Railroad Memorial Park, Ridgely, Maryland


The small town of Ridgely, Maryland located east of the Chesapeake Bay on the Delmarva Peninsula was a town that was once supposed to be a major city like Washington D.C., New York City or Los Angeles.  How was this going to happen?  The railroad was expanding through the peninsula.  With the railroad ferry connecting the town of Cape Charles, Virginia (at the southern tip of the peninsula) to the ports of Norfolk, regular rail service was bringing rail service between Norfolk, Virginia and Philadelphia and New York City.  Spur lines were connecting the towns to this main line.  Among these small towns was the town of Ridgely.  When the railroad came to town, local farmers brought their produce to the train station.  They were loaded onto the train and transported to Norfolk, Philadelphia, New York City, and points beyond.  The town experienced a big boom with the railroad.  Along with freight, passenger service came to the town.  Factories sprung up because of railroad service.  Ridgely was on its way to be as big as New York City, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia or… not.  Passenger service ended in 1949 with the promise to expand freight service.  Business and factories began to decline making less use of the railroad.  Conrail, the last owner of the rail line, ceased all service in 1976.  The railroad left Ridgely, and Ridgely was no longer a railroad town.  With the railroad gone, the town was just a simple town in the Eastern Shore region of Maryland.


What was to be with this town now that the railroad is long gone?  The answer began back in the 1930’s.


A local community group organized a memorial park in memory of those who fought in the American Civil War, Spanish American War and World War I.  (Memorial Park was not the original name.)  The park was established along the railroad line which was still in service at the time.  Sadly, the park went into decline in the later part of that decade.  With the railroad line being abandoned, the idea for a memorial park resurfaced.  This one would commemorate what the railroad did for the town.


Welcome to the Railroad Memorial Park in Ridgely, Maryland.  The park runs along the original rail line which is now a rail trail.  It consists of an old telephone office which now service as a tourist information center, a Reading Caboose, the old train station and the original water trough used for horses to drink as they pulled the wagons from the farms to the train station.  (The train station at the park was not the original depot.  The original depot was east of the main road and was destroyed by fire.)  Even though the park is quiet, you can get a feel of the railroad passing through.  Although the railroad left the town of Ridgely, the town of Ridgely never left the railroad.  The railroad still lives in Ridgely.


The Railroad Memorial Park is in the town of Ridgely, Maryland on the north side of the town center on Center Street (Maryland Route 312).  The train station has an open house on the first Saturday of each month from March to October from 10:00am to 2:00pm.  The open houses are hosted by the Ridgely Historical Society (http://ridgelyhistoricalsociety.com/), an all-volunteer organization and a chapter of the Caroline County Historical Society (http://carolinehistory.org/) who have gone through great efforts to keep the memory of Ridgely as a railroad town alive.  The park is open twenty-four hours a day, and parking is on the street.  Admission to the open house is free, but they gladly accept donations to help pay for expenses to keep the train station and park maintained.  The website also has links to read about the rich history of the town.


As for the rail line that passed through the town of Ridgely, you can view remnants of the line south of the town as it parallels Maryland Route 309 between Maryland Route 404 and U.S. Route 50.  The grade crossing on U.S. Route 50 at Maryland Route 322 was paved over, but you can still see the old tracks on either side of the highway.  The tracks crossed Maryland Route 404 by a bridge.  The bridge was destroyed to make room for the widening of Maryland Route 404.  As you drive on Maryland Route 404 east of Maryland Route 309, you can see the old embankments on each side where the railroad crossed the highway.


Today, Ridgely, Maryland is a quiet town.  It gets occasional visitors like Richard Petty.  Yes, that Richard Petty, the one that drove race cars for a living.  A picture of his visit is inside the train station, and it can be viewed during the open house.  As for today, it is a quiet town.  Back in its time, it was everything but quiet.  On second thought, maybe it is not a quiet town after all as the ghosts of the railroad roars loud.




The  two  vintage  photos  of  Ridgely  are  courtesy  of  the  great  people  of  the  Ridgely  Historical  Society  and  the  Caroline  County  Historical  Society  and  are  being  used  in  this  article  with  their  permission.

