The NCRY equipment move -- March 1, 1996

Photoessay by Tom Coughlin

On March 1, 1996, the Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad provided crew and power to the Northern Central to deliver the Liberty Limited equipment, and three cabooses. It took less than an hour for the Ma and Pa to make up the train, which left Poorhouse Yard (York, PA) around 11:00 am.

Carrying doughnuts and a toolbox, Ken Bitten elected to ride in the lead unit, Maryland and Pennsylvania #1504. The NCRY crew had been clearing brush on the 22-mile right-of-way for several days prior to the equipment move, but some concern lingered regarding some low hanging tree limbs. Ken wanted to keep an eye on clearances.

The old train station in York sees few passenger trains nowadays. Now home to a photographer, it is kept in good repair. A few streets away, pedestrians had a really good chance to check out the train, during two blocks of street running through the west side of downtown York.

While the line has the pastoral charm of a branch line, It was originally concieved as a major rail artery, and features 130 pound rail and some very overbuilt structures. Despite light use in the last few years, the line is in excellent condition. There are a number of handsome arch bridges on the line.

One aspect of the line that didn't survive the ravages of time and materials reclamation is grade crossing protection equipment. There are 11 crossings on this line that are manually flagged whenever a train passes. For today's movement, a group of Ma and Pa and NCRY employees drove to the crossings in their cars in advance of the train. The fact that the train traveled at 15 miles per hour simplified this task.

Upon arrival in New Freedom, PA , Ma and Pa 1504 and Yorkrail 1752 were uncoupled and Stewartstown Railroad #11 assisted the two with switching. The cars were cut into three groups and placed on various tracks around the yard. Despite complicated movements, and short sidings, the switching was completed in less than an hour with impressive efficiency.

Upon completion of switching, the Stewartstown Railroad #11 was taken back to York for some mechanical work, along with a baggage car.

This page was created 3/7/96 (and errors cheerfully corrected) by Tom Coughlin