Special Projects – Northern Central Railway of York

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Special Projects

Special Projects

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!

Ongoing Restoration Projects you can have a helping hand in!

GP9 #6076

Project Details

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 who 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 2023. 


When finished, 6076 will sport authentic Pennsylvania Railroad colors to increase the historical and educational value of Northern Central Railway’s excursions. 

How Can I Help?

The restoration of #6076 is still in progress, and there are multiple ways to help. Please consider donating! We also are always looking for volunteers. Click here to find information on all of Northern Central Railway’s volunteering opportunities.

“Prince de Liege” Steam Locomotive

Project Details

In May 2017, a team of railroad and mining history preservationists were given two weeks to enter the ruins of the former Lehigh Valley Railroad Coxton Yard so they could clear brush, shovel mud, build track, and rig out a diamond in the rough, the 1877 Prince de Liege steam locomotive.  The rusty but historic locomotive was facing eviction and an uncertain future.  In a matter of days, the Prince de Liege was raised out of the dirt (it had not been on rails for over seven years), and winched onto a truck bound for a new life.

The Prince de Liege was built by Societe Anonyme de St. Léonard of Liege, Belgium, in 1877.  It was one of six of its type built between 1876 and 1885.  The first two locomotives of the design were initially used for switching at the St. Leonard factory before being sold to the Societe Anonyme de Grivegnee [coal mine] and Sucrerie de Bernissem [sugar beet refinery].  While still owned by St. Leonard, one of these two locomotives was shown at the  Exposition Universelle of 1878, the World’s Fair in Paris.  It was described as a “locomotive of a special shape having … 4 small wheels … a vertical boiler, behind it is the driving platform with its sheltered roof and in front is the water box.  The mechanism is external and of the usual inclined type. It is clearly a station and construction site locomotive.”

This variety of locomotive is exceptionally unusual in America, being classified as a 0-4-0VBT type.  This means that they have no pilot wheels, 4 driving wheels, and no trailing wheels, as shown in the “0-4-0” designation. The VB references their vertical boilers.  The vast majority of locomotives had their boilers mounted horizontally. The “T” in the classification identifies them as tank engines. A tank engine is different from a normal steam locomotive because a tank engine carries all fuel and water onboard the locomotive, with no tender. All of these features made the Prince de Liege and its sisters well suited for switching tasks found at small industries.

The locomotive that became the Prince de Liege, first known as serial number 466, was sold to Charbonnages du Hasard, a Belgian coal mining company, where it worked until 1960.  Its career spanned the late Victorian and Belle Epoque time periods, two World Wars, and beyond as it hauled coal out of and supplies into a colliery.  In 1922 it received a new boiler.  Larger steel buffers and other changes came through the years.  The Prince de Liege was moved from Belgium to Steamtown U.S.A., located in Bellows Falls, Vermont, in 1964, where it received its name. Belgian history states that the locomotive was named in America, but a Vermont newspaper article from the time the locomotive crossed the ocean claims the name “Prince of Liege” was engraved on a plate on the locomotive. The boiler registration plate has the words “PCE DE LIEGE” stamped into it, but this is an abbreviation meaning that the boiler was in service in the Province of Liege. The same plaque was misread as Steamtown publications and documents often listed the locomotive as #3364, a misreading of #336A.

The locomotive was auctioned off to a private owner in 1988 and displayed in front of a restaurant in Susquehanna, PA for many years.  The Prince de Liege was moved to a restoration site where it was scheduled for a new coat of paint. Unfortunately, the locomotive was completely submerged there under the flooded Susquehanna River in 2011, then largely forgotten and never worked on until 2017, when the restoration shop owner was facing eviction and needed to find a new owner for the locomotive. The current owner was able to acquire the locomotive and move it to the Allentown and Auburn Railroad in Topton, PA for the initial stages of the restoration. During the locomotive’s stay there, the frame of the locomotive underwent heavy repairs, along with fabrication of a new water tank, and work on almost every part from the cylinders to running gear.

The Prince arrived at the Northern Central Railway in May of 2022 and is in the final stages of restoration, which includes installing a new boiler (this will be at least the third boiler for the locomotive), reassembly and installation of reconditioned parts, and cosmetic rehabilitation. Northern Central Railway will then complete test runs of the locomotive to ensure safe operation, as well as familiarize Northern Central Railway crews with the details of the locomotive.  The Prince de Liege will be utilized for a variety of special excursions, with the potential for Hand on the Throttle events in the future.

When finished, the Prince de Liege will be a one of a kind railway attraction in the United States.  Not only is the Prince de Liege from the same 1860s-1880s era of railway development as Northern Central Railway’s “William H. Simpson”  #17 steam locomotive, it will hold many individual records. The Prince de Liege will hold the following records:

  • Oldest operating European built locomotive in North America.
  • Only operating standard gauge, European built steam locomotive in the United States.
  • Oldest operating locomotive in Pennsylvania.
  • Oldest operating Belgian built locomotive in the World.
  • Oldest operating example of Walschaerts valve gear in North America.
  • Only operating, standard gauge, vertical boilered locomotive in North America.

Northern Central Railway is especially thankful to the main supporters of the Prince de Liege project: Mike Piersa, owner of the Prince de Liege, and Kinsley Construction, Inc, for generous donation of transportation services, as well as the dozens of volunteers who have helped since day one.

Are you looking to help with this special project? Click Here!

How Can I Help?

The restoration is still in progress, and there are multiple ways to help. Please consider donating! We also are also always looking for volunteers. Click here to find information on all of Northern Central Railway’s volunteering opportunities.

Finished Restoration Projects YOU helped complete!

1906 Delaware & Hudson Gondola

Project Details

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 rebuilt both sets of trucks, wheels and brackets, the steel frame was repaired, and the brake system was repaired. In the second stage of the restoration, the lumber side walls and floor were replaced, and accurate paint and lettering was applied. The car was tested and placed into service in June 2022.


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.


Project Details

In 2014 the caboose arrived to Northern Central Railway as Burlington Northern 11417 after being used as Northern Pacific 10077.

After a short period of deliberation on the overall project, we took the opportunity to refurbish it inside and out.

November of 2022 marked the reintroduction of Caboose No. 13 into our rolling stock as an option for weddings, parties, and more!

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