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Features - The Railroads of York, Pennsylvania

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York County
Rail Trail

Howard Tunnel


Street Trackage

Gone, Not

Railroad Features in York

With York's rich railroad history, there are many interesting railroad features around the York area.

One of the most accessible railroad features in the York area is the York County Heritage Rail Trail Park, a hiking and biking trail that runs from York City to New Freedom, in southern York County. Here it connects with Maryland's Northern Central Rail Trail which continues to Cockeysville, Maryland.

Along the rail trail south of York, one will find Howard Tunnel, the nation's oldest active railroad tunnel. Opened for traffic in 1838, this tunnel is still used by the Liberty Limited dinner trains of the Northern Central Railway.

With the many railroads that traversed York County, there was once a massive infrastructure of railroad stations, freight houses, engine facilities, office buildings, etc. throughout the area. Many of these buildings have disappeared throughout the years, but there are quite a few existing railroad stations, buildings and other structures, either used by the railroads or other rail related industries, while others have been converted to completely different uses.

York was originally laid out in 1741, and has grown through the years. As a railroad hub, it was oftentimes difficult to find new rights-of-way for railroads to enter York. At one time two separate railroads had parallel rights-of-way throughout most of the city's west end. These have now been combined into a single right-of-way under a single local short line railroad.

As the Northern Central Railway came to York, it required the use of several blocks of street trackage to access the downtown area from it's path along the Codorus Creek. This formerly double tracked street trackage still exists as a single tracked branch line.

As the years have passed, many of the rail lines and structures that served York County have disappeared. Fortunately, images of these structures and lines have been preserved in photogrphic form, and on postcards. You can view some of them on the gone, not forgotten page.

This page maintained by Greg Halpin.
This page last updated on 8/20/2002
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