Train Station Museum, Everett, Pennsylvania


Everett, Pennsylvania is a small town in the south-central part of the state.  It was laid out in 1795 by a man named Michael Barndollar and originally named after the stream.  It was renamed Everett in honor of Edward Everett who was a statesman and orator.  It is a small on the Lincoln Highway.  (U.S. 30 bypasses the town.  Business U.S. 30 follows the original route.)  The town does not have much fame although the famous novelist Dean Koontz was born here.  It was the site of the Battle of Bloody Run in 1760, a massacre that took place at a small stream that runs through the town.  It is the home of two Medal of Honor recipients Ellis Weicht who fought in World War II and Sargent Robert Hocksock who fought in the Vietnam War.  If that is not enough for you, the Everett Cemetery has 152 gravesites of men who fought in the American Civil War.


So, is there any reason for a railroad fan to visit Everett, Pennsylvania?  Yes, there is.


Everett was once served by the Huntingdon and Broad Top Railroad.  The town of Everett is where the Everett Railroad which now has its operations near Altoona gets its name.  The part of the rail line is that served the town is now the H&BT Rail Trail.  The railroad no longer serves the town, but the old passenger train depot and freight house remain.  The station and freight house where moved from their original locations to where there are today.  Today, it is the home of the Everett Train Station Museum.


What is the Everett Train Station Museum?  Of course, it is an old train station and freight house plus a caboose and steam locomotive.  It is a collection of artifacts of the town of Everett to include the history of the railroad in the town.  There is even a model train display.  Even if you are not from Everett or from the region, you will appreciate this museum.  (Some of the old railroad bed can be seen from the museum and from Pennsylvania Route 26 North.)


The Everett Train Station Museum is run by the Bloody Run Historical Society which strives to preserve the history of Everett, and they go through great efforts to honor their military veterans from the town with the Military Hall of Fame.  The museum is located at 49 West 5th Street just off Pennsylvania Route 26 north of the town center and south of U.S. 30.  It is open from April to October from 11:00am to 4:00pm.  Parking is available at the museum.  Admission is free, but they will appreciate any donation you give to help keep the museum running for generations to come.  You can learn more about the museum at http://www.bloodyrunhistory.org/.


Now you have a reason to visit the town of Everett, Pennsylvania.  If you are in the region, take a drive through the town.  They would love to see you.



The  vintage  photo  are  the  property  of  the  Bloody  Run  Historical  Society  and  are  being  used  in  the  article  by  permission  of  the  society.

The Tour-Ed Mine and Museum, Tarentum, Pennsylvania


You arrive.  You put on your hard hat.  You sit down at the safety meeting where you are given a briefing for the safety measures for the day.  Once the briefing is completed, you then proceed to the mine train that will take you to where you will be working for the day.  You walk through the mine removing coal from the different veins.  When the day is done, you get aboard the mine train, and you ride to the surface.  You step the train and remove your hard hat.  The boss says, “I hope that you enjoyed your tour of the Tour-Ed Mine.  Please come back.”


Some of you have just fallen out of your seat.


Welcome to the Tour-Ed Mine and Museum.  Be advised.  This is not your typical mine tour.  You will feel like you are in a mine as soon as you leave the parking lot.  You enter a replica mine town where you see cabins, and you can even visit the post office.  You pay your admission, and then you are taken to the safety briefing room where you get a safety briefing plus the history of the mine and how mining is done.  Once the briefing is done, you get your hard hat, and you get aboard the train.  You go into the mine.


Some of you are saying, “I know the story.  You go to different parts of the mine and they tell you that they mined coal here and they mined coal there.  I have heard the story many times before.”


As mentioned, this is not your typical mine tour.  You will see the places where the miners did their mining, and you will watch as they use the machinery.  Yes, you will see the machinery that was used to mine the coal, and you will see the machinery in action.  Oh, you will quickly learn how noisy the life of a miner was.  You will want to watch for those low ceilings.


The original name of the mine was the Avenue Mine, but it was later called the Tour-Ed Mine.  (The origin of the two names are unknown.)  The mine was decommissioned in the 1960’s and was opened as a tour mine in 1970.  A tour of the Tour-Ed Mine is set up in a way where you will experience the day of a mine worker from the time you leave the parking lot to the time you return to the parking lot.  It will feel as if you yourself are going into the mine to work.  The difference is that you will not leave the mine covered in coal silt.  Once you have finished the tour, you can walk through the museum.


