Steam Into History

Trail with Rails in York County

September 2013 Newsletter Article
Reprinted with permission from York County Rail Trail Authority

Heritage Rail Trail County Park is set to become an operating ‘trail with rails’ as Steam into History welcomes passengers aboard an authentic reproduction 1860s locomotive and period coaches.  Debi Beshore, Manager Sales and Administration for Steam Into History, invites us “All Aboard” to relive the experience of riding the historic rails of York County’s Northern Central Railway. 

Experience drama on the Northern Central Railway in 1863, when the Confederate Army invaded York County!  Ride the York #17 along the rails that carried President Lincoln to deliver one of the greatest speeches in American history, the Gettysburg Address!  Ten years in the making, Steam Into History will give you a peak at what it was like during those historic times.  

Built in Elgin, Illinois, at the Kloke Locomotive Works, the 1860s locomotive was a labor of love taking three years to complete. The locomotive’s careful construction and design is evident to all who view her.  Period passenger coaches, from the Flat Lands of Arkansas and built by Reader Railroad, will provide seating for up to 175 visitors with restrooms and handicap accessibility. As a bonus, there is a combination coach that holds bicycles, scooters and wheel chairs.   

Passengers will board the train in New Freedom for a 10-mile trip northward, pausing briefly at Hanover Junction Train Station before re-boarding the train for the return trip to New Freedom.  An abbreviated ride will be available for families with children who prefer a shorter, 1-hour adventure from New Freedom to Glen Rock and back.  On each ride, you will re-live the history of the small towns and villages that sprang up all along the Northern Central and hear tales of the mills, factories, and farms whose products moved by train.  

Steam into History will offer special trains with living historians and Civil War musicians – both Union and Confederate – aboard.  Civil War history will come alive at Hanover Junction as the station’s raiding by Confederate Colonel E.V. White and the 35th Battalion of Virginia Cavalry in June of 1863 is retold.  Just days before the Gettysburg Campaign, White’s Comanche troops – famous for their rebel yell – fanned out across York County with orders to “destroy railroad connections and skirmish with the boys in Blue.”  

Steam into History is located at Main Street Station, 2 West Main St., New Freedom, PA, just minutes off I83 between York, PA and Baltimore, MD on the Heritage Rail Trail. 
A gift shop offers a variety of souvenirs.  Excursions run Tuesday through Sunday.  Group rates are available.  Visit for additional information.