The Ma & Pa Railroad Heritage Village and the Stewartstown Railroad are joining forces this summer to celebrate the heritage of short line railroads in southeastern York County. Starting on Sunday, July 9th, they will offer a reduced price combination ticket to visit and ride the trains at both railroads. Combination tickets purchased at either railroad will be honored at the other on any open day through Labor Day.
The Maryland & Pennsylvania Railroad, affectionately known as the Ma & Pa, began life as the narrow gauge Peach Bottom Railroad that connected York to Delta in the mid-1870s. The Stewartstown Railroad, often called “the farmer’s railroad” was constructed from New Freedom to Stewartstown in 1885. Before automobiles and paved roads, railroads like these were essential lifelines in rural areas. They were built with the enthusiastic backing of local people who bought railroad stock and often donated right of way to satisfy their longing for reliable transportation and access to broader markets for their agricultural products.
Today, the Stewartstown Railroad and the Ma & Pa Heritage Village are preserving the history of these short line railroads for a new generation.
The 130-year-old Stewartstown Railroad operates under its original corporate charter and its original line is intact. The historic station at Stewartstown is open to visitors and excursion trains are run over a portion of the line as volunteers continue work to rehabilitate additional track. New Freedom Special run the entire length of the line, from Stewartstown to New Freedom and return, once a month.
The Ma & Pa Heritage Village at Muddy Creek Forks is a museum that interprets the role of the railroad in life a century ago. Motorcar excursion trains run a 5.4 mile round trip through the scenic Muddy Creek Valley on the original Ma & Pa main line, and costumed docents welcome visitors to the A. M. Grove General Store, Muddy Creek Forks Roller Mills, grain elevator, and exhibits about the railroad and village. Two special events, the museum’s first ever Early American Auto Day on Sunday, July 16, and its popular World War II Encampment, Saturday, August 26, and Sunday, August 27, are among the days on which the combination tickets can be used.
“We’re very excited to be able to work with the Ma &Pa on this” said Dave Williamson, President of the Stewartstown Railroad. “York County has a rich railroad heritage, and we’re glad to be a part of it.”
According to Ma and Pa President Craig Sansonetti, “We look forward to being a part of this joint celebration. The Ma & Pa and the Stewartstown Railroad served the people of southern York County for more than a hundred years. An event like this gives them a good opportunity to ride our rail lines once again.”
Short Line Heritage combination tickets will sell for just $16 for adults and $14 for children at the railroad stations in Stewartstown and Muddy Creek Forks. Tickets are good for train rides at both sites. The Ma & Pa Heritage Village will be open from 1:00 to 5:00 PM every Sunday through Labor Day plus some special days. A full schedule is available at www.MaAndPaRailroad.com. For the operating schedule of the Stewartstown Railroad visit www.StewartstownRailroadCo.com.