The Tour-Ed Mine is located at 748 Bull Creek Road (Pennsylvania Route 366) in Tarentum, Pennsylvania.  (You enter the mine from Ridge Road.)  It is just off Pennsylvania Route 28 about ten minutes north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike (Interstate 76) and twenty minutes north of downtown Pittsburgh.  Parking is on site, and the entry road and parking lot are not paved.  They are open Wednesday through Monday (closed Tuesday) from Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day Weekend and on Saturday and Sunday in September and October.  Their hours are from 10:00am to 4:00pm (Eastern Standard Time) with the last tour at 2:30pm.  Please note that they only accept cash as payment.  Please note that the mine is in its original state, and it is not handicap accessible.  There are also low ceilings and tight spaces.  There is also a slight incline to enter the mine.  You can learn more at https://tour-edmine.com/.


Welcome to the Tour-Ed Mine.  It is a tour, but it will become real.



Berkeley Springs, West Virginia


The town of Berkeley Springs, West Virginia is in the northernmost region of the Eastern Panhandle Region of the state.


Some of you are saying, “I see this all the time.  I have seen town names with ‘Falls’ and ‘Springs’ and ‘Mount’ in their names, but when you visit, you never see any waterfalls or springs or mountains.  It is always a waste of time to visit these places.”


The town of Berkeley Springs was originally called the town of Bath.  The reason is not because somebody thought that it was a nice name for a town but because it was a town where people took a bath.  You have read correctly.  It was a place where people took a bath.  In the case that you are completely confused, the name is derived from the fact that there are natural baths fed with water that come from hot springs.  How long have these baths been here?  The year these baths were discovered is unknown, but long before the settlers came, Indian tribes from the region came to bathe here.  Many years later, a man by the name of George Washington built his own bathtub here.  Yes, this is the same George Washington that was the General of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War and later the first President of the United States of America.  Today, the baths are now part of Berkeley Springs State Park, and they can be visited year-round.  These springs make up the heart of the town, and they have been preserved for years to come.  Please note that you cannot take a bath here, but you can put your feet in.


Some of you are saying, “This is nice.  This Berkeley Springs has springs, and you can even see where George Washington took a bath.  What I do not see is railroads.  Therefore, I will not be springing my way to this town.”


You do have a good point.  There is no railroad in the town.  The closest the railroad come to the town is to a quarry north of the town, but you will not find a rail line in the town itself.  So, what does the town of Berkeley Spring have to do with the railroad?


As mentioned, Berkeley Springs is in the northernmost region of the Eastern Panhandle of the U.S. state of West Virginia.  The main routes of the town are U.S. Route 552 and West Virginia Route 9.  Both routes run down the main street (Washington Street) past the state park.  U.S. Route 522 continues northward from the town to the town of Hancock, Maryland just across the Potomac River.  As you leave the town center and the north junction with West Virginia Route 9, you see an old train station, but you do not see any railroad tracks.  How did this train station get here?


As mentioned, U.S. Route 522 goes north to the town of Hancock, Maryland which is just north of the Potomac River.  The bridge that crosses the Potomac River also crosses the original rail line built by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.  (The line is owned by CSX today.)  It was also mentioned that a spur line goes from this main line to a nearby quarry.  (You will drive by this quarry on U.S. Route 522.)  This line was also built by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.  Today, the line serves the quarry, but it originally ended at the old train station in Berkeley Springs.  Built in 1912, passengers rode the train here to visit the town, and some of those passengers took a trip to those famous springs.  The empty space on the east side of the station (opposite from U.S. Route 522) was a small railroad yard.  Along with passenger service, the depot saw freight service.  This station was a busy place in the 1920’s and 1930’s.  Sadly, Berkeley Springs felt the fate that many towns on spur lines felt.  Passenger service ended in 1935, and freight service ended sometime after.  As with many spur line towns, train service was abandoned with service only to the quarry.


Today, the old train station just sits there empty with the railroad yard an empty lot.  Is it just going to rot?  The people of Berkeley Springs are determined not to let that happen.  The depot is owned by the town of Berkeley Springs, and there are plans to house a museum or maybe a visitor center in the station.  The good news is that there are no plans for the old station to see the wrecking ball.


Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, a town erected around a spring that was once a railroad town, is a great town to visit.  It is what make West Virginia wonderful.


If you want to enjoy a nice meal surrounded by nature, Coolfont Restaurant and Resort is just a few miles southwest of the town off West Virginia Route 9 West.  You can check them out right here: https://www.coolfont.com/.


The Gallitzin Tunnels Park and Museum, Gallitzin, Pennsylvania


The city of Altoona, Pennsylvania, United States of America is a railroad lover’s heaven.  It is home to many great railroad sites.  You have the Railroader’s Memorial Museum.  You have the Portage Railroad National Historic Site.  You have the Everett Railroad excursion train in Hollidaysburg.  For those who are into engineering marvels, you have the world-famous Horseshoe Curve.  You cannot forget the railroad shops that are located here.  Some claim that Altoona is the railroad capital of America due to the number of railroad sites, but some would disagree as other cities have been given that name.  Regardless, the city is a great place if you love the railroad.  Along with the sites mentioned, there is one railroad engineering marvel that is little known.


Welcome to the Gallitzin Tunnels in Tunnel Hill, Pennsylvania.  What is special about the Gallitzin Tunnels?  That is a great question.  The same rail line that currently pass through these twin tunnels is the same line that goes around the Horseshoe Curve and passes through the heart of Downtown Altoona.  With the high mountain range and the Eastern Continental Divide, building the rail line over the ridge was a very tough feat.  The best option was to tunnel through the mountain.  First, the Portage Tunnel was built.  Then came the Allegheny Tunnel.  The Gallitzin Tunnels was the third to be built, and it was a twin tunnel with double track in each tunnel.  After much blasting, the twin tunnels were completed making it the highest and longest tunnels on the railroad.


Today, only one of the tunnels is used, and rail fans can stand on a nearby bridge watching trains go in and out of the tunnel.  (A section of the bridge fence was cut out to give fans an uninterrupted view of trains entering and exiting the tunnel.)  There is a small park next to the bridge where you can watch trains, and it features a caboose from the Pennsylvania Railroad, an old rail signal and a kid’s play area.  There is also a museum across the street in the community building that tells the history of the town.  The museum has many model trains and a small gift shop plus a small theater where you can watch a short film about the tunnels.


The Gallitzin Tunnels Park and Museum is located at 411 Convent Street and Jackson Street in Gallitzin, Pennsylvania.  It is just minutes from U.S. Route 22 and a short drive from the Horseshoe Curve and the Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site.  (Please note that access to the park involves navigating a small road down a steep hill through the town.  Larger buses may find it difficult.)  The park is open seven days a week from sunrise to sunset.  The museum and gift shop are open Monday through Friday from 12:00pm to 4:00pm.  Parking is on site.  If you cannot make it during the week, you can call ahead to make an appointment to see the museum.  You can get more information at https://www.gallitzin.info/index.php.


The Unfinished Railroad, Manassas National Battlefield, Manassas, Virginia


You are here.  You are at Manassas National Battlefield.  It was the site of the first major battle of the American Civil War and the only place during the war where two major battles took place.  (Although the first shot was fired at Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina and the first skirmish happened in nearby Fairfax, Manassas was the site of the first major battle.)  It was here where Confederate General Thomas Jackson led a defensive stand.  As a soldier watched Jackson, he quoted, “There he stands like a stone wall.”  Hence the name General Thomas ‘Stonewall’ Jackson.


You take a walk on the battlefield.  You walk by cannons.  You walk on the ridges where soldiers stood in battle.  You see the peaceful landscape, a peaceful landscape that was not peaceful during the two wars.  You view the different monuments.  Then you notice something.  You see what looks like a railroad bed.  Did a railroad run through here?  Were trains rolling train here at the time of the battles?  You see an interpretive sign that says, ‘The Unfinished Railroad’.  What was the Unfinished Railroad?


Some of you are saying, “Well, it was a railroad that was not finished.”


So, that is what you think it is.  Well, what if you were wrong?  What if you got the wrong answer?  Well, you are not wrong.  You answered correctly.  It is simply a railroad that was not finished.  The next question is what happened?  Why was this railroad unfinished?


