,000 to Friends of the Stewartstown Railroad for work on Reading Coach No. 1158 and $10,000 to the Colebrookdale Railroad Preservation Trust for an
ADA-compatible palace car restoration project.

The Trust awarded grants totaling $212,500 to 19 organizations, including three to help defray the cost of PTC systems.

John H. Emery, a long-time Chicago resident and avid railroad enthusiast who loved to ride trains, established the trust to preserve rolling stock and infrastructure from what he considered to be the Golden Age of Railroads from the 1920 to 1960.

Applications for the next round of grants are due in February 2019.

Organizations may receive grants in only three years of every five More information is available at

SW9 Donated to Pa. Tourist Railroad

March 22, 2018

A former Maryland & Pennsylvania SW9 has been donated to the Pennsylvania-based Stewartstown Railroad.

Friends of the Stewartstown Railroad, which arranged the donation, is seeking to start tourist train operations on the short line in south-central Pennsylvania.

The locomotive was donated by the York Railway Company, which operates over portions of the original “Ma & Pa.”

The diesel will be placed in storage for evaluation and repairs before being transferred to the Stewartstown.

No. 84 is a 1,200 horsepower unit built in September 1952 for the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie. It also worked on the Montour Railroad before being acquired by the Maryland & Pennsylvania.

The original Stewartstown Railroad ended operations in April 2004.

Pa. Tourist Railroads Offering Joint Ticketing

July 17, 2017

Two Pennsylvania tourist line railroads are offering discounted combination tickets for passengers who ride both lines during the summer.

The participating railroads are the Ma & Pa Railroad Heritage Village and the Stewartstown Railroad, both based in York County and a 20-minute drive apart.

The joint tickets are being issued to commemorate the heritage of both railroads, a practice that was once common in the Northeast.

The Maryland & Pennsylvania dates to 1870 and once connected York with Baltimore. The Stewartstown Railroad, known as “the farmers railroad,” was built in 1885 between Stewartstown and New Freedom.

The railroads noted in a statement that both carriers were in their early years backed by local residents who saw them as a lifeline to a wider world.

The Stewartstown continues to operate from its namesake city over a portion of its original 7.4-mile line.

Volunteers on a monthly basis operate track cars run over the line to New Freedom.

The Ma & Pa is based at Muddy Creek Forks and offers motorcar excursions over 5.4 miles of the original Ma & Pa main line.

Docents in period costumes offer tours of the A.M. Grove General Store, the roller mills, grain elevator, and exhibits about the railroad and its region.

Stewartstown Gets GE Center-Cab Locomotive

January 5, 2016

The Stewartstown Railroad in Pennsylvania has received on loan a GE center-cab locomotive that was built for the U.S. Navy in 1951.

It was presented to the railroad by Michael Ruane, a member of the railroad’s board of directors.

Originally assigned to a Navy facility in Shunaker, Arkansas, the locomotive, which had roster number 15, was for sale in South Bend, Indiana.

On the Stewartstown, it will become No. 12 and be painted into the carrier’s green-and-gold paint livery.

The Stewartstown also has a 35-ton Plymouth (No. 9) and  a 44-ton GE (No. 10).

No. 12 is expected to enter tourist train service over the 7.4-mile railroad.

Fund Drive Started to Move Caboose

July 30, 2015

A Pennsylvania short line has launched a GoFundMe drive to pay for moving a caboose out of an industrial park in Baltimore.

The Stewartstown Railroad wants to move the former Union Pacific caboose No. 25623 by truck to Stewartstown, Pennsylvania.

Moving the caboose, which is currently sitting on a short piece of panel track, will cost an estimated $14,000.

Backers of the project have raised half of this amount thus far.

The caboose is currently on the property of at Waco Products in Baltimore.

To make a donation to the “Blue Caboose Fund,” go to

Stewartstown RR Carries 1st Patrons since 2004

May 12, 2015

The Pennsylvania-based Stewartstown Railroad celebrated National Train Day on Saturday with its first passenger operation since 2004.

A Plymouth locomotive and caboose traveled a half-mile with a handful of passengers.

The railroad’s 35-ton Plymouth No. 9, nicknamed Mighty Mo, and a Pennsylvania Railroad caboose are being used in passenger service until a former Reading coach is ready for use later this year.

Workers have placed new ties on the first half-mile of track west of Stewartstown. The installation of additional ties is planned.

Excursion service on the 130-year-old railroad was suspended in 2004 after an Easter train derailed a few miles outside town

The Stewartstown Railroad extends for 7.4 miles from Stewartstown to New Freedom, where it interchanged freight with the Pennsylvania Railroad.

The full schedule of both train and motorcar operations can be found at

Stewartstown Railroad to Offer Excursion Trains

March 13, 2015

The Stewartown Railroad in south central Pennsylvania will offer tourist train service this year, starting on Mother’s Day weekend (May 9-10)

The railroad, which dates to 1884, will offer its first passenger service over the line since 2004.

In addition to Mother’s Day Weekend, trips are planned for holidays and special events, including Independence Day, fall foliage outings, Halloween and Christmas.

Initially the locomotive may just pull a caboose for passengers, but the railroad is working to ready a 1920s-era Reading coach for the trips.

Company directors and volunteers have been working over the past five years to rebuild the railroad, which came close to being abandoned, and have about a mile of track ready for the excursion service.

Members of the affiliated Friends of the Stewartstown Railroad have been replacing ties and cutting brush, and will continue to work on repairing the track in  hopes of expanding the length of the ride later this year.

Following lengthy and at time difficult negotiations with the estate of the late George M. Hart, the Stewartstown Railroad was able to reach a settlement that allowed it to continue operations of the 7.4-mile railroad.

For more information, go to