Meet the Author
Robert L Williams
Sunday, October 17th 10:30 AM to 12:00 PM in the NCR Gift Shop
Northern Central Railway and Heritage Rail Trail Guidebook: Mason-Dixon Sites
by Robert L. Williams & Scott L. Mingus Sr.
The Northern Central Railway was the primary railroad between Baltimore, Maryland, and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and point farther north from the mid-1800s for more than 100 years. Part of the route on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line is now a heritage rail trail, highlighted by a few restored stations. Abraham Lincoln rode these rails on his way to and from Gettysburg to deliver the famed Gettysburg Address in November 1863, and the NCR was one of the routes used by his funeral train to travel from Washington to his burial place in Springfield, Illinois. Author Robert L. Williams, a Marylander steeped in the history of the NCR and its later parent company, the Pennsylvania Railroad, has selected illustrative photos from his extensive collection of railroad ephemera to augment his track and building layout drawings to present a comprehensive look at the NCR’s line from Baltimore northward into south-central Pennsylvania.
Northern Central Railway
By Robert L. Williams
The Northern Central Railway (NCR), completed to Sunbury in 1858, was a Class 1 railroad that connected Baltimore City, Maryland, to Sunbury, Pennsylvania. In 1861, the Pennsylvania Railroad acquired controlling interest in the railway. It became such a vital transportation link during the Civil War that it had to be guarded constantly by Union forces. In June 1972, Tropical Storm Agnes heavily damaged much of the NCR right-of-way in Pennsylvania and all but destroyed the right-of-way in Maryland. Then under control of Penn Central, it was decided to repair only the tracks in Pennsylvania and abandon the Maryland section from Cockeysville to the Maryland state line. The majority of the route in Maryland is now the Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail in Baltimore County, and the portion in York County, Pennsylvania, is now the Heritage Rail Trail. The extreme southern end of the line from Baltimore City to Cockeysville in Maryland is now used by MTA-Baltimore Light Rail system.