This unfinished railroad was to be the Manassas Gap Railroad.  When the Manassas Gap Railroad began, it went west of Manassas Junction from its connection with the Orange and Alexandria Railroad.  (Manassas Junction is now Manassas.)  The Orange and Alexandria Railroad had connections to the port of Alexandria, Virginia.  For the Manassas Gap Railroad to access the Alexandria ports, they needed to use the Orange and Alexandria rail line.  This required the Manassas Gap Railroad was required to pay the Orange and Alexandria Railroad for use of the line, and they were losing money.  The way to remedy the problem was to build their own rail line to Alexandria.  Construction began in 1850, but work was stopped in 1858 when the Manassas Gap Railroad ran out of money.  The way it looked when construction ended is almost exactly what you will see when you walk along the old railroad bed today, but with a few trees grown on the railroad bed.


Some of you are saying, “Well.  I guess this railroad served no purpose at all.”


Well, it did.  It was a contributor in the Second Battle of Manassas.  At one of the raised sections, there was a rock fight, a fight were the soldiers used rocks instead of cannons and guns, between the Confederate Army and the Union Army using rocks from the railroad bed.  There was another section of the railroad bed where Thomas ‘Stonewall’ Jackson where able to fend off a heavy attack from the Union Army.


Today, the old railroad bed is left in its original state as a reminder of what possibly could have been but never happened.  The old Manassas Gap Line and Orange and Alexandria Line are now under the ownership of the Norfolk Southern Railroad.  The trains no longer go to the ports of Alexandria but now connect to a line now owned by CSX.  Although the railroad was never finished, it is finished in time of history.


The Manassas National Battlefield is owned and operated by the National Park Service.  The Visitor Center is at 6511 Sudley Road (Virginia Route 234) one mile north of Interstate 66 and a half mile south of U.S. Route 29.  The battlefield is open from dusk to dawn, but the Visitor Center is open from 8:30am to 5:00pm.  Please note that the trails to the Unfinished Railroad are not wheelchair accessible with uneven paths.


Dreamsville U.S.A.


Daniel Wallach had enlisted in the United States Army.  He boarded a train Terra Haute, Indiana and was on his way to New York City where he was going to board a ship to Europe to fight the Germans.  As he was sitting in his seat, he was looking out the window at the passing scenery.  The train passed through town through another town and through another town, but then the train made a special stop.


“Dreamsville U.S.A.  Time to deboard the train,” a man said on the loudspeaker.  “Lunch is being served.”

Daniel was very puzzled.  “What’s going on?”

“We are being served lunch,” said the Sargent.  “You need to go grab a sandwich.”


He got off the train.  Soldiers were lined up to get a sandwich from a cart where ladies from the town were handing out to each man.  Daniel stood in line.  When he finally reached the cart, the lady said, “We have peanut butter and jelly, bologna, ham, turkey.”

“How much?” Daniel asked.

“It is already paid for,” said the lady.

“By whom?” Daniel asked.

“By you,” the lady smiled.  “By you serving our great nation and fighting to defend our great land from its enemies.”


“Well,” said Daniel, “peanut butter and jelly is my favorite.”

The lady handed him a sandwich.  “Here you are.  Enjoy.”

He took a bite.

“Wow.  This is the best peanut butter and Jelly sandwich I ever had.”

“I made it myself,” said the lady.

“Well,” he smiled.  “You are a peanut butter and jelly sandwich master.”


“All aboard!” the conductor shouted.

“I hope we meet again,” he tipped his hat to the lady.

“I hope so too,” she smiled.

Daniel boarded the train, and the train departed the station.


Sadly, he never saw Dreamsville again as he was killed in action.

As for Dreamsville U.S.A., the ladies served many servicemen on their way to war only to never see them return.  It was their way of repaying those who gave themselves for a nation we know as the United States of America.  Memorial Day is a day set aside to remember these men (and women) who lost their lives for this nation.


Some of you are saying, “This is such a nice story.  Too bad Dreamsville U.S.A. is one of those fictional towns that you will never be able to visit.”


Well, you can visit Dreamsville U.S.A.  Dreamsville U.S.A. is the town of Dennison, Ohio located halfway between Columbus, Ohio and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Although the trains no longer stop here, they still pass through, and you can still visit the depot which is now a museum.  You may not be able to get a free sandwich, but there is a small restaurant where you can buy one for yourself.  It is located in the heart of the town in its original location, the same location where a group of amazing ladies came out to serve great sandwiches to those who served in the United States Armed Forces to include those who never passed through Dreamsville U.S.A. again.  (You can read more about the depot and its history at https://dennisondepot.org/.)


