Ma & Pa Railroad Heritage Village

Preservers of the Historic Ma & Pa Railroad

Ma & Pa Railroad - World War I & World War II Encampment

The Ma & Pa Railroad Heritage Society welcomes you to our WWI and WWII encampment, where you will step back in time and experience the world wars on the home front first-hand. The events are held at the Muddy Creek Forks Heritage Village located at 1258 Muddy Creek Forks Road, Airville, PA.

» Read an article in the York Dispatch about our World War 1 Encampment...

WWI Encampment

WW1 soldiers outside

"Living History Weekend" of the First World War is offered by members of the Great War Association at the Ma and Pa Railroad Heritage Village, a registered early 1900's historic district of the National Register of Historic Places.

The encampment is intended to represent soldiers that participated in World War I. Uniformed armed forces of the United States, Great Britain, France, Belgium, and Germany will be on hand to demonstrate the equipment of the first great conflict of the 20th Century. The Encampment has become an annual tradition that this year will be held as a season opening event in May.

World War 1 Encampment Days - Jason Griffeth

The displays illustrate how, over four years of war, the bright uniforms and tactics of 1914 from the era of Napoleon quickly gave way to the camouflage and modern weaponry of 1918 that are familiar to us today. Sending messages by telegraph, the dominant means of communication, is also demonstrated. The role of the railroads in WWI is interpreted by the Ma & Pa Railroad Preservation Society members.

» View photos at the York Dispatch from our WWI Encampment at the Ma & Pa Railroad Heritage Village...

World War I first aid supplies

Check our events calendar for this year's event date.

WWII Encampment

The Ma & Pa Railroad Heritage Village at Muddy Creek Forks invites you to experience their World War II encampment weekend. Forty-five minute motorcar train rides and tours of the village will also be offered during the encampment.

WW2 encampment armored car

Over two dozen WWII re-enactors in authentic uniforms representing both the Allies and Axis countries are being represented. This includes a German unit, a Russian MASH field hospital, the Big Red One Living History Organization - representing U.S. 1st Infantry Division, a military police unit, along with a U.S. Army Air Corp unit and even a representative of the French Underground. The grounds will be filled that weekend with period tents, equipment, supplies, armaments, two jeeps and an operational field kitchen/mess tent. The re-enactors are very knowledgeable, providing accurate interpretations of the various armies, all while easily interacting with visitors.

WWII encampment weapons

Tristan Holley, lead re-enactor had this to say about his involvement, "WWII in particular is important to me, not because of just my family connection but because of the vast scale of that war and how the world was involved. It literally united the world to preserve freedom by defeating the Axis powers. Even though this happened so long ago, we still have eyewitnesses to tell the stories of how they experienced this first-hand. And those stories can share so much more than a textbook ever will or an article online, but those witnesses, the veterans and civilians that lived through it, are on the verge of being gone from the current generation. So we do this to honor their legacy and to keep those stories alive and pass them on to the next generation."

World War II French soldier

SFC Bruce R. Gadbois, U.S. Army retired, another one of the re-enactors, explained that his role is more than a re-enactor. He is, more accurately, a living historian as a means of teaching aspects of human history that few people are actually acquainted with. Gadbois explained that military history is not just about battles, victories, and losses; it is about individual people who are brought together to engage in monumental and potentially catastrophic events. It shows how those individuals form units, work together for a common goal, and live, suffer, and survive together. He says that they form a "Band of Brothers" that are willing to sacrifice for each other and, in many cases, the innocent victims of the cataclysm going on around them. Gadbois said, "It is the history of the individual soldier and the weapons, tools, and amenities he/she had at his/her disposal that I wish to impart to visitors."

Uncle Sam poster at encampment days

Railroads played a key role in the mobilization for war, and even though the Ma & Pa railroad didn't serve a lot of war industries, it saw a big impact from the war. Due to gasoline rationing, passenger traffic more than quadrupled from 321,899 passenger miles in 1940 to 1,316,020 passenger miles in 1943.

Check our events calendar for this year's event date.