Enjoy an adventure-packed weekend of six train excursions, three destinations, three locomotives, hands-on displays, historians, and more!
Join the Board, Staff, and Volunteers of NCR to celebrate our 10th season of operations.
About the Locomotives
The “MACK” No. 85
The Jeddo Coal “MACK” Engine No.85 is a coal-burning standard gauge 0-4-0 tank steam locomotive visiting NCR for the weekend. This 1928 engine was restored and is currently owned by Grambling Locomotive Works. It will be featured during the weekend on two excursions to Glen Rock, in the engine parade, and for the finale Double Steam Header.
Former PRR GP9 No. 6076
The 6076 EMD GP9 is a former Pennsylvania Railroad locomotive. This 1959 locomotive is in the process of being cosmetically restored by the team at Northern Central Team. This engine will be featured on the 3-hour Howard Tunnel special Saturday evening and the engine parade.
William H. Simpson No. 17
The William H. Simpson No. 17 also known as the “York” is an 1860s replica steam engine owned and operated by the Northern Central Railway of York. It’s the youngest steam locomotive in the world and was built by Kloke Locomotive Works. This engine will be featured on an excursion to Glen Rock, the Hanover Junction & Lincoln experiences, the engine parade, and the finale Double Steam Header.
About the Living History Interpreters
Barber, Abolitionist and Vigilance League Organizer
Henry Watson, was born into servitude in Maryland. After achieving his own freedom, he moved to Franklin County where he married Pennsylvania-born Elizabeth lnu. Watson made a good living for himself as a barber. His well-known Chambersburg establishment was less than a block west of the square on Route 30. Throughout the pre-Civil War period, several Underground Railroad “stations” crisscrossed what are now routes 11, 15, and 30.
Harriet L. Smith
Entrepreneur, Abolitionist, Educator, and women suffragist.
Harriet L. Smith was born enslaved and was the wife of Rev. Stephen Smith who purchased both their freedom. Stephen and Harriet were agents on the Underground Railroad. Stephen was a lumber baron in Columbia Pennsylvania and owned several railcars. The two of them used their wealth to help freedom seekers reach safety.
William C. Goodridge
Entrepreneur, Abolitionist and Station Master on the Underground Railroad.
William C. Goodridge was born enslaved in Maryland, later freed in York Pennsylvania. He learned the skill as a barber and later became a wealthy businessman. Goodridge built the tallest emporium in York and rented space to other vendors. He also used his home at 123 East Philadelphia to hide freedom seekers. He owned 13 railcars, and one had a secret compartment to transport freedom seekers to Philadelphia so they could continue to Canada.
President of the United States
In his portrayal as Abraham Lincoln, Bob Gleason will talk about the formative years of this great man, his courtship and marriage to Mary Todd, the beginnings and development of his abolitionist viewpoint, and his first, though not very successful trip to Congress. He will discuss the causes leading up to the war, both societal and economic and major events and turning points within the War itself. As Lincoln, Gleason will expand upon how he raised himself up from his humble beginnings to become the man who managed to pass the emancipation proclamation, to unite a splintered nation, and reaffirm, through his Gettysburg Address, the nation’s dedication to freedom, democracy, and equality.
Robert L. Williams
Prince de Liege Engine
Check out the restoration progress of the engine and other parts of the Prince de Liege locomotive. Dating to 1877, it will be the oldest operating European-built locomotive in North America.
Adjacent to Historic New Freedom Station
Outlaws & Peacemakers
Check out the Outlaws and Peacemaker’s authentic cowboy attire and story telling.
New Freedom Greens
Enjoy hands-on train-related activities for each letter of S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineer, Art and Math) This is a great activity for ages 6- 12 years old that love trains!
New Freedom Greens
History of NCR
Learn about our origin story, the vision of our founders, and the accomplishments of NCR over the last 10 years!
Our Founders, Mission, and Vision
Our Co-Founders, Bill Simpon, and Reed Anderson had a great love of York County and trains. It’s told that after a meeting at the historic Yorktowne Hotel, Bill and Reed discussed the need for a great historic attraction in York County that would bring visitors from near and far. With a love for the county and for trains – Bill and Reed went out to the community and raised over $2 million dollars to build steam engine No. 17, the hallmark of Steam Into History, a new excursion railroad.
In 2019 Steam Into History re-branded as Northern Central Railway of York to denote the inclusion of multiple forms of locomotion and emphasize the history of the rail line we use. Along the way – NCR grew and strengthened. Train cars were donated/purchased to enhance our rolling stock, tracks were refurbished, and programming was expanded.
