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Strasburg Railroad Receives PA State Historical Marker

Strasburg Railroad Receives PA State Historical Marker

May 26, 2011

By Ben "Dutch" Myers

Engine 475 Steam at Strasburg

A serendipitous event awaited me as I drove into the parking lot of the Strasburg Railroad on May 26, 2011.  A crowd of people were both standing and seated in rows of chairs to one side of the historic station.  Overhead tents to screen the sun had been erected over the gathering.  I knew it was not a Thomas the Tank Engine week, so what could it be?

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Dr. Michele Sellitto

I had arranged to meet my mother about half way between my home and where she lives with my niece Cathy and her husband Brian to pick her up for a visit.  That location was the Strasburg Railroad and a good excuse to look over the vintage rail equipment.    For those not familiar with this tourist railroad, it is one of the best in our country.  It involves a nice leisurely ride though Pennsylvania Dutch farmlands.  Right across the street is the Pennsylvania State Railroad Museum and the whole area abounds with railroad attractions.  Tourists of all kinds have tremendous vacations in the region, not just train aficionados.    The area is loaded with things to do, good food and nice places to stay, including the Red Caboose Motel just down the track where families can sleep in beautifully refurbished old-time cabooses.


Antique cars were present

Engine coming!

Passenger coaches

Train arrival

Awaiting departure

Anyway, getting back to this story, I had just left my car and walked to the station area to take photos of outstanding period rail cars when a loud speaker started booming voices.  I didn't pay much attention while pressing the shutter button of my camera.  Then I remembered having heard on the radio the week before that the Strasburg Railroad was to be presented with an historical plaque of some kind.  I didn't know when or what time, but apparently it was taking place on the west side of the station.  Turning the station’s corner, I blundered into some luck to catch much of the ceremony and the unveiling of the historical marker.



Marker uncovered


Admiring the marker

People who made it happen

The Marker

Marker across from PA RR Museum

As it turned out, it was a much larger event that I had realized.  Governor Corbett had sent an official from the State plus other luminaries were present, including Linn Moedinger - CMO and President of the Strasburg Railroad, Dr. Michele Sellitto and Janice Klein - Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Christopher Barrett - President & CEO - Pennsylvania Dutch Convention & Visitors Bureau, Hope Banner, and Nathaniel Guest who had done the nomination work to start the ball rolling for the event.  Grouped in the center of below group photo, left to right, are Janice Klein, Dr. Michele Sellitto and Nathaniel Guest.  Arriving  a bit late, I was not able to obtain everyone’s name or photo.

Hope Banner

Center Jackie Klein, Dr. Michele Sellitto and Nathaniel Guest

The below photos are of the heroes who keep the equipment rolling, headed back to work.  I turned this photo black and white to demonstrate that things have not changed all that much in the last 100 years.

The workers

Could have been long ago

 The same thing could have been done with the Engineer/Fireman below.

Firemen never change

  After the ceremonies, my mother arrived and it was time to head home.  Here she is, 94 years young, standing in front of the restored 1915 Lancaster Oxford and Southern motor car.

Marge Myers and LO&S motor car

During the award unveiling, it was a surprise to me that it was actually an official state historical marker .  It recognizes the importance of the Strasburg Railroad and its impact on the railroad industry worldwide as well as innovations in heritage tourism.  The railroad was established in 1832 and just as it was about to go under in 1958, a group of dedicated citizens saved and began to build it into the top class tourist railroad that it is today.

Look at the steam engine!

Waiting to board

If you travel near South-Central Pennsylvania, don't miss this outstanding vacation area and railroad enthusiast's dreamland.  And yes, Amtrak has stops very near including Lancaster, PA.

For a Slide Show of all images in this report, in large format, Click Here.

Here are some helpful links:

Strasburg Railroad

Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania

Red Caboose Motel                                        

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