On this Memorial Day, let us remember those who died in battle fighting for this nation to include those who passed through Dreamsville U.S.A. with some never returning.



The  photos  in  this  articles  are  from  the  Dennison  Depot  in  Dennison,  Ohio.  It  was  here  where  this  story  took  place.  It  is  no  longer  a  active  depot  but  has  been  preserved  as  a  museum.  It  also  has  a  small  cafe.

What Does ‘CSX’ Stand For?


There you are in your easy chair sitting at your favorite train watching spot watching those trains go by.  You see ‘NS’ trains which stand for the Norfolk Southern Railroad.  You see ‘UP’ trains which stand for the Union Pacific Railroad.  You see ‘BNSF’ trains which stand for the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad.  Then you see ‘CSX’ trains.  You wonder what ‘CSX’ stands for.  The ‘C’ and ‘S’ could stand for common words, but what word could the ‘X’ stand for?


This is a good observation.  Is there an answer?  Yes, there is.


The CSX Railroad is a merger of many railroads to include the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, the first commercial railroad in the United States of America of which many of the oldest rail lines in the nation are still in service today.  The ‘C’ stands for the Chessie System, a railroad that ran from West Virginia to Maine to Illinois.  The ‘S’ stands for the Seaboard Coast Line, a railroad that main ran from Virginia south to Florida mainly along the Atlantic seaboard.  Then there is the ‘X’.  What does the ‘X’ stand for?  The answer is that the ‘X’ does not stand for any word.  It stands as a symbol of the two railroads coming together to form one railroad company.


Today, CSX operate trains in much of the eastern half of the nation and parts of eastern Canada on the oldest rail lines in North America.  You can read about the history from the very beginning in 1827 of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad to the present day to include mergers with the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway at https://www.csx.com/index.cfm/about-us/history-evolution/, and it is definitely worth your time.


So, the next time you are watching trains at your favorite train watching spot and see a CSX train arriving, remember that CSX stands for many great historic railroads under three letters.



The  first  photo  is  a  train  is  at  Point  of  Rocks,  Maryland

The  second  photo  is  a  locomotive  at  the  old  train  station  in  Brunswick,  Maryland

The third  photo  is  a  coal  train  at  Shenandoah  Junction,  West  Virginia

The  fourth  photo  is  a  locomotive  on  display  at  the  Lake  Shore  Railway  Museum  in  North  East,  Pennsylvania

The  fifth  photo  is  at  the  old  train  station  in  Harper’s  Ferry,  West  Virginia

The  sixth  photo  is  a  train  crossing  the  Potomac  River  between  Harper’s  Ferry,  West  Virginia  and  Knoxville,  Maryland

Here Comes the Steam Locomotive


Number 3 Hocking Valley Railroad Nelsonville Ohio

You can see it coming from miles away.  You are waiting.  You see the smoke going high into the sky.  It is coming closer and closer and closer.  You hear the whistle blow, and it blows again and again and again.  Then, it is here.  You see the steam locomotive speeding towards you.  In a flash, it passes you.  The steam blows all over you.  The train rolls by, and then you see the caboose.  The steam is all above you.  The effects are staying with you, but it is a great feeling to have.

B&O 5300 George Washington Baltimore Maryland

C&O 2732 Science Museum of Virginia Richmond Virginia

There is some about the steam locomotive that catches everyone’s attention.  Unlike the diesel locomotives of today, there is a uniqueness to the steam locomotive.  Even those who are not fans of the railroad are fascinated by the steam locomotive.  Every steam locomotive has a special uniqueness to them.  From the smokestack to the boiler to the wheel alignment to engineer’s cab to the tender, the steam locomotive has a special place in many hearts.

Duluth Massbe & Iron Range Number 604 Greenville Pennsylvania

Empire State Express Number 999 Museum of S&I Chicago Illinois

The steam locomotives are magnificent.  The steam locomotives are amazing.  The steam locomotives are a sight to see.  Steam locomotives… are high costly maintenance.