NCR, a 501 (c)(3), offers historical, educational, and entertaining railroad excursions. NCR’s array of programming appeals to people of all ages with wide ranges of interests. We host adults/children, men/women, train/railway enthusiasts, history buffs, photography devotees, families seeking wholesome entertainment, nature enthusiasts, and sight-seers. To date, 156,355 visitors have ridden NCR trains, learned national/regional history and details of the rail system, enjoyed family-centered activities, and relished unique programs while appreciating the beauty of York County.
The mission of the Northern Central Railway of York is to enhance the economic engine of York County by delivering entertaining, historical, and educational experiences on an excursion railroad. Our organizational goals are to provide rail-based, multi-generational entertainment experiences, educate riders regarding the United States and local history, inspire interest in rail history, and promote York County’s economic development through increased tourism.
William “Bill” H. Simpson
Bill Simpson grew up in Ithaca, New York. His father was a train enthusiast and passed on his love of trains to Bill and his four siblings. Their train travel included various trips in the US, Canada and Europe in the 1940’s and 1950’s. This love of trains would remain for Bill’s lifetime.
Bill graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in 1963 and served as an officer in the Air Force from 1963-1971. As the first Air Force Academy cadet granted a leave of absence to attend law school, Bill earned his law degree from Harvard Law School in 1966 before returning to service in Bitburg, Germany, where he served in the Judge Advocate General Corps (JAG) for three years.
Bill began his career in York, Pennsylvania in 1971 as counsel with Susquehanna Pfaltzgraff Company, eventually serving as President of Manufacturing and later as Chief Executive Officer until 2006.
Bill was a local community leader serving on numerous non-profit boards over four decades, as well as Board member of several York-based companies. His service also extended to the Air Force Academy community where he was an active member of the USAFA Association of Graduates and a Founding Board Member of the USAFA Endowment, and devoted Falcons football fan.
Although Bill never had the opportunity to see his beloved steam engine in operation before his passing in 2012, there is no doubt he would be extremely proud of the work carried on by his family, the Anderson family, and the many employees and volunteers who have been dedicated to this project in its first 10 years of operation.
D. Reed Anderson
Reed graduated from Kennard-Dale High School, Penn State University and the Dickinson School of Law. Reed married his best friend since high school, Connie Quesenberry, and they raised their family in his hometown of New Park, Pa, less than a mile from his family’s farm. Upon graduation from law school, he entered the U.S. Army, serving two years, one of which was in Vietnam. Upon his return from Vietnam, he joined the law firm of Stock and Leader in York, Pa. For the next 51 years, he practiced law and helped countless people, particularly in southeastern York County. He never met a stranger and cared deeply for others and his community. His was a life of service to others, serving on many non-profit boards and committees.
Steam into History is a marriage of two of Reed’s passions: trains and history.
As a young child, on Sunday afternoons, Reed’s grandparents and parents would take him and his siblings to watch the trains hauling war supplies on the Northern Central rails to the harbor in Baltimore. Thus began his love of trains. Reed’s father, John Hope Anderson, Sr was President of the Stewartstown Railroad for many years, and before that, his great-grandfather and grandfather were Presidents of the New Park Fawn Grove Railroad. After Hurricane Agnes destroyed the rails of the Northern Central in 1972, John Hope Anderson, Sr., who was a Pennsylvania House Representative at the time, was instrumental in ensuring that the rails were completely restored to allow train traffic again. It is ironic that Reed founded a train on the rails restored by his father. The vision and courage to achieve what others would call impossible was not just something that Reed had, it was in his DNA.
Reed also loved history, particularly American and Civil War history. His patriotism and respect for those that forged America ran deep. When he wasn’t practicing law, helping a neighbor or serving on a nonprofit board, he would relax by reading books about America’s history. There would often be a stack of 4-5 books on his bedside table and beside his chair in his living room. And almost always, the topic was the Civil War or some other American historical topic.
Reed and Bill became friends because they both worked in the York community, but they became even better friends when their wives became best friends while volunteering in the York area. The couples took vacations together, two of which were transcontinental train trips to the west coast. Reed passed away in 2021 and we will never truly know the words spoken to each other when they hatched the idea of starting an excursion railroad. But we do know that we are grateful for their friendship, vision, and courage to do what some say couldn’t be done.