The family-owned private Bucksgahuda & Western Railroad, in St. Mary's PA, is open twice a year - the third Sunday of August and September every year. The August open house is called "Railroader's Day", and I was there on August 20, 2017 for my second visit.
The two-foot narrow-gauge railroad owns two active steam locomotives - "Peter", a home-made two-truck Shay locomotive, built in the 1960's, is the first locomotive you'll see in action - along the "St. Mary's and Southwestern" branch of the railroad - extending out into the nearby woods, and past their own wye trackage as well.
The second locomotive is "Otto" - an 0-4-0 Henschel steam locomotive - built in Germany and imported here. Otto is seen doing some very impressive work along the grades of the loop through the woods. After a steep downhill descent, which requires hand brakes to be used on all of the cars, Otto puts on a show climbing back up the hill, through the various curves and grades on the way back up to the station area.
Even though this little railroad is only open to the public for two days per year, it's one that you can't miss. I highly recommend a visit when it is open on the third Sunday of every August/September!
Over Labor Day weekend in 2017, the Allentown and Auburn Railroad operated one of the only two remaining operational Pennsylvania Railroad "doodlebugs" for a series of weekend trips between Kutztown and Topton, PA. Built by the Brill Company in 1930, this self-propelled railcar served various PRR mainlines and branch lines throughout their system, hauling passengers and small quantities of freight in the baggage area of the car. The exterior of the car still could use some TLC, but it runs just fine for the A&A's rural line, providing a classic look of what she would have been doing in her career.
What makes the operation of this doodlebug more interesting is that the A&A runs on a former Reading Railroad branch line. So, in this case, we have a Pennsy Doodlebug in Reading Territory. Enjoy!
It's not every day that you get a chance to film a steam locomotive at twilight, even less to ride in a converted flatcar at night behind one. Yet the opportunity to do both occurred on Friday, October 6, 2017 in Kutztown, PA, behind the newest restored steam locomotive in the USA. Gramling Locomotive Works recently completed restoration of 0-4-0 Jeddo Coal #85, and brought it to the Allentown and Auburn Railroad for two weekends of train rides. The first event was Steam Under The Stars - two Friday night steam trips. While it was mostly overcast out, at the end of the 8 pm trip, stars started to appear in the sky. Enjoy!
In 2017, as a repeat of one of the prior year's popular trips, Reading & Northern 4-6-2 #425 pulled what was called a "Fall Foliage Railfan Special" - with no diesel or auxiliary tender to assist the locomotive - to Jim Thorpe for an afternoon. This year, however, there were a few changes - the train started in the new Reading Outer Station complex in Reading, PA - about 45 rail minutes south of the train's normal starting point of Port Clinton, PA. Also this year was the addition of a gondola directly behind #425 - with safety-goggle wearing railfans packing the car for 100+ miles of open air running behind steam. With a sold out trip and overcast skies, it made for a very unique and interesting trip this year. Let's visit some unique and not-often-seen vantage points (for me, anyway) as Reading & Northern #425 pulls the Fall Foliage Railfan Special. Enjoy!