The Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad was established in 1901 by the merging of the Baltimore and Lehigh Railway with the York Southern.
Originally a narrow gauge line, the railroad traced a meandering seventy-seven mile route to connect Baltimore and York, two cities only forty-five highway miles apart. The line's surveyors could hardly have chosen a more picturesque route. The mainline traveled northeast from Baltimore across the rolling Maryland hills through Towson and Bel Air.
At Delta, Pa., the line turned sharply northwest, hugging the banks of Muddy Creek and passing through Felton, Red Lion, and Dallastown on its climb into York. Although traffic was never very dense, the Ma & Pa did serve as an indispensable link between rural communities and the outside world in the days before modern highways and two automobiles in every garage.
It hauled furniture from Red Lion, slate from Delta, and milk from farms along the route, fostering the economic progress of the whole region. The railroad also carried countless residents from their rural homes to the "big city" for jobs, shopping, and entertainment, despite the fact that its "crack" passenger train took four hours to travel seventy-seven miles.
The loss of a U.S. Mail contract and the encroachment of the automobile doomed passenger service, which succumbed in 1954.
The Maryland Division from Whiteford south was abandoned in 1958, but the Pennsylvania portion survived into the 80's. At that time, the Society stepped in to preserve a piece of this unique little railroad, which was so prominent in the history and development of the area.
We are continually seeking individuals who want to help.
» Read a more extensive History of the Ma & Pa.