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Friends of the Stewartstown Railroad, Stewartstown, PA

The  Old  Train  Station.  Built  in  1914,  it  houses  the  Stewartstown  Railroad  Company.
The Old Train Station. Built in 1914, it houses the Stewartstown Railroad Company.
John Cowgill

Take a drive north on Interstate 83 from Baltimore and go into Pennsylvania. Take the first exit and go east on Pennsylvania Route 851. As you go along this road, you will see a railroad line on your right. You see the railroad line hoping that a train would come. You go along this railroad line into the small town of Stewartstown. It does not look like much at first, but then you come upon two old passenger rail cars and an old caboose. Right across the street, you see a white building with a rail line going into the building. You begin to wonder if trains pass through here. You drive two blocks and see an old train station. You have now gone from thinking you are in a town that does not look like much to seeing that you are in a town that has a railroad history.
Although Stewartstown was established long before the railroad came to the town, the Stewartstown Railroad, a short line that was owned by private investors, became very essential to the region’s economy bringing goods and products to the local merchants and farmers as well as passengers to the small town from New Freedom where it connected to the Northern Central Railway. When the Northern Central Railway ceased operations, rail service to Stewartstown ceased as well.
Now you wonder if trains would ever run on these rails again.
The Friends of the Stewartstown Railroad are working to bring those days back. The Old Train Station you see in the town was built in 1914 to replace an older station, and it is now the headquarters of the Stewartstown Railroad Company who manages the station and who, since 2008, invites the Friends of the Stewartstown Railroad to host displays of the railroad’s history. It has a workshop and a waiting room. What is the waiting room for? It is a waiting room for the train. On select days, short train excursions will be operated from the station to the outskirts of the town on select weekends.
The Stewartstown Railroad is still a work in progress. The Friends of the Stewartstown Railroad along with volunteers who are non-members are currently working on the track line to have future excursions through the Deer Creek Valley and eventually to New Freedom to connect with a section of the Old Northern Central Railway Line. If you have the opportunity to take a little trip, this is one that is worth taking, and the volunteers are more than happy to tell you all of the history about their railroad.
Stewartstown, Pennsylvania is a ninety minute drive from the D.C. Area. It is just two miles north of the Maryland border just four miles from Interstate 83. You can go to to learn about their work projects, how you can participate in their work days, or how you can take a short ride on the rails.

The Maintenance Train takes passengers along the Stewartstown Rail Line.
John Cowgill
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