Learn more about the special projects the Northern Central Railway has been working on!
The Northern Central team is constantly working on creative projects to enhance the experience of our excursions!
In the fall of 2019, Northern Central Railway of York (NCR) decided it was time to purchase a diesel locomotive for use on our railway. Funds donated by Board President Michael Patrick allowed NCR to acquire GP9 #6076 from the Adirondack Scenic Railroad. The GP9 (General Purpose 9) type locomotive was built by the Electro-Motive Division of General Motors in 1957 for the Pennsylvania Railroad and carried the number 7249.
GP9 locomotives were an upgraded version of the popular EMD GP7 locomotives. The new locomotives featured a 1750 h.p. Diesel engine powering 4 axles. These locomotives were light enough to tread down small short lines and powerful enough to pull 100 freight cars down the main lines. The locomotive’s operational flexibility made it a favorite with railroads big and small. Over 4,000 GP9 locomotives were built between 1954 and 1959 with over 300 locomotives going to the Pennsylvania Railroad. Northern Central Railway operates approximately 17 miles of Ex-Pennsylvania Railroad trackage, allowing the locomotive to run on home rails.
When locomotive #6076 arrived on Northern Central Property in the fall of 2019; it was still in the Adirondack Scenic Railroad’s paint scheme and in need of major repairs to the car body. Northern Central Railway launched a fundraising campaign to complete body repairs and apply a new paint job on the locomotive. Major donors to the campaign were the Delaplaine Foundation and Stock & Leader. Stock & Leader made their donation in honor of D. Reed Anderson was the founder, president and a board member of the Northern Central Railway until his death in March 2021. The restoration process began in the spring of 2021 with minor body work with the remainder of the body work and the painting process scheduled for early spring 2022.
When finished, 6076 will sport authentic Pennsylvania Railroad colors to increase the historical and educational value of Northern Central Railway’s excursions.
1906 Delaware & Hudson Gondola
In 2017, the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania donated gondola car #8148 to the Northern Central Railway. Gondola car #8148 was built in 1906 by the American Car & Foundry Company for the Delaware and Hudson Railroad. After a long career in revenue service on the D&H, gondola #8148 was relegated to maintenance-of-way service, and eventually donated to the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania.
Gondola #8418 is a great representation of a long transitional period on American Railroads, transforming from wood construction to steel construction of railcars. Prior to this time period, passengers and freight cars had been made entirely from wood. However, as railcars got bigger and loads got heavier, railcar manufacturers turned to steel to add strength to new railcars. The transition to steel cars was relatively quick, leaving few surviving examples from this time period. Gondola #8418 is also unique because it is believed to be the only example of a drop end gondola in the United States.
During its time at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, gondola #8418 was left exposed to the elements and suffered rot and rust damage throughout the walls and underbody components. Northern Central Railway has started the restoration process for gondola #8418. Both sets of trucks, wheels and brackets will be rebuilt, the steel frame will be repaired, and the brake system will be replaced during the initial stage of the restoration. In the second stage of the restoration, the lumber side walls and floor will be replaced, and accurate paint and lettering will be applied. Following the restoration, the car will be tested and then placed into service. The car will be finished by the fall of 2022.
When finished, gondola #8418 will add historical accuracy to Northern Central Excursions, while simultaneously providing open-air passenger seating on excursions in the warm seasons. Additionally, Northern Central will use gondola #8418 to expand bike aboard excursions during the summer.
Northern Central is especially thankful to the main donors towards gondola #8418: York County Community Foundation and the York County Economic Alliance.
New Freedom Coach
In 2017, Northern Central Railway realized that another passenger car would be necessary to increase capacity for our premiere events such as Tanenbaum Trains, PA Cowboy Weekend, Santa Express, and Howard Tunnel Excursions. Originally, NCR set out to purchase an existing accurate 1860’s era coach, but quickly realized that building our own would be more effective.
Northern Central Railway worked with contractors to construct and furnish a period correct 1860’s era coach. A flatcar was refurbished and then used as the frame for the new coach, with a new superstructure being constructed above the deck of the flat car. Once the metal superstructure was created, it was hidden within new wooden walls that finished up the major initial construction. After the partially completed coach arrived in New Freedom, Northern Central finished the project. The coach interior and exterior was painted to match the rest of the railway’s existing rolling stock, and the interior was furnished. Northern Central’s shop crew painted and installed all of the seat hardware needed in the coach in addition to creating all of the seat bottoms and rests. All safety features were tested and the car was then placed into service in the Summer of 2021.
The Northern Central Railway is proud to share that the New Freedom Coach has accomplished its initial goal of increasing capacity for our premiere events. This has allowed Northern Central to fund additional projects that improve passenger experience.
Northern Central is grateful to the many funders of the New Freedom Coach:
Explore York, the Northern Central Railway Board Members, The W. Dale Brougher Foundation, Glatfelter Insurance Group, Peoples Bank Corporation, Stewart Companies, Kinsley Construction, and Louis Appell III.