N&W 611 Carpenters Overlook Gap Pennsylvania

New York Central Railroad Number 3001 Elkhart Indiana

The steam locomotive could pull cars for only a hundred miles.  Why?  Because many of the steam locomotives were powered by coal, the silt from the coal filled the boilers.  Every hundred miles, the steam locomotive had to be taken out of service to a roundhouse or shop to be cleaned.  The process took at least a day or more as each tube in the boiler had to be individually cleaned.  One hundred miles was a great distance for the nineteenth century and for the first half of the twentieth century, but it is just a short drive today.  The diesel locomotives can go much farther before maintenance is required which is why the steam locomotive was replaced.  With trains able to go farther without stopping, that meant fewer stops, and products got to their destinations much quicker.

Norfolk and Western 475 Strasburg Pennsylvania

Norfolk and Western 1218 Roanoke Virginia

For now, the steam locomotive is mainly seen of excursion trains.  Yes, you can still see the steam.  The newly built steam locomotives now use water instead of coal requiring less maintenance.  Regardless, you just cannot wait to see that steam puffing out those clouds of smoke.  There is nothing like seeing a steam locomotive rolling down the line.

Number 385 Whippany New Jersey

The Greenbrier Presidential Express Clifton Forge Virginia


The  first  photo  is  of  the  Number  17  William  Simpson  York  locomotive  of  the  Northern  Central  Railway  in  New  Freedom,  Pennsylvania

The  second  locomotive  is  the  Number  3  of  the  Hocking  Valley  Scenic  Railway  in  Nelsonville,  Ohio

The  third  locomotive  is  the  Number  5300  President  Washington  of  the  Baltimore  and  Ohio  Railroad  on  display  at  the  Baltimore  and  Ohio  Railroad  Museum  in  Baltimore,  Maryland

The  fourth  locomotive  is  Number  2732  of  the  Chesapeake  and  Ohio  Railway  on  display  at  the  Science  Museum  of  Virginia  in  Richmond,  Virginia

The  fifth  locomotive  is  Number  604  of  the  Duluth,  Massabe  and  Iron  Range  Railroad  on  display  at  the  Greenville  Railroad  Park  in  Greenville,  Pennsylvania

The  sixth  locomotive  is  Number  999  The  Empire  State  Express  of  the  New  York  Central  System  on  display  at  the  Chicago  Museum  of  Science  and  Industry  in  Chicago,  Illinois

The  seventh  locomotive  is  Number  611  of  the  Norfolk  and  Western  Railway  at  a  photo  shoot  on  the  Strasburg  Railroad  in  Gap,  Pennsylvania

The  eighth  locomotive  is  Number  3001  of  the  New  York  Central  System  on  display  at  the  New  York  Central  Railroad  Museum  in  Elkhart,  Indiana

The  ninth  locomotive  is  Number  475  at  the  Strasburg  Railroad  in  Ronks,  Pennsylvania

The  tenth  locomotive  is  Number  1218  of  the  Norfolk  and  Western  Railway  on  display  at  the  Virginia  Museum  of  Transportation  in  Roanoke,  Virginia

The  eleventh  locomotive  is  Number  385  on  display  at  the  Whippany  Railway  Museum  in  Whippany,  New  Jersey

The  last  locomotive  is  Number  614  The  Greenbrier  Presidential  Express  of  the  Chesapeake  and  Ohio  Railway  on  display  at  the  Chesapeake  and  Ohio  Railway  Museum  in  Clifton  Forge,  Virginia

VINTAGE: The Gettysburg Railroad

I  wrote  this  many  years  ago.  Sadly,  the  train  is  no  longer  running.  I  hope  that  you  enjoy  it.


Welcome to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.  It is here where many major roads meet.  If you ask most people what they know about Gettysburg, they will tell you that the Civil War happened here.  It is true that a major battle of the Civil War happened here.  In matter of fact, the battle was the turning point of the war.  The battlefield surrounds the town.  However, there is more to this town than people know.

The town is a major crossroads for many traveling routes.  This is one of the reasons why this became the place where one of the greatest conflicts of the Civil War happened.

Even today it is a crossroads, but not for war.  It is a major tourist attraction.  I could spend a long time telling you about this town.  Instead, I am just telling you about one of the best kept secrets of Gettysburg: the Gettysburg Railroad.

Just a few blocks from the center of the town is the train station.  It is about thirty-five minutes before the train is scheduled to depart, and the train pulls into the station.  It comes to a stop, and people are there waiting to climb aboard.  There is a locomotive on each end of the train.  This  allows the engineer to simply go from one end of the train to another without having to detach the  locomotive, operate it through a series of switchbacks, and then reattach it a the other end to make  the return trip to the station.  This is where people take an opportunity to take pictures of the train next to the locomotive.  The time comes when people are now able to climb aboard the train.  Moments later, you hear those famous words, “All Aboard!”

Currently, those who have yet to board the train are now hustling to get aboard before they miss the train.  Once everyone is aboard who is coming on aboard, the engineer toots the whistle, and the train starts to pull away from the station.  The trip on the Gettysburg Railroad has begun.

As the train rolls along, the conductor tells everyone about the very sites as the train passes by.  He just happens to be a man who has lived his entire life in the town.  He begins by talking about his various encounters through his years.  From time to time he tries to tell a joke.  He talks about the various points along the battlefield.  He mentions a place called Herrs Ridge before he talks about His Ridge.  As the train goes along, people are enjoying the scenery and not his attempts of humor.

As the train departs from the station, the first place the train passes through is the rail yard.  There are box cars, hoppers, tank cars, and other rail cars kept here.  You may wonder why these types of cars are stored in a yard on a passenger line.  The reason is because the railroad is not just a passenger line.  It is also a freight line that serves farms and an apple factory.  When the passenger train is not running, the freight trains take over.

A railroad enthusiast would be focused on the various rail cars and locomotives in the rail yard.  Other sightseers would be looking out at the athletic fields of Gettysburg College which are situated next to the train yard.  You can get a good view of one of the games, but you would only be able to see a few minutes as the fields begin go out of sight.  At this point, you get a good overview of the college before passing on to the next sight.

The train enters the first day portion of the battlefield.  You look outside and see the various monuments.  The one that you notice right away is the one of the Pennsylvania Regiment, which is a statue of a soldier holding his gun.  On the left side, you see a ridge where the Union Army fired down on the Confederates only to be overtaken and forced back.  Unfortunately for the Civil War enthusiast, this is the only portion of the battlefield that can be seen from the train.  You will have to get into your car to see the rest of the battlefield for yourself, and, if you have not seen it, it is worth seeing.

The train continues to pass by houses and farms.  People sit out in their front yards and in the field and wave as the train passes by.  The conductor talks about the various crops that are planted.  He even points out some oversized marshmallows that are piled up in a field near the tracks.  The oversized marshmallows are bales of hay covered with white plastic.  Unfortunately for the conductor, nobody gets a laugh out of that one.

The train continues down the line.  It passes by open fields, forests, and then crosses over a creek.  This is the only bridge crossing on the trip.

The train arrives at the town of Biglerville.  The town is known for being the Apple Capital of the United States.  The Motts Apple Factory, where apple sauce, apple juice, and other apple products are made, is right next to the rail line.  You see where the rail lines go into the factory to ship the products all over the United States.  You see the box cars and other cars there that are used to brings products in and out of the factory.  It is also at this very place where the train stops and heads back to Gettysburg.  The train has finally reached the end of the line.

The train arrives at the station, and it is time for everyone to get off the train.  At the time, the ride is over, but there is still another little excursion.  This one will take you inside the one locomotive.  This is a train lover’s dream.  You just happen to be standing near the locomotive, and the engineer invites you to climb aboard.  You get into the cab, and you get an engineer’s view of the railroad.  You look out over the tracks in front of you and imagine that you are heading down the line.  It is then time to get out of the locomotive, but you do not exit the same way you went in.  The engineer takes you through the engine room.  You see one of the huge diesel engines that pulls the passenger cars along.  You then make your way off the train, and you stand there looking at the train before you.  About a minute later, the train starts to pull away.  The train is heading back to the yard to prepare for its next trip.  At this time, you can say that your day on the Gettysburg Railroad has come to an end.

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania is a town that is rich in history, being the turning point of the Civil War, a major crossroads, the site of Abraham Lincoln’s famous address, and the Eternal Flame, The Gettysburg Railroad is another part of the town’s history.  You will want to make it a part of your history as well.